Led Zeppelin How the West Was Won on DVD Audio
The first thing I wanted to do after playing this disc was to throw away my
DVD of Song Remains the Same.
Thats because Song was enough to turn one off of Led Zeppelin,
and thats a shame because How the West Was Won is a superb
album. Musically, it can be mentioned in the same breath as the restored version
of The Whos Live at Leeds which is high praise indeed
from this diehard Who fanatic.
And for that reason alone this disc is worth owning.
Weve been casual Zep fans over the years, appreciating quite a bit of
their studio recordings, but the only live experience wed had was that
horrible "Song" album and video named above. So we were a little anxious going
into West that despite the hype about this albums quality,
wed discover that Zeppelin live wasnt all that wed been led
But it was. This is, well these are (since the disc is taken from two concerts)
recordings for the rock music ages. Jimmy Page is brilliant; the mans
guitar work is masterful. Plant holds up his end beautifully as well, and Jones
and Bonham are also at the top of their game.
The only real problem is the recording. Its good but, though we havent
heard Leeds in DVD-Audio (thats a hint, Pete), we dont
think West rises to its level of success in capturing what must
have been a very difficult combination of raw power and finesse to record back
in the early 1970's.
While we were there to hear Page, we think we hear him a bit too much in relation
to the rest of the band. They have made some neat, though ultimately artificial,
use of the surround channels during some of Pages solos, with the sound
of his axe jumping all over the room. During the 25 minute Dazed and Confused,
In comparison, John Paul Jones bass comes through very weak; his other
instruments seem to get treated a little better, but while you never miss hearing
Page (which is wonderful) the bass seems to disappear into the home theaters
Bonham fares better, though the recording quality leaves something to be desired.
They seem to have captured some mud as well as the skins.
But overall theres plenty of raw power on display here, and it plays
really well loud.
The surround mix is for the most part used to put audience noise behind you,
giving you an artificially induced seat in the middle of the fans. It works
fine, and were glad they chose not to use the surrounds to throw instruments
at us for effects sake (As mentioned above, they do that a little bit, but where
theyve done it works, fortunately, even though we'd rather they hadn't).
Because of its more immersive experience, we liked the 5.1 mix better than
the stereo one. The quality of both sounds about equal, except the stereo one
Theres little in the way of extras here, but that didnt bother
us. While we love to get as much stuff on a disc as possible, this particular
example of live Zeppelin made us willing to eschew bonus material in favor of
as much music as possible. And extras require disc space, so they can go.
You do get a photo gallery, which really just amounts to one picture for each
track on the discs, and neither they nor the menus are designed for the widescreen
Our favorite tracks? Most of them. This is live rock at its best, or at least
(remembering "Live at Leeds") second best.
Over The Hills And Far Away
Since I've Been Lovin' You
Stairway To Heaven
Going To California
That's The Way
Dazed And Confused
What Is And What Should Never Be
Whole Lotta Love
Rock And Roll
Bring It On Home
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