Peter’s PA (Black Dog Records BDR-001-1,2)
Monteux Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – August 7th, 1971
Disc 1: Introduction, Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven
Disc 2: 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 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 afterthe 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.” Peter’s PAis released on Black Dog Records, an imprint of the Tarantura label. They chose to retain the name of the tape’s initial appearance on the Small Fish CDR label, utilizing the third and fourth discs of that set (the “remastered” version). Thus some of the tape flaws in “Stairway To Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love” have been addressed. Empress Valley released Casino Royale just before this one and they chose to boost the volume on the tape, raising the level of music and tape hiss. The volume on Tarantura is softer and the hiss is lower and not as intrusive. It is a matter of taste (and budget) which title is better, but I found this one to be easier on the ears. It comes in a cardboard gatefold sleeve with either the “Jimmy” or “Peter Grant” cover.