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Author: David Silverman, Entertainment writer.

For Robert Plant , there is no escaping Led Zeppelin. So instead of fighting his legendary past, Plant warmly embraced it Thursday night, closing out the yearlong ``Non Stop Go`` tour with an emotional finale at the Rosemont Horizon. Facing a near sellout crowd (a surprise after weeklong reports of weak ticket sales) for his farewell show, Plant played Santa and delivered the crowd a musical Christmas gift: a wonderfully mixed bag of Zeppelin favorites and cuts from his post-Zep solo LPs, including the recently released ``Now and Zen.``

Plant also delivered a Christmas gift to Children`s Memorial Hospital through his performace. In light of the death of his own son, Karac, to a viral infection in the mid-`70s, Plant was more than willing to join WXRT-FM in sponsoring this year`s Concert for the Kids and donated part of Thursday

night`s gate to the hospital .

In the spirit of the evening, Plant said he had decided to give the crowd ``everything that I got.``

``This`ll be my last chance to scream at Americans,`` Plant lamented during a break. ``Let`s get our money`s worth.`` Enough said. The man who invented the heavy-metal vocal style-which has

evolved into a cumbersome howl-was back to show how it`s to be done.

Plant and his band broke out with ``Heaven Knows,`` giving us an early chance to see exactly who had been chosen to enter the slots once deified by Page, Bonham and Jones. Guitarist Doug Boyle handled the onerous task of lead guitar with class and style, leading the way with Page-influenced solos and a slippery-fast hand. Boyle went beyond simply mimicking Page to add his own touches, complete with the requisite feedback, theatrics and ear-numbing volume of a professional.

Chris Blackwell`s driving drum work set the pace for the nameless group, while keyboardist Phil Johnstone and bassist Phil Scragg kept the crowd moving with churning rhythm work.

Surrounding all of them was a light, smoke and film show that added a touches of psychedelia, MTV and the underworld, which complemented the musicians, without being overpowering or distracting.

Among the greatest hits of the evening, Plant pulled ``Trampled Under Foot`` and ``All of My Love`` from his bag, along with the appropriate vocal echoes and effects.

There was also a return to Zeppelin`s rhythm-and-blues roots with Plant `s hard-hitting reading of John Lee Hooker`s ``Dimples`` that kept the pace at full speed. Even the slow-turning ``In the Mood`` refused to bring the performance down a notch as Boyle`s solo was his best of the evening.

``A Tall Cool One`` closed out the set, and the band returned for ``Misty Mountain Hop`` and ``Nobody`s Fault But Mine.`` A surprising lead entry by Joan Jett started the evening. Now riding a

comeback of sorts, with her album ``Up Your Alley,`` Jett proved that she hasn`t forgotten how to rock. Jett never laid back and showed that there still may be room for a leather-clad mistress of hard rock and roll.

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