Intimate (Almost Mysterious) (Equinox EX-00-018/019)
Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany – July 19th, 1970
Disc 1 (58:47): Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed And Confused, Bring It On Home, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Thank You, That’s The Way, What Is And What Should Never Be
Disc 2 (67:24): Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown. Bonus tracks, Montreux, Switzerland – March 7th, 1970: We’re Gonna Groove, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed And Confused, White Summer
Led Zeppelin’s short, four date tour in Germany in July 1970 is both well and a poorly documented. John Bonham published a diary for these dates, and journalist Chris Welch accompanied the band, writing about his experiences and even filming the band as they traveled through the country (footage which is posted on their official site and used on the DVD). But the only tape to surface is the final show in Berlin on July 19th. In a show that had manager Peter Grant in fits because of all the microphones at the end of broomsticks recording the concert, one of them thankfully survived. The tape is fragmented since it cuts in at the end of “Immigrant Song,” cut at the end of “Thank You,” cuts out fifty-one seconds into the encore “Communication Breakdown” and between all of the songs. It is however a very rich, full and enjoyable recording.
Its first appearance on a silver pressed release was in the early nineties when “Dazed And Confused” and “Bring It On Home” were featured on Air Raids Over Germany (Tecumseh Records TRC-005) with tracks from Berlin 1973 and Nuremberg 1980. A more complete tape was used for Checkpoint Charlie (Immigrant IM-050-51) in 1996 but is missing “That’s The Way” and the “Communication Breakdown” fragment. Equinox released Intimate (Almost Mysterious) in the summer of 2000 with all of their other titles and represents a dramatic improvement, sounding much better and being more complete.
Missing the beginning of the show is a shame because what is left of “Immigrant Song” reveals it to be played with sheer guts and excitement as is “Heartbreaker.” Seventeen minutes of “Dazed And Confused” show Page trying to take the song in several different directions. After the eerie violin bow episode, played to full effect in the venue, the improvisation includes several unique ideas which weren’t developed fully but are intriguing. The “Think About It” solo is run through several variations before Page slows down a bit and scratches the strings in a syncopated rhythm before the call and response section. He sustains a high-pitched squeal leading into the third verse of the song and then plays a slowing moving heavier-than-granite in the coda.
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” is the second new song played (after “Immigrant Song”) and sounds close to the final commercially released version on Led Zeppelin III. The third and final new song is the only acoustic number in the set. Plant hushes the audience before introducing it, saying “a thing from Led Zeppelin III and it’s called ‘That’s The Way.'” It was premiered the previous month at the Bath Festival in England but under the working title “The Boy Next Door.”
The set closes with a long medley in “Whole Lotta Love.” This is the earliest tape to document this, since they had just dropped “How Many More Times.” The medley is very primitive with the song references blending into one another. After the theremin section they play “Boogie Chillun'” and get into very broad sounding blues rhythms in unique arrangements. After Page boogies on the guitar Plant sings “I’ve got a girl / she lives upon the hill / She says she doesn’t love me but I know her sister will.” He will sing these words in the medley in the middle of the next US tour (and appear on the famous Blueberry Hill), but their origin remain a mystery. Some sources claim this is “Red House” but is thought to be original. Plant thrown in a “squeeze my lemon” before singing the first verse to Freddie King’s “See See Baby.”
There are many other quotes including Jimmy Reed’s “Down In Virgina” before the medley closes with a downright frightening version of “Honey Bee” mixed with another Muddy Waters classic, “Long Distance Call Blues.” Led Zeppelin liked to close their medleys with a majestic, slow-paced blues and is obvious from the earliest recorded version. Plant thanks Berlin before they start the encore. “Good Times Bad Times” was normally included in “Communication Breakdown” at this time, but is unfortunately cut. Equinox include as a bonus the four song good to very good mono soundboard recording from Montreux earlier in the year. This was included on the hard to find Sunshine Woman (Flagge). They restored the songs to the proper running order. Intimate (Almost Mysterious) is packaged in a glossy cardboard gatefold sleeve and given the tape’s rarity is a good addition to the collection.