Divinity (Atlantic Ocean 208/624 039 2)
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.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)