Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin: Divinity (Montreux Casino, March 7th, 1970)


Montreux Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – March 7th, 1970

Disc 1 (46:00): We’re Gonna Groove, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, Heartbreaker, White Summer / Black Mountainside

Disc 2 (47:31): Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ solo / Thank You, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times

Led Zeppelin forged a strong relationship to Montreux Switzerland in general and with promoter Claude Nobs in particular, starting with this appearance at the Montreux Casino in March 1970. There exists several recordings of this show in circulation, two of which have been in circulation for almost forty years: an incomplete radio broadcast and an incomplete stereo audience tape.

The audience tape ranks among the best from the Spring tour of Europe and among the very best from the early years. It is rich, deep, powerful and dynamic and is a tremendously exciting document which shows exactly why Zeppelin were such a compelling live act. It is unfortunately incomplete. It begins right at the end of Nobs’ introduction of the band and runs through the first half of “How Many More Times,” eliminating the medley, and the encore “Whole Lotta Love.”

The excellent audience tape was pressed onto the vinyl titles Feel All Right – Live In Montreux (Audio Recording Audio Recording Inc. ARC 2002) and copied on Egg On Your Face (Wonderwall GA 104 A-D) and Hammer Of The Gods (Golden Age Entertainments GAE/SS 080102).

Early compact disc titles include Montreaux 1970 (Live Storm 51525), We’re Gonna Groove (Luna Records LU9314) and We’re Gonna Groove (Scorpio), all of which are incomplete and have the wrong date. The Complete Tapes (1970/71-Vol. 2) (Tintagel) is a boxset compilation which has “We’re Gonna Groove,” “Dazed And Confused,” “Heartbreaker,” and “How Many More Times” from this show. The complete tape was issued on The Dark Tower (Tarantura T70CD-3, 4), Feel All Right (Cobra Standard Series 003), and All That Jazz (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin Vol. 033).

Divinity was released in September 1999 to much fanfare. The improvement in sound quality was impressive, claiming to be remastered in France from the original tapes. The liner notes point out: “Produced by Kenny Brightstar for AMP Entertainment A / S. Recorded by Philippe Tittlemann 24-Bit Digitally Re-Mastered by Claude Bootnuts at Liberte Studios, Paris, France, Janvier 1999.”

The discs are stored in a digipack within a cardboard slip cover. Some controversy at the time of release was created also when the Japanese manufacturers attempted to prevent non-Japanese collectors from obtaining it. Western collectors were able to collect this artifact. Despite it not being as complete as the later releases with the soundboard, it is still a beautiful piece of work with incredible sound.

The show starts off with the rush of “We’re Gonna Groove” segueing into the blues sludge of “I Can’t Quit You.” Jimmy Page’s first showcase of the night, a sixteen minute “Dazed And Confused” follows.

Robert Plant has some problems with his microphone and attempts a bit of French, saying: “Je casser mon microphone [I broke my microphone]. You feel alright? Well, are we alright? Have we got another one?” From the new album “Heartbreaker” is played with the Jeff Beck Group “Rice Pudding” introduction.

“White Summer” is introduced as “a thing that’s comprised of several different numbers in what might be called a peculiar tuning.” The preview from Led Zeppelin III, “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” is perhaps the most powerful early recording of the piece before the song’s official release the following October. Even though they were touring off of Led Zeppelin II, the new song shows where they felt their music should go and they pour a tremendous amount of emotion into it.

It is a shame the tape runs out during “How Many More Times.” It’s very intense and would sound great in this stereo audience recording. Subsequent to the release of Divinity a partial soundboard recording surfaced with the missing bits of the show, namely the rest of the “How Many More Times” medley and the encore and were issued on Charisma (Tarantura TCD-6-1/2) and Intimidator (Empress Valley Supreme Disc EVSD 72/73/74). This title retains its collectibility for the beautiful packaging, scarcity, and the natural sound to the tape.

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Divinity Montreux March 7th 1970 | , | Leave a comment

The Who: Charlton, London DVD (May 1974)


Summer Jam 1974 (4 Reel 2009-001)

Charlton Athletic Football Ground, London, England – May 18th, 1974

Pete Townshend interview, before the show, Young Man Blues, Baba O’Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, Substitute, Drowned, Bell Boy, See Me Feel Me, Naked Eye, Let’s See Action, My Generation Blues. Bonus material: I’m A Boy, Tattoo, Behind Blue Eyes, Magic Bus

Occupied with the film adaptation of Tommy and the soundtrack, The Who’s live appearances in 1974 were scarce. They played only a handful of shows in France, four in New York in June, and their only London appearance in Charlton Athletic Football Ground on May 18th. This was established as an all day festival of sorts with The Who has headliners, supported by Humble Pie (who came close to upstaging The Who according to reports), Lou Reed, Bad Company, Lindisfarne, Maggie Bell, and Montrose.

Summer Jam 1974 on 4Reel is sourced from an excellent quality dub from the BBC program “2nd House,” initially telecast a year after the event in 1975. It begins with an introduction by host Melvyn Bragg and an interview with Pete Townshend before the live footage which includes much of the show. The footage is missing the opening two songs “I Can’t Explain” and “Summertime Blues.” Also missing are “Boris The Spider,” “Doctor Jimmy,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Pinball Wizard” and “5.15.”

What is present is excellent quality and is a great show. Keith Moon debuted his new drum kit with three rows of tom toms totally eleven in all. The audience are extremely enthusiastic with the show. However, Townsend himself was not pleased, saying afterwards: “Charlton was very disappointing, because when we went out the first thing I felt in the air was violence. It was like a feeling of something not quite right. I dunno what it was but I felt very uneasy for some time. The only way I could get myself together was by shutting out the audience and working with the group.”

None of this is visible on tape though. The bonus material includes more footage from the show not used for the broadcast again in every good video and audio quality. The DVD comes packaged in a thin cardboard digipack with photos of the event. Overall it is a good production by 4Reel worth having for the Who collector.

October 13, 2010 Posted by | The Who Summer Jam 74 | , , | Leave a comment

The Who – Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA – June 13th, 1969


Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA – June 13th, 1969

Heaven & Hell, I Can’t Explain, Fortune Teller/Tattoo, Young Man Blues, We’re Not Gonna Take It/See Me Feel Me, Substitute, Summertime Blues, Shakin’ All Over, Magic Bus

Hollywood Palladium is the latest Who release on Mainstream, hitting the streets last week. The tape has circulated before but makes its silver debut on this release. Distant and disturbing, this tape is poor to fair in quality at best.

The taper occasionally covers the mic (like during “Heaven & Hell”) and pauses between each song to check on his tape. It isn’t even clear if this is the entire set since only a fragment of Tommy is captured. To make matters worse the tape deteriorates at certain spots like at the end of “Shakin’ All Over”.

Once you get past the deficiencies of the tape, this is one amazing show. The Who are violent, cutthroat, obviously taking no prisoners on this night and the excitement generated is impressive. They get off onto a fast start with “Heaven & Hell” and the intensity never lets up. “Fortune Teller” flows seamlessly into “Tattoo”, and the greatest reaction is reserved for “We’re Not Gonna Take It/See Me Feel Me” which is what the crowd wanted to hear.

“Shakin’ All Over” has the crowd in a riot and the tape ends with a ten-minute version of “Magic Bus” before the tape trails off. They’re so aggressive I wouldn’t be surprised if they took hostages after the show and demanded a ransom! All silliness aside, the show is so good it compares favorably with Woodstock, Isle Of Wight and Live At Leeds.

Mainstream used photos from the era, Roger in the tasseled jacket and Townsend in the white painter outfit. It’s a nice production by the label and it makes me wish it were better recorded. As it stands this appeals to the hardcore Who collector.

October 13, 2010 Posted by | The Who Hollywood Palladium June 13th 1969 | , | Leave a comment