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Robert Plant Announces New ‘Carry Fire’ LP, Debuts ‘The May Queen’ Single

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Robert Plant is showing Australia what it truly means to be a legendary frontman
by Brandon John  | Mar 26, 2018

Robert Plant’s message to fans several days back gives all the insight we need into the mind of a man whose worshipped back-catalogue of hits could easily become an albatross around his neck: “Man’s real home is not a house, but the road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.”

A quote from writer and countryman Bruce Chatwin, it sums up the feelings he’s expressed to every interviewer who, for almost four decades, has been compelled to ask the ‘reunion’ question: Plant has no interest in stoking the embers of a lifetime ago, instead carrying his fire as he keeps pressing forward. He hasn’t forgotten the past, he just won’t be chained to it – a sentiment that carries right through his live show.

With a stick of incense burning away in his stage monitor, his promise to Sydney’s State Theatre of a glimpse into the “past and present” is certainly delivered on by a smattering of solo work to open the set, and our first gentle nudge into Led Zeppelin territory comes five songs deep in the form of acoustic number ‘That’s The Way’.


The ‘past’ is best served, though, by the folk and blues standards that have always been a part of Plant’s catalogue, and which prove a perfect fit for a Sensational Space Shifters lineup driven along by the guitar brilliance of Justin Adams and Liam ‘Skin’ Tyson, and bolstered by the violin skills of well-received opening act Seth Lakeman.

Adams’ sitar-esque guitar soon signals newest title track ‘Carry Fire’, and sees the stage steeped in projections of appropriately mystical imagery, the smoke from the incense rising. Next we’re met with a true  Zeppelin mainstay in ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’, and it’s here that Plant puts to rest any concerns that he may have lost a step since he first sent shivers down spines with one of the greatest voices in rock.

The quality of his vocals still shines through, bolstered as it is by a choir of reverb when stretched by the demands of certain higher, longer notes. And, while he may no longer be the banshee he was in his youth, he’s no faded talent. His voice has walked a long road, but continues to find itself right at home there.

It was perhaps most at home, of course, on the version of ‘Please Read The Letter’ that followed – a cut from his Jimmy Page collab album in 1998 reworked a decade later for the Grammy-accumulating collab record with Alison Krauss that would cement Plant as an enduring songwriting force – and it proved a crowd-pleaser for fans who’d followed all the way along on that journey.

The remainder of the set brought with it a perfectly-weighted combination of covers and Zeppelin classics that saw Plant at times watching ‘Skin’ Tyson with quiet reverence as the guitarist put his incredible abilities on display, and at others consoling a platinum blonde fan who’d been rebuffed by security as she attempted to work her way to front of stage: “Sorry, love”. Some things never change, others clearly do.

The countrified version of ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ that closed out the set didn’t thrill the way it could have, but the medley that followed the encore more than made up for it, with the classic pairing of ’69 cover ‘Bring It On Home’ and the still-monstrous ‘Whole Lotta Love’ bringing the crowd to their feet.

“Here’s one of our newer songs, from 1920,” Plant joked, as he transitioned back into another of the traditional folk songs that he’d brought back to life throughout the evening. “Sit down, you won’t like it.” But as the genuinely sensational musicianship of the Space Shifters saw ‘Whole Lotta Love’ return with a fury, those who’d followed his instructions were jolted back out of their seats.

It was a brilliant show, but watching Robert Plant and his expert band can’t help but bring about a sense of pity for singers left adrift from the bands with which they first launched themselves to stardom all those years back, now left belting out those same versions of those same hits, over and over. “Play ‘Stairway’,” as the saying goes.

It’s a fate that Plant never has to fear, though, as each night he picks and chooses his way through a glittering career as he sees fit, just as content to put his fresh stamp an old standard as he is one of his own hits. Rather than resting on his laurels in the house that Zeppelin built, Plant again reminds us that his real home is not a house, but the road.

Robert Plant will continue his Australian tour in Melbourne, Adeliade and Perth next week, following an appearance at Bluesfest 2018 this weekend – limited tickets are still available.


https://tonedeaf.com.au/robert-plant-is-showing-australia-how-to-be-a-legendary-frontman/

 

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Robert Plant review: Whole lotta love in the room for rock veteran

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
State Theatre, ‪March 23

★★★★

In the year that marks not only his own 70th on the planet but half a century since the formation of the band that made him a rock icon, Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant remains a formidable singer and a vital musician.

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It can all be boiled down to rhythm and blues – the separate entities, not the genre – when it comes to the sound and feel of Plant and a band that's crucially far more than a group of guns hired to back him on tour.

The core Sensational Space Shifters have written and played with him in various guises for more than a decade, and the thrill they get vibing off each other is evident from the moment they lock into opener New World.

It's one of several tunes we hear from last year's Carry Fire and, along with the others from Plant's "solo" career, they do significantly more than pass the time while we wait in hope for the occasional Led Zep treat.

Whether it's the hypnotic Rainbow with its Moroccan hand drums or the warm country-folk of his celebrated collaboration with (the absent) Alison Krauss, Please Read the Letter, it all comes back to the groove, and invariably a blissful one at that.

Even when we get the first call back to the great old days with a gorgeous and at first musically faithful That's the Way, by its end that acoustic rock meditation too finds a shimmy we never knew it had.

Of the other Led Zeppelin songs, at least two come wonderfully out of the blue as folk stompers taken back to their roots before we get the thrill of recognising them (notably Misty Mountain Hop) while the rest provide the instant joy of familiarity; an enormous, iconic guitar riff doesn't hurt, either (Whole Lotta Love).

Plant is inevitably not the dynamic, thrusting frontman of yore, and the rock screech may no longer be in his vocal toolbox but, given his age, that's as it should be. Instead, he comes across as the dignified, eccentric, golden-voiced mystic he has long aspired to be, and it's a pleasure to spend a couple of hours with him and his band.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters play at the Opera House Concert Hall on March 26 and 27, the Palais Theatre, Melbourne, on April 1 and 2, and at Bluesfest, which takes place in Byron Bay from March 29-April 2.

https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/robert-plant-review-whole-lotta-love-in-the-room-for-rock-veteran-20180325-h0xxb3.html

 

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On ‎3‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 12:16 AM, zeplz71 said:

But as for what I’ll be doing in five years time, I haven't got the answer. I haven't got a clue.

Fair enough. It reminds me of something he said way back in 1988, perhaps to Chris Tetley, which was "How many more years are we going to be talking about my records anyway, really?" I can't believe that was his outlook THIRTY years ago.

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33 minutes ago, SteveAJones said:

Fair enough. It reminds me of something he said way back in 1988, perhaps to Chris Tetley, which was "How many more years are we going to be talking about my records anyway, really?" I can't believe that was his outlook THIRTY years ago.

Thirty??? Yowza - hard to believe he felt that way 30 years ago! 

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Whole lotta love for Plant at Bluesfest
 
by Cathy Adams
31st Mar 2018

THE questions on everyone's lips ... would he play Led Zeppelin, and has he still got it?

As Robert Plant left the Crossroads stage after more than an hour and a half, the resounding answer was yes, and yes.

Robert Plant was charismatic. Conttributed Bruce Davis
Robert Plant was charismatic. Conttributed Bruce Davis

The Bluesfest headline act did not disappoint the thousands of fans who crammed into the tent to see him.

Diehard Zeppelin fans got to see their music legend in fine form, and the younger crowd got a glimpse of the magic that catapulted the band into the history books as one of the greatest.

The set was a class act in professionalism, something his competing act in the Mojo tent could learn a lesson about. As my fellow Bluesfest buddy put it: " He showed the music and the crowd respect".

Sure, we all wish Page and Bonham (RIP) etc could have been there with him, but the Sensational Shapeshifters were just that, sensational.

 

Robert Plant and the Sensational Shapeshifters were simply sensational.
Robert Plant and the Sensational Shapeshifters were simply sensational.

The crowd got to hear some new tunes, as well as some of Plant's older stuff - the beautiful Mayqueen - but when the notes rang out for That's the Way, the crowd went wild.

Gallows Pole came later, but it was Whole Lotta Love that tore the house down.

A charismatic Plant didn't just hit play on the classics, he transformed them in a soaring transcendental tribute to the originals.

And while the very long wait in the carpark afterwards wasn't ideal, hearing " there's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold" waft across the misty fields seemed a fitting end to the night.

 

https://www.northernstar.com.au/news/whole-lotta-love-for-plant-at-blues/3375666/

 

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Robert Plant cemented his legendary status at The Palais Theatre

By Kate Streader

http://www.beat.com.au/music/robert-plant-cemented-his-legendary-status-palais-theatre

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Robert Plant’s signature mop of curls may be grey, but he’s still the same rockstar the world fell in love with in the ‘60s. Defying the laws of time with a voice that has barely changed over the past 40 years, Plant is a testament to the fact that rock’n’roll never dies.

Assuming their positions onstage and tearing straight into a ferocious rendition of Led Zeppelin classic ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters set the tone for the evening straight off the bat. Following up with ‘The May Queen’ from the band’s latest album, Carry Fire, the set was certain not to be a one-note affair.

The band continued to pull out an assortment of tracks from Plant’s solo career including ‘Mighty Rearranger’, ‘All the King’s Horses’ and ‘Carry Fire’, Zeppelin tracks ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’ and ‘Going to California’ and a few covers including the 1920’s hit ‘Little Maggie’, for good measure.

Decades of experience as a performer and a reputation for his charismatic presence were evident in every facet of the performance, be it his quick wit when replying to shouting audience members – such as the woman who yelled for Plant to take his shirt off, to which he replied “at this time of night? I’m not fucking doing that” – to the way he simply exuded a level of confidence and comfort on the stage.

Plant’s humility shone through as he often drifted to the fringes of the stage while his bandmates took over and he simply watched on in awe, clapping and dancing from the sidelines. Despite being 69 years old, his body never stopped moving to the rhythm. Though he never danced as a man trying to maintain a rock’n’roll persona or someone trying to grasp onto their youth, but as someone who is genuinely passionate about the music they make and can’t help but feel it with their entire body.

The Sensational Space Shifters are no Led Zeppelin, and they’re not trying to be. Rather than trying to live up to the band’s iconic legacy, they put their own spin on Zeppelin classics such as ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ and ‘Bring It On Home’, never deviating too far from the original but still injecting their own sound. The Sensational Space Shifters proved they are a tight unit too, producing an absolutely flawless sound teeming with guitar, drum and violin solos and showcasing their dexterity with an electric lute, mandolin, double bass and a fiddle all appearing throughout the performance.

The crowd ate up every minute of it, Plant could’ve sung ‘Happy Birthday’ and the audience would have thought it was genius. Everyone was completely consumed by the energy in the room, with ‘Please Read The Letter’ creating a singalong effect whilst ‘Gallows Pole’ had everyone on their feet dancing and ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’, complete with an exceptional acoustic guitar solo, earning the band a standing ovation.

Finishing with a bluesy rendition of ‘Misty Mountain Hop’, it felt like finishing a good meal – everyone was full and satisfied – though nobody was refusing dessert, which was served on a platter when the band re-emerged with a medley of ‘Bring It On Home’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’.

There were several moments throughout the evening where Plant’s face would erupt in an immense smile or he would let out a sly wink or laugh to a bandmate, and it was truly heart-warming to see someone so in love with what they do after so many years. If one thing is for certain, Robert Plant is and will always be a rock god.

Highlight: The setlist was the perfect balance of Plant’s solo career and Zeppelin tracks.

Lowlight: Waiting in line for 45 minutes at the merch desk.

Crowd favourite: ‘Gallow’s Pole’.

 

 

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^^He played Mighty ReArranger, cool! Hope it pops up on Youtube.

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I went to that show and also the next night where he had a slightly different set list including "Thats the Way" which was brilliant. Both nights were great. He's still got it even though more subdued obvioulsy.

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