Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin Montreux Casino 1971 (August 1971)


Monteux Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – August 7th, 1971

Disc 1 (54:25): Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven

Disc 2 (46:34): Going To California, That’s The Way, Celebration Day, What Is And What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love (including Boogie Chillun’, That’s Alright, Ramble On, I’m A Man, Honey Bee), Weekend

Led Zeppelin’s Montreux concerts in 1971 and 1972 were rumoured to exist on tape and it is great that one of these four concerts has finally surfaced. One of the reasons why this tape is so valuable is because the first half of 1971 is so poorly documented for Led Zeppelin.

Except for the Ireland tapes and the “BBC In Concert” broadcast, the Back To The Clubs tour is shrouded in almost complete mystery. A tape for a Liverpool performance is said to exist, although I have my doubts. There is the wonderful Copenhagen tape from May, the Milan fragment from July, and that is it until the seventh tour of North America.

The first Montreux concert surfaced several years ago and was quickly pressed first on Casino Royale (Empress Valley Supreme Disc 2005 EVSD378/379) and then on Peter’s PA (Black Dog Records BDR-001-1,2). Empress Valley was ruined by excessive mastering making the tape very hissy and horrible sounding.

The Tarantura version was much better with an emphasis upon clarity. This release by the new label Graf Zeppelin sounds slightly louder and more clear than Pete’s PA, sounding like it comes from a legitimate low generation tape. It is a great version of the show worth having. The only negative is the very dark and hard to read artwork, the same problem this label had with their Newport release.

The setlist for Montreux is close to the standard they used for most of the year. The Montreux Concertsby Gilles Chateau and Sam Rapallo claim that “Moby Dick” was played before “Whole Lotta Love,” that “Celebration Day” was played before “Stairway To Heaven,” and that “Communication Breakdown” was played as an encore.

As it turns out “Moby Dick” was not played, “Celebration Day” was played after the acoustic set, and “Weekend” is the only encore for August 7th. Further, this is the earliest recorded reference to “Celebration Day” as a stand-alone track. The only previous appearance is the Copenhagen show where it was played inside of “Communication Breakdown.”

As it is this is a very good sounding tape of an excellent performance by the band and with Plant hitting most of the high notes in “Black Dog” and “Stairway To Heaven.” “Dazed And Confused,” clocking in at eighteen minutes, is introduced as “one from long ago.” The acoustic set is recorded nicely with “That’s The Way” bitterly dedicated to anyone who came from Milan, the site of the disaster in July (“I don’t know how I’m gonna tell you / that I can’t play with you no more!”).

The “Whole Lotta Love” medley substitutes “Mess O’ Blues” with “I’m A Man”. “Honey Bee” is followed by a long blues improvisation and does not go into “You Shook Me,” which was the custom at that time. “Merci beaucoup et bon soir. We’ll do one more then we’ll be back tomorrow” Plant says before a very fast and heavy version of Eddie Cochrane’s “Weekend.”

March 10, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Montreux Casino 1971 | , | Leave a comment