Lately, I find myself daydreaming about having a time machine. One read of the day’s COVID-related headlines and I start imagining about how great it would be to visit another era and ride this out.
Unfortunately, Doc Brown and his DeLorean haven’t shown up on my doorstep, and probably won’t be any time soon. But, thanks to a man called Lloyd Godman, I got a brief chance to do some vicarious time travelling last week.
When Led Zeppelin played in Auckland, New Zealand on February 25th, 1972, Godman was there. And, luckily for us, he brought an 8mm film camera with him and managed to capture some of the magic.
Back in the 1970s, there wasn’t much of an outlet for fan-shot 8mm footage. You’d watch it at home, maybe show it to a couple of friends, and then probably leave it on a shelf somewhere and forget about it. That’s exactly what happened with Godman’s movie. As he toldRNZ, the footage sat untouched for decades in his shed:
"I knew I had this roll of film in the shed so I sent it off to get digitised. I knew there was band stuff on it but I didn't know what it was.”
"It came back and there was the Zeppelin film."
"[My reaction was] really one of joy because, of the still photographs I took, I only ended up with six shots, which were really the rejects because the promoter had picked through the best of them and they just disappeared. So finding this was like finding gold really."
Godman posted some screenshots of his footage online and was contacted by a Led Zeppelin film archivist in the US. They happened to have an audience recording of the audio from the concert (Godman’s footage was silent) and asked if they could have a go at synching the two. Godman obliged and, well, I’ll let the results speak for themselves:
Admittedly, “The Song Remains the Same,” this ain’t. What you’ve got here is five-or-so minutes of rough-and-ready handheld Zeppelin footage shot from down in the pit. But still, it’s a snapshot of Led Zeppelin at their prime. And, while grainy, Godman’s vid offers an unusually up-close-and-personal view of a mighty band during a landmark, but criminally visually underrepresented tour.
According to RNZ’s report, Godman decided against selling the film to a private collector and made it public “so it could tell another small part of the Led Zeppelin story.” We’re certainly glad he did. 49 years gone, it’s a reminder, as if any were needed, of just how high Led Zeppelin once flew.
What’s your favourite concert film of all time? And did you catch Led Zeppelin on their 1972 tour? As always, share your stories in the comments.