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Led Zeppelin – Intimidator (Empress Valley EVSD-72/73/74)

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 Intimidator (Empress Valley EVSD-72/73/74)

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

Disc 1 (53:31):  We’re Gonna Groove, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, Heartbreaker, White Summer / Black Mountainside, Since I’ve Been Loving You

Disc 2 (58:14):  Organ solo, Thank You, What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, Whole Lotta Love

Disc 3 (58:31):  We’re Gonna Groove, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, White Summer, How Many More Times, Whole Lotta Love

Led Zeppelin played at the Casino in Montreux in the middle of their first tour of Europe of the new decade.  A year and a half before some stupid with a flare gun burned down the venue, Zeppelin played one of their tightest and most intense sets of the year.  Most of the show was recorded from the audience.  The tape is rich, deep, powerful and one of the most vivid documents of the band basking in the success of Led Zeppelin II.  It is unfortunately incomplete, with minor cuts and with most of “How Many More Times” and “Whole Lotta Love” missing.  

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.  Better versions of the tape came out after on The Dark Tower (Tarantura T70CD-3, 4), Feel All Right (Cobra Standard Series 003), All That Jazz (The Diagrams Of Led Zeppelin Vol. 033) and Divinity (Atlantic Ocean 208/624 039 2).

A soundboard fragment surfaced with “We’re Gonna Groove,” “I Can’t Quit You,” “Dazed And Confused” and “White Summer” was pressed on Sunshine Woman (Flagge) and were included as bonus tracks on Intimate (Almost Mysterious) (Equinox EX-00-018/019) along with the Berlin show later that summer.

In 2001 a longer version of the soundboard surfaced featuring the complete “How Many More Times” and three minutes of “Whole Lotta Love.”  It’s featured on Charisma on Tarantura and Intimidator on Empress Valley.  The latter is one of the best productions of the label and has been reissued several times.  The most recent came in July 2012, packaged in a quad jewel case. 

The first two discs are an edit of the two tapes.  The audience tape is obviously the base, but the soundboard is used to fix a gaps in “We’re Gonna Groove” between 2:08 to 2:11, in “White Summer” from 8:28 to 9:50  (a section which includes the dreamy descending riff Page would later use in “Midnight Moonlight”), and cuts in seven minutes into “How Many More Times” and runs through to the end of the show.  

Disc three features the entire hour long soundboard in good mono.  The audience tape on Intimidator sounds as good as on Divinity, and the edit between the two tapes is very nicely handled.   

The show starts off with the rush of “We’re Gonna Groove.”  The intensity of the rhythm section challenges Plant to keep up.  He even seems to lose his place after the guitar solo.  The segue into the slow blues sludge is seamless.  The Led Zeppelin track is much heavier and loose than the studio recording and by this time was on its last legs.  Zeppelin would drop it from the set then they went to America after this tour and it would reappear in the “Whole Lotta Love” medley in 1973 in a very loose arrangement.  

“Dazed And Confused” follows and at this point in Zeppelin’s history is still a fifteen minute psychedelic masterpiece.  Plant sings a unique second verse which introdcues a bit of levity in the piece, “I’ve been wonderin’ and I’ve been wandering / tell me what can I do? / I’m in love with a sweet little girl / and she looks exactly like you.  But baby let them / say what they will / It’s gonna work out fine now / nothing can change my mind … but I will.”

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’s “Rice Pudding” as introduction.

“White Summer” is introduced as “a thing that’s comprised of several different numbers in what might be called a peculiar tuning.”

“How Many More Times” reaches twenty-five minutes and is one of the most intense recordings of the medley available.  After introducing the band, the band play the song through the verses and the opening instrumental break which includes references to “Susie Q” and “Beck’s Bolero.”  In “The Hunter” Plant pushes the band into John Lee Hooker’s “Boogie Chillun'” with references to “Further On Down The Line,” and Page responds with the famous “Hideaway” riff.

Lonnie Donagen’s “Cumberland Gap” is referenced in the Tommy McClennan version of “Bottle Up And Go.”  Plant sings “Now, nickel is a nickel  A dime is a dime.  I don’ need no girl, If she want wine” and “Now, the nigger and the white man / Playin’, set ‘em up / Nigger beat the white man / Was scared to pick it up.”  

The follow with a strange version of “My Baby Left Me” and their only known live reference to Little Richard’s “Jenny Jenny” (making this a true rarity).  After Page jams a bit, Plant throws in “The Lemon Song” reference before having the girl in the sight of his gun and the song’s crashing finale.  The encore “Whole Lotta Love” cuts out during the middle cacophony which features not only Page’s theremin but Jones’ crashing chords on the organ.   

This reprint of Intimidator comes in a standard quad case with nicely design artwork and offered at a more than reasonable price.  It seems Empress Valley have drifted away from the awful “TMOQ” style sleeve / inserts garbage they were using for their reissues several years ago and have returned to more standard, but sturdy, packaging.  This version is an affordable way for collectors to obtain this worthy show.  

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Led Zeppelin - Intimidator (Empress Valley EVSD-72/73/74), 4.9 out of 5 based on 5 ratings

13 Comments

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  1. relayer67 says
    September 3, 2012, 3:40 pm

    I have an Intimidator re issue, dated 2005 disc are EVSD72/73 with EVSD2005 in the spine, it is the 2 disc version in a gatefold. nice packaging and since the original issue was long gone this was a great way to get the show. I also have a couple of the TMOQ sets with the ulra cheap packaging but they were not expensive and were shows I would not have paid full price for so I cannot bitch. I remember when I bought my first EV title, the original LA forum 75 box set and I was so excited as it cost alot of money but the packaging was so great, poster and tour book, EV certainly has not kept their high standards but many of their releases are still prominant in my Zep collection. Just my 2 cents….

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  2. James says
    September 3, 2012, 3:30 pm

    Well this is the business model that EV has adopted making it vulnerable to the Eeelgrass mode of simply offering the title cheaper, its astonishing that EV hasn’t catered for the 2 tier market after the 6th or 7th breakthrough release where this has happened, maybe they are eelgrass, I dont profess to know

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  3. yenssongs says
    September 3, 2012, 3:21 pm

    @gobucks: the discs may have the same matrix # . But the new re issues do have different labels for sure !! The first press Intimidator discs look complete different compared to the reissues! Same with EVSD “Gracias” or “Frankfurt Special”…
    The old discs have different label artwork.

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  4. gobucks says
    September 3, 2012, 9:06 am

    Maybe the solution would be for EV to release the high end limited edition and the lesser priced jewel case edition simultaneously. That way there is something for just about everyone. I am dissappointed that I bought all of the early high priced EV titles when I was a hard core collector, when I could have waited and bought them much cheaper.

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  5. jbrum77634 says
    September 3, 2012, 8:23 am

    There is something here for everybody. I dropped out of serious collecting for a few years and missed out on some of the original EV releases that are really worth having – personally being able to pick up re-issues at more standard bootleg prices suits me fine. After many years of collecting I have reached the stage where packaging is not absolutely everything and if I have to choose between a $75 jewel case reissue or a $150+++ digipack Type A/B/..Z release I know what I’d rather do.

    As for diminishing values of the originals…well anyone who tracks Ebay or other sales sites will see original EV releases doing pretty well especially if that release still offers the best version of that show. Led Zeppelin will always have plenty of hardcore collectors who want original pressings. Bootleg collecting has that undeniable trophy aspect about it, I had that completist bug for years and own 3 premium versions of this show. I only still retain all 3 because it’s one of my absolute favourite shows so to anyone considering this budget re-issue I say don’t hesitate.

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  6. gsparaco says
    September 3, 2012, 7:13 am

    I’m not sure reissues in different packaging would necessarily diminish the value of the original pressings. Intimidator was originality released in that awkward long box package and is completely out of print today. There probably is a market for that somewhere.

    I agree with you completely when you ask why EV just doesn’t release affordable titles in sturdy packaging initially. I’ve argued for more than a decade they should have done that instead of the artificial high value they assigned to their products. Many of their titles were priced out of my budget and am glad to see these cheaper versions being offered.

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  7. gobucks says
    September 3, 2012, 6:59 am

    Excellent points Gerard. I agree. My complaint with Empress Valley is that they keep re-releasing these titles, which makes the original releases (when they were a premium label with excellent packaging) less valuable. It seems like a money grab rather then a concern that they make the titles available to collectors at reasonable prices. Why not release them in jewel cases at decent prices initially?

    Yenssongs, check the bootledz site, which lists the disc numbers. Virtually every EV reissued release uses leftover discs. It would be great if EV would release more truly new titles like they used to when they were a premium label.

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  8. chambau says
    September 3, 2012, 6:26 am

    I agree with GSPARACO. If EV is re-releasing any title for the 5th time, certainly there’s a demand for it. Replacing the TMOQ packaging for plastic jewel cases is even better as the TMOQ ones are ridiculous. Besides, having any title available for a “regular” price is always great as you can choose between “good packaging + stupid price” or “normal packaging + regular price”. If you don’t have the budget, you can always stick with the cheapest one.

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  9. yenssongs says
    September 3, 2012, 1:24 am

    EVSD do not use leftover discs. The new discs have different label artwork.

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  10. gsparaco says
    September 2, 2012, 7:47 pm

    My complaints about Empress Valley over the past couple of years have been the reissues in bad packaging and the lack of creative Zeppelin titles.

    I think it’s a crime to charge money for the TMOQ packaging.

    But the latest Intimidator is in a normal jewel case with normal artwork at a normal price, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. This is priced the same as a Clapton title on Beano or a Springsteen title on Godfather, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    I don’t have past releases so I can’t check the matrix numbers, but I’m just glad to finally be able to afford this one in decent packaging.

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  11. gobucks says
    September 2, 2012, 7:11 pm

    I agree. Nothing wrong with re-issuing a title once, maybe even twice. However, you mention the TMOQ “garbarge” re-release in your review. So, they package it in a $1 jewel case and sell it for $75 and that is better than the TMOQ packaging? Even after releasing it five times? It is not ” tatamount ” to a publisher keeping a great book in print. They share nothing in common. Check the matrix number on the CD’s of the re-releases. They are the same as the first release. They are leftover discs repackaged in different packaging. Great books are reprinted because there is a demand for the title. Empress valley could not give away the TMOQ style packaged titles for $35. So, the demand is not there.

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  12. gsparaco says
    September 2, 2012, 6:47 pm

    I agree to an extent that Empress Valley have “given up the ghost.” They used to be one of the leaders in Zeppelin titles, finding and releasing previously unreleased tapes and issuing definitive versions of tapes in common circulation.

    I’m not sure this is a cash grab, however. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a label reissuing one of their past titles. It’s tantamount to a publisher keeping great books in print. I read Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift the other day and I have a cheap Barnes And Nobel edition of the text. I would hate to hunt down a first edition to read it.

    The only ones who could legitimately complain about reprints would be those collectors who want to have everything a specific label releases. But I don’t think many collectors are in that boat and I think the fifth edition of Indimidator is a good and affordable way to obtain the show.

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  13. gobucks says
    September 2, 2012, 6:31 pm

    Empress valley has released this title 5 separate times that I can remember off hand. I don’t care if it is TMOQ style packaging or jewel case packaging that is ” affordable” The re re re re re- releases are a ridulous money grab. Empress valley was once the premier zeppelin label but they have given up the ghost so to speak. Yes, once or twice a year they “liberate a new soundboard release”. However, it typically costs about $150 to $250 with ” bonus discs” and they milk every dime with their “special packaging” and re-releases. Whatever happened to quality releases and packaging?

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