A Garden Tapes special feature
by Eddie Edwards
The Garden Tapes » Led Zeppelin DVD » Knebworth 1979
While the Knebworth material does not, by any stretch of the imagination, represent the high point of all the wonderful music on the incredible Led Zeppelin DVD, it did in some ways provide the most pleasant surprise. Royal Albert Hall was widely expected to be mindblowing, we were already very familiar with the nature of the Madison Square Garden material and Earls Court is a legend in its own right. Knebworth, though, was something of a revelation.
Those who were present on the 4th and the 11th of August 1979, myself included, remember the occasions with great fondness, emotion and nostalgia but the bootleg recordings have won the performances few admirers. So how come they're portrayed in such a favourable light on DVD? Lots of edits and overdubs, perhaps? Far from it. With one notable exception the songs are closer to their original state than are those from Madison Square Garden or even Earls Court.
There are two perfectly simple reasons why Knebworth comes across so well on DVD. One is that the guitar parts have been treated with a generous helping of reverb to counteract the somewhat sticky nature of Pagey's playing during that era and inject a little extra fluency into the proceedings.
The crucial factor, though, is the song selection. Consistency was not Led Zeppelin's strong suit in 1979 and Jimmy would have his work cut out to knock a whole show into a shape suitable for official release. Quite simply, this is the Best of Knebworth and, although it doesn't fully resurrect the joy of being in that field, it comes closer than I would have thought possible.
Rock and Roll
Nobody's Fault But Mine
Achilles Last Stand
In The Evening
Whole Lotta Love
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