Led Zeppelin in Montreux
Led Zeppelin 1971
August 7 & 8, 1971 at Montreux Casino
Led Zeppelin would return to Montreux for two sold-out shows on August 7th and 8th, 1971 at The Casino. A disastrous show in Milan a month earlier was cut short due to a police-induced riot on July 5th, prematurely ending the tour.
Montreux was the perfect setting for Zeppelin’s re-fueling as the band prepared for yet another conquering of North America, beginning once again in Vancouver (where they set a concert attendance record there), a couple of weeks later. They would gross over a million dollars on this short tour alone.By this time, the band’s popularity had grown largely since their fist visit to Montreux. A short U.K. "return to the clubs" tour in March brought them back into the intimate atmosphere of smaller venues that the group already missed. Although their third album wasn’t received by critics as well as expected, their status as the world’s number one group was virtually undeniable; Zeppelin’s up-coming fourth LP would put an end to any doubts of the group’s supremacy.
An "acoustic" direction taken by the band disappointed some but Led Zeppelin would not rely on a formula for their success.
"To me personally, that album was certainly a large step after the second one. Because you can't keep turning out the same thing. If you do that, you can't do anything for yourself. We know we can rely on things like Whole Lotta Love and it is quite easy to work within the same framework all the time. But who does that? Just people who haven't got anything going for them in the brains, that's who. And I think the third album was an essential thing, I don't care if it sold any copies at all, because it showed there was a bit more attached to us and it than Shake Your Money-Maker sort of stuff." – Robert Plant: August 1971.
The first half of 1971 saw far less touring for the group than in the previous years. Instead, they concentrated on completing their fourth album which would prove to be a monstrous hit around the world. It would be several months until the album’s release.
Zeppelin’s powerful assault on the ears would be felt at stage level for Gilles Chateau, as he firmly positioned himself near John Paul Jones at stage right, armed with a borrowed camera.
"Cold Black Dog"). Softer sounds of the group’s new acoustic featured Going to California and That’s the Way. It’s during the seated acoustic set that fans and media alike first take notice of Robert Plant’s melodic vocal abilities and were pleasantly surprised by the concert’s change of pace. The instant classic Stairway To Heaven also amazed all ears.
Along with the previously unheard material, Zep blasted their way through many of their ferocious rockers including Dazed and Confused, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown and medleys of numerous classics from the 50’s and 60’s.
An enthusiastic reviewer expressed his delight in the band’s energetic performances stating, "The band could have easily fulfilled their contractual obligations by offering a run-of-the-mill gig... instead the band sent people into a frenzy with a varied and supercharged show".
The reviewer later commented how the band would soon be playing much larger arena concerts in North America and pondered the fact that they would even play Montreux anymore! It was to be their last performance at this venue as an unfortunate accident during a Frank Zappa concert later in the year brought down The Casino in a burning blaze. The event was immortalized in Deep Purple’s classic hit Smoke On The Water. The historic Casino was no more...
Another well-behaved audience greeted them which pleased the group, after experiencing the terrible violence at their previous gig a month earlier in Milan. As they launched their seventh North American tour in Vancouver later than month, more incidents of fan aggression greeted them. Another example of the heavenly escape Montreux became.
It was just three short months after this picture was taken along with Aretha Franklin, King Curtis and Led Zeppelin (on a double film exposure), that, on September 13, 1971. King Curtis, age 36, was stabbed to death in New York.
SETLIST August 7 & 8, 1971 - The Casino
Since I’ve Been Loving You
Dazed & Confused
Stairway To Heaven
Going To California
That’s The Way
What Is & What Should Never Be
Whole Lotta Love (incl. medley)
Communication Breakdown (encore)
There is a rarely known fact that for the 1971 Led Zeppelin concert in Montreux, Robert Plant, not one to be dictated what to do or what to wear, sported a Montreux T-shirt on stage and in the process fully endorsed Claude Nobs and the town of Montreux.
The logo resembled a Japanese looking poster that misled experts to think the concerts took place in Japan. Not so !
This logo was a strike of genius at the time with its intended Hippie target.
Led Zeppelin - Montreux 1971
Rare 16mm newsreel footage of Led Zeppelin in Montreux, Switzerland 1971.
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