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Robert Plant/Alison Krauss. Birmingham NIA (Uk)

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What seats were you in Ledded? That was my view but I think I was a bit nearer that you. We were in Section A Row E Seats 6 & 7.

I thought the first 8 or 9 songs were staggeringly good. My daughter and I sat there with our mouths open for much of that time. Alison's voice is a wonderful thing live. When Robert's is added wonderful things happen.

They did all but about 3 songs from the album as well as 4 (I think!) LZ songs including BD, WTLB , BCW and TBOE as well as 29 Palms. A Couple of numbers from the O Brother soundtrack ( a real jaw dropper was Alison singing Down To The River To Pray acapela apart from RP and 2 others singing harmony and I aint even in The God Squad!). T Bone sang a couple with AK & RP off the stage.

Highlights were many but included Rich Woman, Fortune Teller, Killing The Blues & Let You Loss Be Your Lesson. I didn't think the LZ songs worked as well - I still enjoyed them but maybe not as much. There was more excellent electric guitar from T Bone & Buddy Muiller than as was expecting. Some really exciting solos (although, of course, not up to the standar of The Lord Of The Strings!) I felt the gig lost a little momentum is it neared the end which may have been down to what I thought was a slight lose in sound quality after it had been amazing from the off. The biggest disappointment was Gone Gone Gone which finished the main set and sounded rushed. I'd been looking forward to this as much as anything.

But if you have tickets to see them you shouldn't be disappointed because over all it was a fantastic evening. So, I won't complain, if after directing his attention in the direction we'd all prefer it to go for a year or two, he and AK give us Raising Sand Two. There were 2 or 3 songs not from the album which were great and could be the basis for a new album..

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The Birmingham Mail

May 6, 2008

IT was a musical project that could have gone down like a lead balloon, But last night's show proved that the teaming of American bluegrass star Alison Krauss and West Bromwich-born hard rock legend Robert Plant is a soaring success.

The opening night of the duo's British tour began with reverential silence from the capacity crowd, and ended two hours later with a standing ovation.

While Led Zeppelin frontman Plant entered stage left, Grammy Award-winning country singer Krauss sidled on stage right. They met in the middle for spine-tingling opener Rich Woman on which their voices harmonised beautifully.

The track also opens their acclaimed album Raising Sand which sees them explore the rich vein of Americana, country, bluegrass, blues and rock 'n' roll.

And the man that brought it all together, producer T-Bone Burnett, also had a major role in the live experience. Dressed in a long black coat which made him look like a preacher in a Western movie, he not only played guitar and led the other four members of the band, but sang a couple of solo numbers while Plant and Krauss took a breather.

All but one track from the album got an airing but that is only half the story. How could Robert Plant, who recently performed a one-off charity gig with Led Zeppelin, play in his home town and not include some numbers from his band's back catalogue?

The third song in was Black Dog but with the intro picked out on a banjo, transforming it into a slow, swampy rocker.

There was more banjo in Black Country Woman and a double fiddle assault for When The Levee Breaks. A mandolin made an appearance for the best received of the four Led Zep numbers, Battle Of Evermore.

Alison Krauss' sweet harmonies were a joy to hear and Robert Plant returned the favour when he contributed, along with band members Stuart Duncan and Buddy Miller, to her a cappella Down To The River To Pray, a song she performed with Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? movie soundtrack.

"Country and Western? Hardly!" quipped Plant afterwards.

After his forays into World Music and the eclectic Strange Sensation collaboration it seems that Robert Plant has found yet another musical genre that he is happy to add to his CV.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss at the Birmingham NIA

The Birmingham Post

May 6, 2008

by Richard McComb

It was dubbed the most unlikely pairing in music: Robert Plant, the mighty King of Rock, and Alison Krauss, the demure Queen of Bluegrass. How could the sledgehammer-in-chief of 70s stadium excess possibly gel with this delicate flower of tender, sweet country?

The answer, of course, is that it’s impossible to say. Sometime it’s better not to dwell on the mystery; don’t try to read the runes. It’s far better to sit back and bathe in the magic, which is exactly what several thousand adoring fans did last night at the NIA in Birmingham.http://' target="_blank">

Part homecoming, part musical rebirth, Plant brought Krauss to his native Birmingham stomping ground to deliver a stunning set to launch the European leg of their world tour. London can wait; home is where the heart is.

After dates in Germany, Belgium, France, and the lands of ice and snow, it’s back Stateside, finishing up (where else?) in Nashville, where this precious recording partnership was born.

Plant and Krauss first got together at a tribute concert to bluesman Leadbelly. T Bone Burnett, who Krauss knew from working on the Grammy award-winning soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, brought her and Plant together, handpicked the music and the musicians. No pressure there, then.

Inspired by the critical acclaim heaped on the resulting album, Raising Sand, the pair decided to hit the road and last night’s show was a bewildering kaleidoscopic journey through musical genres. It was wonderfully impossible to pigeon hole – blues, alt-country, spiritual, soul and traditional standards all blurring, underpinned by masterful musicianship and glorious vocals.

Time can play cruel tricks on legends. Plant, though, who will celebrate his 60th birthday this year, remains a peerless performer, leaping from the trance-like to the maniacal to the cheeky schoolboy. Grooving on stage with Krauss, whose voice, fiddle playing and demeanour constitute a rare thing of beauty, the Led Zeppelin frontman grinned like the cat who’d got the cream. It is possible for a rock god to learn new tricks.

“The first time I played that in Birmingham was 1963,” said Plant after a blistering version of Brit-rock standard Fortune Teller, which was laced with breathy Krauss harmonies and a gut-churning guitar solo by Burnett, a colossus both in musical ability and physical stature. “Only two people knew it … How sad is that?” said Plant, mocking his recall of trivia. “Free prescriptions and a long memory … Don’t print that!” he added, laughing.

The stand-outs from this 23-song two-hour set? Impossible to say, there really were so many. The evening started with Rich Woman, track one from Raising Sand. Plant prowled on stage from the right, dressed in a black jacket, red silk shirt, agonisingly tight burgundy trousers (yes, ladies, he still looks buff) and some mighty fine toe-curling cowboy boots.

Krauss, stepping in from the left, glowered into Plant’s darting eyes, looking a picture in a pretty off-white dress with brown swirled patterning, her long blonde hair billowing in the stage breeze.

She looked like she’d just come from Bible class, apart from the smouldering looks and the footwear, that is. In homage to Mr Plant’s strutting youth, Krauss wore thigh-high grey boots. She’s no wall flower, and boy can she sing.

The set was a superbly pitched mix of songs from Raising Sand, a couple of Plant solo/collaborations (including Please Read The Letter, from the Page-Plant Walking Into Clarksdale) and some gems from the Led Zep locker.

Of the former, Krauss’s singing was simply perfect on numbers such as Sister Rosetta Goes Before, Through The Morning, Through The Night and the eerily beautiful Tom Waits penned Trampled Rose.

Plant’s vocal power and restraint was mesmerising on Nothin’, skipping to playful pop on the gorgeous duo, Stick With Me Baby. The vocal balance and rich textures on Killing The Blues were terrific – best listened to in a log cabin by a crackling fire, although you could still feel a collective warm glow inside the cavernous NIA.

It seems odd that so much has been made of the apparently diverse musical backgrounds of the grizzled rocker and his little ole country girl.

The truth is that Plant’s career with Led Zeppelin was burnished with the influences of roots music, pastoral folk and gnarled blues.

Led Zeppelin III may be best known for the thunderclap howl of Immigrant Song but the album also melds acoustic folk and blues traditional.

It was though the supergroup’s next album, the stratospheric fourth, which was cherry-picked at the NIA. Black Dog, The Battle of Evermore and When The Levee Breaks, particularly the latter two, were entrancing.

Krauss was inspired in the Sandy Denny harmonies on Evermore – remarkable when you consider she was born the year the album was released. Plant was just stunning.

In fact, if you’ve ever wondered what Led Zep’s best known album would have sounded like had the band’s private tour jet, The Starship, ditched in the Georgia wilderness, here was your answer: heavy rock and pastoral meets the Duelling Banjos from Deliverance. It was spookily breath-taking, the banshee wail of the lad from West Bromwich set against the crystal vocals of the girl from Champaign, Illinois. You didn’t know whether to hide behind your hands in terror or weep with joy at the deconstruction and revitalisation of these classic numbers.

Black Country Woman, from Physical Graffiti, was given the same spellbinding treatment.

The evening finished with the final track from Raising Sand, the heart-breaking traditional Long Journey Home. “Oh, the days will be empty/The nights so long without you my love …” They sure will be without Plant and Krauss.

Burnett has likened listening to the pair sing together as “almost hypnotic – some kind of psychotropic drug.” And he’s right. It’s a natural high.

As he walked off, a fan threw a flower on to the stage for Plant. It used to be knickers, but Robert’s grown up and smelled the roses. Flower power rocks.

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Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Two's Company Please the Crowd

The Telegraph

May 6, 2008

by David Cheal

Last December’s Led Zeppelin reunion gig was undoubtedly one of the musical highlights of the year, if not the decade. But the group’s singer, Robert Plant, was involved in another project last year which received enormous acclaim; his album with American Bluegrass singer, Alison Krauss.

Raising Sand was released last October and was an instant success; the voices of these two singers seem to blend into one on their interpretations of songs by classic songwriters such as Sam Phillips, Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt, while T Bone Burnett’s production gave the whole thing a spooky, swampy, twangy flavour.

Those who thought it an unlikely union neglected the fact that there was always a countryish, celtic flavour to Zeppelin’s music, and here that aspect of Plant’s musical personality flourished in a series of striking duets with the pure-voiced Krauss.

Now Plant and Krauss are in the UK for a series of concerts. Last night’s was the first. And what unfolded there was a show that was by turns hypnotic, weird, warm, chilling, and always quite compelling.

Opening with the first track from the Raising Sand album, Rich Woman, Krauss and Plant slunk on stage from opposite wings, both with big hair, she in floaty dress and thigh-length boots, he in skinny trousers and shirt. They approached their microphones together and were in instant rapport.

Would they play any Zeppelin songs? The question was answered by the third song of the evening when a banjo plucked out the Byzantine riff to Black Dog. What a remarkable re-invention this was! Haunting and heavy and dark, but a million miles from Zeppelin’s version. Later on, Black Country Woman, When the Levee Breaks and Battle of Evermore got the same treatment.

As well as duetting, Plant and Krauss took it in turns to take solo spots. Fortune Teller featuring Plant on vocals was broody and steamy, and at the end of the song Plant cast his mind back to 1963 when he first performed the song in Birmingham. “Free prescriptions and a long memory,” he quipped. Krauss, meanwhile, was pure, sad and ghostly on Trampled Rose. Big cheers.

“Country and Western?” said Plant quizzically at one point in the show. “Hardly.” Precisely. This was country music, but with sadness, darkness and real bitter experience at its heart. And hearing it performed by these musicians, people who had music coming out of their very pores, people who played with complete empathy, was, from start to finish, bewitching and brilliant.

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Hi Sibly, i was in Block A row D so to the left of you.

It was more enjoyable than I had excpected and with the mix of other songs in there not from th ealbum it made it a more enjoyable night. There wa s abit of an annoying echo from the hall but not enough to spoil it completely.

Alisons voice is much better live than I anticipated even though i had heard 4 shows from the US prior to this one. her Ssiter Rosetta Stone was beautiful. And she is a much more powerful singer than I had realised too.

She is prettier than her pics show and she looked damn sexy to me.

Robert seemed in good form and the band are certainly a tighter one now a few more shows in.

T Bones slot I realy enjoyed too.

Song highlight for me was Battle of Evermore, it really works well with Alisons voice.

I can never remember set lists but nealy two hours was value for money.

A good evening out methinks.

I will have to go and see them again tomorrow in Manchester.

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I meant to say how evident Plant's enjoyment was. He was grinning from ear to ear for much of the night. Alison is also one hell of a singer - although she'd probably tell you her gift comes from the other deity! Pitch perfect and beautiful but also so powerful.

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I meant to say how evident Plant's enjoyment was. He was grinning from ear to ear for much of the night. Alison is also one hell of a singer - although she'd probably tell you her gift comes from the other deity! Pitch perfect and beautiful but also so powerful.

Oh I agree, I said to my mate about her perfect pitch and I wasn't expecting such power from her, that was a pleasure :)

I liked the fact that the crowd listened rather than whooped and wailed unlike when listening to the US shows from last week or so. Perhaps we were a little bit too polite but its not dancing up and down and hollering music is it?

I said before that if anyone line danced I would leave :lol:

I agree to some extent about it slowing during the set and perhaps there should be some more toe tapping ( not line dancing) songs in there but like you I have very little so complain about.

Very ejoyable. B)

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Great pics and reviews....really looking forward to tonight in Manchester now!!! :D

You should. As long as you can leave your heavy rock/Led Zep aspirations at the door you'll have a bloody marvelous time.

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Wow - even at that advanced age? :o

Yeah, it's amazing that some girls continue to get better looking with age. Alison is one of them. Many don't exhibit that quality and peak early.

Alison is of a rare breed. What was the Janis Joplin song ? Oh yeah,

"Get it while you Can"

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But she also looks better in the flesh than she does in pictures or film. I'd also like to volunteer for the job of messing up her perfect hair and makeup. She'd look better with some 'just out of bed' chique! :lol:

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Yeah, it's amazing that some girls continue to get better looking with age. Alison is one of them. Many don't exhibit that quality and peak early.

This is your opinion of course.

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