Led Zeppelin’s iconography is so strong that every single morsel of footage and audio is eagerly and greedily gobbled up at the source. That fact adds to the utter mystery of this previously unseen footage of the band’s first night in Tokyo in 1971 lying around unwatched on YouTube since 2018.
Not for long, though. Now the numbers keep going up with Led Zeppelin fans flocking to this holy grail of video memorabilia. One of the most underexposed tours the band ever conducted the hunt for footage from ’71 has always been a feverish one. A hunt that has, at least partially, come to an end with the finding of this 8mm footage. Buoyed by the band’s stature at the time, as well as the lack of any pro-footage, the clip offers die-hard fans a small window into what their beloved Led Zeppelin shaped up like in 1971.
At the time of filming, the band were on the cusp of ultimate greatness and had been motoring through the rock world for a few years now, this tour across the seas to Japan was another footstep on the path to world domination.
The owner of the footage, clearly a die-hard fan themselves, has been speaking on the battlegrounds of Zeppelin forums and suggested there may be more to come. “By the way, Led Zeppelin’s film of the Tokyo performance is not available for public use at this time because I hate commercial use by someone else. It is, of course, good to have JimmyPage himself see it,” he wrote.
“However, I think that only a part of it can be made public. The 8mm movie film I shot at TOKYO live in 1971 was silent, and it only lasted about 40 minutes. 1 Last year I applied my sound source to this and made a 47-minute video. Over time, I want to make a full version with still images.”
While we await the prospect of more clips from this momentous night in the band’s history the release of this piece of footage will come as solace to those constantly looking for their next Zeppelin fix.
For now, let us sit back and bathe in the rock majesty of Led Zeppelin in their hard-rocking, swashbuckling, prime.