Dazed and Confused" was widely popularised by, and is still heavily identified with, Led Zeppelin's version. It became the centrepiece for the group at Led Zeppelin concerts, at least through the release of "Whole Lotta Love" from their second album. When performed live, it was (except for the fast middle section) played at a slower overall tempo, and gradually extended in duration (up to 45 minutes by 1975) as a multi-section improvised jam. Although initially performed in a manner similar to the studio version, some noticeable differences were gradually developed in live performances. By June 1969, in the section where Page plays guitar with a violin bow, the rest of the band dropped out completely, allowing him to perform a lengthier free-form improvisation, though by January 1970, the main structure of the section was already formed. By 1972, another improvised section had been added between the verses and this. The fast section was extended to allow changes in dynamics and volume, as well as changing the beat, sometimes seguing in and out of another song altogether. There was a short jam at the end of the song after the final verse.
Over time, the improvisational suite incorporated more and more material. In 1972, the song incorporated riffs from the Led Zeppelin songs "The Crunge", and "Walter's Walk", as can be heard on the live album How the West Was Won. By 1973, the song featured an extended transition before the violin bow solo, which incorporated a melody that would later be used in 1976's "Achilles Last Stand". Plant sang lyrics from either Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco" or Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" during this transition. Also during this time, the violin solo would incorporate "Mars" from Gustav Holst's suite The Planets, accompanied by Plant's vocalisations.