Seven minutes of footage from Led Zeppelin's celebrated show at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles on September 4, 1970 – filmed during the band's sixth American tour – has emerged after lying unattended in a drawer for 50 years.
The footage has been matched to audio from the band's famous On Blueberry Hill bootleg, which was recorded the same night, to give fans previously unseen footage of Zeppelin performing Since I’ve Been Loving You, Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love, Some Other Guy and Lemon Song, as well as organ and theremin solos.
The original footage was shot by Led Zeppelin fan Eddie Vincent, who borrowed his parent's home movie camera – a windup 8mm Kodak Brownie capable of recording in 30-second bursts, plus two reels of film – and took it to the show, smuggling it all into the venue under the armpits of a baggy jacket.
"I had really great seats," Vincent tells Classic Rock. "They were right behind the band. I had seats in the front row, right behind John Bonham's kit. The only problem was that you couldn't really see John because the gong was there, but he came around and chatted to us while they were doing the acoustic set."
Vincent didn't do anything with the film, and so it gathered dust for the best part of half a century, until he came across some live footage on the internet of The Who shot at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim in 1970, and noticed its similarity to some Who footage of his own.
He reach out to video bootleg trader John Waters, and asked if he could help transfer his own footage into digital files. Waters was blown away by the quality of Vincent's film and asked if he had any more, and that's when Vincent revealed he had the Led Zeppelin tape.
"My collectors heart was racing," says Waters. "A few days later, the reels arrive and the magic unfolds."
The footage was despatched to another collector, a French Led Zeppelin expert and audio synchroniser named Etienne Marchand, who was able to identify the exact moments in the 106-minute set that Vincent had filmed, and match them to the relevant parts of the On The Blueberry Hill audio. And that's the footage that has been released today, on the 50th anniversary of the original show.
"To write ourselves into a little bit of Led Zeppelin history is an honour," Waters tells Classic Rock. "The music needs to be out there. I know a lot of collectors and traders that don't give their stuff away, and that's a shame to me. Music's to be shared, and today you need it to get away from the crazy world. And if this film brings a lot of people happiness, hey, we did a good job."
There is a postscript: The following year, when Led Zeppelin came back to Los Angeles, Vincent returned with a camera and a microphone, and was happily recording the show until a familiar, looming figure approached.
"I had a little mic I put on a floor stand under my seat," says Vincent. "I guess at some point the light shined off this mic, and all of a sudden [Led Zeppelin manager] Peter Grant was by the side of the stage looking at me, and then he started walking over. I was thinking 'Oh no!', and he walked right up to me and started pulling at my microphone. You can hear it all on the tape. Finally you hear him go, 'You're not allowed to tape the concert', and it goes dead."
Grant later returned Vincent's equipment.