A study of the Led Zeppelin film and album The Song Remains The Same
by Eddie Edwards
The Garden Tapes » The Song Remains The Same » The Ocean
The Ocean was played as an encore at all three New York shows, and indeed at most shows on the 1973 American tour. Like Misty Mountain Hop, it was omitted from the original Song Remains The Same releases but salvaged from the vaults, dusted off and included in the Madison Square Garden 1973 portion of Led Zeppelin DVD in 2003. The version created for that release has been re-used in the bonus features on disc two of the new Song Remains The Same DVD, and also on the new CD, so let's just note the timings on the CD as we go through this final number.
Bonzo's intro and the first part of the song are from the 27th but there's a fair amount of patching on the vocals, sometimes to hide cracks and other times to make use of a line that Robert sang in a higher, more powerful tone on one of the other nights. "Got no time to pack my bag" (00:38), the word "be" in "I can't be late" (00:44) and "Now I'm singing all my songs" (01:17) are all from the 29th. "Carmen's only..." has been replaced by "Now she's only..." from the 28th at 01:22.
At 01:26 the version from the 29th takes over for the guitar solo, but then hands back to the 27th at 02:06 for the "Na-na-na" interlude and the third verse.
At 03:07, as we hit the coda, it's back to the 29th one last time. At 03:12, the extended "oh-oh-oh" after the first "I don't know" is from the 28th, as is the last "I don't know" at 03:19. At 03:25, a couple of guitar chords have been borrowed from elsewhere to cover up a slight fumble. But there was certainly no need for any enhancement to the self-descriptive "so good" at the very end of the song. These were the final words of an encore at the end of a three hour concert on the last night of the tour, but that doesn't stop Robert from producing something as tremendously powerful and inspired as anything heard from him during the whole of 1973!
It won't have escaped the attention of many listeners to the new CD, that The Ocean is situated not where it belongs at the end of disc two, but rather at the end of disc one, after Rain Song. There was plenty of room for it at the end of disc two, so it was presumably an artistic decision to move it. Despite an initial feeling of puzzled irritation towards this, I have to admit that Whole Lotta Love has always provided a suitably dramatic climax to The Song Remains The Same and, on reflection, there is some merit in retaining that as the closing number in preference to the lighter-hearted Ocean encore.
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