Review: Led Zeppelin - Mothership
Released: November 13, 2007
Is there really such a thing as a comprehensive Led Zeppelin box? Yeah, it's nine discs and includes I, II, III, IV, Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti, Presence and In Through the Out Door in their entirety (I think we can let Coda and The Song Remains the Same slide). Of course that's the whole studio catalog, but it's pretty much all essential. I suppose, if forced at gunpoint, I could narrow it down to seven discs (the first five albums, the one great album's worth on Physical Graffiti and the best tracks from the final two releases), but to narrow it down to a double CD is ludicrous. Just looking at the track listing, I notice immediately that my two favorite Zeppelin tunes ("Tangerine" and "Out on the Tiles") are absent. Of course, I can't exactly figure out what I'd remove to make space for them though, because everything here is essential, the collection is just woefully incomplete.
Having established that Mothership falls well short of what would make up an essential Zeppelin collection, I do want to note that two things were really done right. First, the remastering (under the watchful eye of the three living members) is very good. I've been listening to these on vinyl, so this may be a step down for me, but for those who've spent their days listening to Zeppelin on CD, Mothership should prove to be a richer experience. Second, the package is beautiful and over ten pages of liner notes from David Fricke certainly adds value.
In addition to the regular two CD set, there is a limited edition set that also includes a DVD with a collection of live videos. The footage is decent and the performances are strong, but it is marred by the insertion of stills and cheap effects that interrupt the raw power of Zeppelin's performances. Still, the limited edition is only $5 more, making it a no brainer if you plan to pick up a copy of Mothership.
Rating: How do I rate this? The music is clearly 10/10 and while the package is a nice one, it isn't essential since you already own all the albums. You do have them all, don't you?