Written by Fumo Verde
Here’s a groovy little three-pack for all of us Led Zeppelin fans out there. Mothership has two CDs and a DVD that contain twenty-four audio tracks and twenty live-performance video tracks. It also comes with a sweet liner-note booklet bringing us a quick history of the band and the music they played. Those who love the music of Zeppelin will truly enjoy this, and though I bitch about music we already have being re-issued, this set shuts me up because it is that good.
The CDs sound as if they were compiled by radio DJs playing the band’s top-requested hits from over the years. Disc One covers the first four albums. It starts with “Good Times Bad Times,” a timeless rock song about love and friendship, and ends with “Stairway to Heaven” with its haunting strings and mythical words (forwards and backwards). In between are “Dazed and Confused,” the bass-driven rant of lunatic love, and “Immigrant Song” with its lyrics from the old Viking legends of fighting for Odin and Valhalla. Plants voice echoes the attack horn the Vikings would blow as they raided their neighbors. “When the Levee Breaks,” another blues track, rolls by like an easygoing freight train. With that harmonica blowing time and those worrisome lyrics, one gets the feeling of desperation; now that’s a blues song.
Disc Two drops “The Song Remains the Same” as its lead-in track followed by “Over The Hills and Far Away.” “No Quarter” with its disturbed keyboards played by Jones and infused with bizarre lyrical effects has to be one of those “I think I’m tripping on some really weird acid” songs, or at least that’s the vibe I get when I hear this tune. Down the line is “Houses Of The Holy,” a tough, motivated rock song where bass, drum, and guitar collide to get us up onto the dance floor.
Amongst some of the best Zeppelin songs of all is another winner that needs to be played more often, “Kashmir,” one of my favorites. It has this building climatic symphony, lifting you off of the planet and taking you out past the stars. Plant’s vocals take lead and effortlessly directs the orchestra as the song slings you out into the unknown universe. If you popped either of these music discs into your changer and hit random, you would never be disappointed when the laser eye stopped on either one of these discs.
The DVD pulls twenty tracks from the Led Zeppelin DVD set that came out in 2003 and was a five-hour session. This disc isn’t as long but it does have some of the most memorable tracks played like “We’re Gonna Groove,” a hard rhythm-and-blues jam, and “Going to California” with is soft guitar chords contrasting well against Plant’s sobering voice. “White Summer” where Page gives us one of his amazing guitar solos.
The DVD also includes some deep blues like “I Can’t Quit You Babe” and “Bring It On Home” featuring Plant’s golden tones, and to give Bonzo his time to shine, “Moby Dick” was placed on here as well. Though rumor has it that Bonham played a forty-five minute drum solo on acid, this track only gives us about ten minutes of his incredible percussion talent. Jones thumps his way through many tracks but “Dazed and Confused” seems to be his signature song. All four of these men have a great sense of each other while on stage and it shows at every performance from the colossal stadiums in the U.S. to the show at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The magic Zeppelin created electrified their audiences wherever they played.
This would be a great gift for any Zeppelin fan, or any fan of classic rock music. Yes, if you have all their albums and the DVDs, then this pack is redundant, but if you don’t, then this is the set that should satisfy the Led for your head. Zeppelin didn’t dissolve like other bands as the years wear on; they just stopped playing after Bonham died. They didn’t break up because they were all mad at each other or stupid shit like that. The three remaining members felt that the collective soul of the band just wouldn’t be there. Mothership is a testament to their music and to the fans that still love them. Long live the music of Led Zeppelin.