The Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – March 7, 1970
Disc 1 (61:52) Audience Recording / Soundboard Recording Mix; Introduction, We’re Gonna Groove, I Can’t Quit You Baby medley incl. It Hurts Me So, Dazed And Confused, Rice Pudding Intro / Heartbreaker medley incl. Bouree, White Summer / Black Mountain Side, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ Solo / Hang On To A Dream, Thank You
Disc 2 (57:31) What Is And What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Suzie Q Intro / How Many More Times Medley incl. The Hunter, Boogie Chillun’, Move On Down The Line, Hideaway, Bottle Up And Go, They’re Red Hot, Cumberland Gap, My Baby Left Me, Jenny Jenny, The Lemon Song, Applause, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown
Disc 3 (49:23) AM Recording source # 1; We’re Gonna Groove, I Can’t Quit You Baby medley incl. It Hurts Me So, Dazed And Confused, White Summer / Black Mountain Side. AM Recording source # 2; I Can’t Quit You Baby medley incl. It Hurts Me So, White Summer / Black Mountain Side
Disc 4 (52:59) Soundboard Recording; Moby Dick, Suzie Q Intro / How Many More Times Medley incl. The Hunter, Boogie Chillun’, Move On Down The Line, Hideaway, Bottle Up And Go, They’re Red Hot, Cumberland Gap, My Baby Left Me, Jenny Jenny, The Lemon Song, Applause, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown
Led Zeppelin’s first European tour took place from February 23 to March 12, 1970 and consisted of 16 dates, of which seven live documents exist. For anyone who has ventured into this tour know, they are some of the most intense early Zeppelin you will hear (save for the average show in Vienna). I have versions of all seven of these shows in my collection, and the show featured here is one that is close to my heart. It is the subject of the first Zeppelin bootleg vinyl I bought in the mid 80’s, while I love a bit of nostalgia, it is the performance that keeps me coming back to this show. This new release from the Eat A Peach folks presents all known sound artifacts from this incredible show, lovingly assembled in this four disc set.
The first two discs feature a mix of the superb audience recording, a mix of the AM sources and to complete the concert, the last section is from a newly surfaced upgraded excellent soundboard recording. I like many people have a few versions of this on compact disc. My go to for this show has been the excellent Intimidator (Empress Valley EVSD72/73), released in a multitude of reissues for good reason, the complete version of the show until now and the quality of the audience source was superb, if one had to complain the source splices were rather blunt. When I compare the sound on Intimidator to the Peach source, I prefer the Peach. It is fuller with much better bottom end. The cut at 2:09 in We’re Gonna Groove present on the EV and filled with the AM source is not present on this new Peach set. The cut and patch at 8:30 to 9:50 in White Summer / Black Mountain Side is much better handled, the AM source has been carefully mastered and is much less noticeable.
The newly unearthed version of the soundboard begins at the 8:50 mark in How Many More Times, the sound of this upgraded tape is excellent, well balanced warm and inviting, nice and clean with a very small amount hiss, no distortion to speak of. We now get to enjoy a complete Whole Lotta Love and a previously unknown second encore of Communication Breakdown. The former is great, there is no Theremin so Jones plays some psychedelic organ while Page riffs over the top, great to hear in such quality.
The third disc is a compilation of both the AM radio broadcast versions, they are well balanced and detailed but lo-fi. Peach is not over amplified so the hiss level is nicely reduced and they do not sound overly processed. The last two songs are from a better sounding tape, the originals of these two recordings are referred to as radio recordings, as Plant is introducing White Summer on the second source, the audience can be heard chattering and sound much like the excellent audience source. With the quality of this material being lesser than the other sources from this set, the third disc will not garner many listening’s for me, yet it is excellent to have them on this release nonetheless.
The fourth disc is the complete upgraded soundboard recording, it does feature the first 39 seconds from the excellent audience source for keep with the continuity of the song. I listened to the first two discs repeatedly to enjoy the full show, yet this fourth disc is an excellent list on its own. This recording certainly rivals the audience source and while it is a soundboard, it does capture nuances the former does not. It has a wonderfully warm and inviting sound that pulls you in. The fact that we have a more complete and better sounding version of this tape makes me hope that more of this concert exists. This is a concert that needs no review as we all know it well, for those who don’t please follow the link to Gerard’s assessment of EV’s Intimidator, a legendary recording with a blistering performance to back it up.
The packaging is excellent, mini LP jacket with four CD sleeves and an 8 page booklet all adorned with pictures from the concert and other shots from early 1970, easy to tell as Page had very long hair during this period. The booklet has a nice synopsis from The Rover, each CD is blazoned with each of the four symbols used the following year on the classic IV record, again show the importance of each individual member. It should be noted that Empress Valley released their version of the material as The Great Beast 666 in both standard 3CD version and a deluxe 7 disc version. For me this new set from Eat A Peach is all I need. The mastering is excellent, packaging and presentation are superb and is certainly the best value for your hard earned collecting currency. This is an essential show to the Zep collector and music aficionado alike and is a must have.