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Robert Plant = My favorite old guy ever

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Mandy went to the same show and she told me she liked the blog I wrote as a review, so damnit I'm gonna post it here. Enjoy.

So every time I go to a concert, I always say, "Oh my gosh, best concert ever... how can anything ever compare?! I will never be this delirious in my life." I did this when I saw The Mars Volta and the Chili Peppers two years ago, when I saw Ben Folds and John Mayer last year, and now I'm saying the same thing about Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. But I mean, really, how could it have been true about anyone other than the golden god with the golden mane and the golden bulge in his tight jeans? Okay, maybe this concert didn't feature an old man in tight jeans, but it did feature and old man with the same hair and voice he had 40 years ago.

To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect from this random pairing. The album's pretty good, but how would they be live? The first thing I noticed walking in was that my cousin and I were two of maybe 150 people under 30. My guess? Former Led Zeppelin groupies... and I guess Alison Krauss had some fans there, too. I suppose winning a ton of Grammys means people like you, but really what that she produced could be cooler than the 40 year old mane? It probably has former groupies hiding in it. It's quite large. Maybe it upsurped a commune in the late 60s. I don't know. Anyway, there was a good mix of bluegrass fans, old hippies, old groupies, and a random guy with a white guy fro.

I pretty much observed the people surrounding me during the opening act because I was too anxious to see the Plant to pay the slightest bit of attention. It's like when you're at a really long line at the DMV and you just want to go on a rampage. You try to convince everyone if they come back at a certain time, there are no lines. I don't know how I would have convinced the opening act that the DMV had anything to do with her leaving so that Plant could come out sooner, but whatever.

Anyway, when that blessed front of the line moment at the DMV moment happened and I caught my first glimpse of the golden god, I was so jubilant. I rose in uproarious applause with the rest of the attendees, but then seconds later they had sat down again. A good sign you're not at a concert aimed at the younger crowd. It was alright, though. I am short. Tall people not standing up in front of me always makes a concert that much better. Plus my cousin and I live on the edge and since the people who were on the aisle never showed up, we scooted over two chairs. Two feet closer to the mane... we were willing to throw caution to the wind and try for it. The people who had those seats never came. Unless they died or suddenly ran out of peanut butter, I can't think of a good reason they gave up the seats.

From our seats, we enjoyed four Zeppelin songs. Black Dog was the first. It featured a banjo. Not quite Jimmy Page on his Les Paul, but banjo players can sing songs about honey dripping? We got Black Country Woman, The Battle of Evermore, and When the Levee Breaks over the next hour and a half. If it's possible to strain a muscle from extreme smiling, that could very possibly have happened during Black Country Woman. Slap on some clown makeup, and I could have easily been the villian in a horror film. It's probably a good thing our seats weren't so great. Security may have been concerned.

I have to imagine many of the people in the front reacted the same way, though. The hottest guy of all time with the most epic hair of all time, with the biggest dimples of all time, with a voice that could bitchslap most modern musicians with its sheer power, and not losing a step over 40 years... what's not to love? Robert Plant, I want to have your babies... or your hair. Either one works for me.

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It was my first concert, and unless Zep reunites nothing will get better. I had pretty good seats, could have been better but I'm not complaing. I remember everything that happened, ever what they wore. He didn't wear jeans to the show I went to either, he wore red pants.

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That's a very entertaining review Bonzo=GoodStuff.....I enjoyed all the details and humor you put in it. :D Thanks for sharing.

You mentioned that Mandy attended this show also and I believe that SunChild did too. I've been looking for their reviews but can't find any posts. C'mon ladies, do you have a few words to share or can you direct me to the thread if you've already left comments? purty please?? :)

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I'm glad you all enjoyed it. I'd love to see reviews from other people who went, too. It's hard to write an un-entertaining review when you're reviewing something Robert Plant did. :P

Great review... and I'm glad to hear WTLB is back in the set! :D

Me, too! It was part of the encore and they took forever to come out, so I wasn't sure if they'd do one. They are music legends, they can do whatever the hell they want. Anyway, when I was thinking "Oh my gosh, they're not coming back out!" I felt so gypped that I didn't get to see WTLB. Then they came out and I stopped short of telling my cousin they were clearly bastards.

One other thing too that I never mentioned... there were some funny little quotes here and there. I can't remember all of them, but here are a few that are paraphrased because I was clearly too affected by the nearby marijuana to remember them word for word...

RP: "This whole project... if any one of us weren't involved... Well, if any of us weren't involved, this whole thing would be totally different. That goes without saying. I don't know why I said that..."

AK: "I love those big beer bottles blown up all over the place. (Those big inflatable five feet tall ones.) My son and I like to go around and punch them, not out of anger or anything. It's just something to do.

RP: "Being from, well, what these people call "overseas"... I don't really understand that. That's the rest of the world."

I'm very easily amused, so I laughed. So did the guys with the pot.

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Well, since you asked... :)

BTW, I enjoyed your review too, Bonzo! And what a shame we all couldn't have met up for a drink or just to dance in the aisles... darnnit!

Disclaimer... I posted most of this elsewhere, too.

Any summer’s day that you get to swim in Lake Tahoe is a good thing, even if the lake basin is filled with smoke from 1,400 fires. However, it’s an even better day if you then get to see the Raising Sand Travelling Revue outside on a mid-summer’s eve.

Great concert, very enjoyable. Not rock and roll, which is another way to say, not enough sex in it for me, more of a tent-revival feel. When the countrified fan girl a couple chairs over was moved to stand up and dance, I knew I was not in my element.

Still, a wonderful cross section of listeners came to Harvey’s casino. Old hippies (one of whom was the spitting image of Gandalf the White), young couples, a smattering of children with parents and grandparents, a dozen folks of all ages wearing Led Zeppelin T-shirts - one middle aged guy was wearing a faded HOTH shirt that had to be from the original tour - along with folks in cowboy hats and such. (Upon eyeing the audience, which tilted towards older people, I have taken a vow to stop dressing too young for my age. There seems to be an epidemic among baby boomers of continuing to dress as though they are still in their twenties, and it ain’t pretty.)

The venue was passable, basically folding chairs and portable bleachers set up outside in a parking lot behind the casino, with porta-potties for the bathroom facilities; my fantasy of views of the sun setting over the lake did not materialize. Nice stage setup - the lighting was good, with easily visible screens on either side (these started out showing Keno numbers… ah, casinos). Lots of concession stands of various kinds; about the first thing you saw walking to the venue was a giant blow up bottle of Corona, which prompted a lovely Krauss ad lib later. Lots of people drinking, and as soon as twilight deepened, the smell of burning pot. The security presence was large and very visible throughout, but they were a mellow bunch.

Sharon Little opened, and was… ok. I like Amy Winehouse’s voice and musical sense better, but Little’s persona definitely has it all over Winehouse. The crowd was polite and enthusiastic, but they were clearly not there to see her; conversations around me barely slowed during her set, and a fair number of seats remained empty. Sorry to say, for me the most memorable thing about her was the cool sexy black dress and elbow-length gloves she was wearing. Certainly a good voice, but the music didn’t stand out.

Finally, it was time. By then the crowd had filled out and most people were in their seats. The place was not quite but nearly filled with an enthusiastic crowd, and Robert got a standing ovation when he appeared.

I didn’t sit there taking notes, and didn’t keep track of the set list. So what follows is just my impressions of the highlights and not-so-highlights…

First things first – Alison is a study in doing the opposite of Sharon Little and other women who sell their music with skimpy clothes and swaying hips. She was covered head to toe in nice but modest clothing, although her hair was done in “just laid” fashion, quite rumpled in the back. But her appearance was a formality.

There is no way to capture the amazing qualities of Alison’s voice on a recording. At times throughout the night, which was warm and lovely, the hair on my arms stood up. My jaw hung open more than once. We were in the presence of greatness. Most remarkably, this all seemed to come effortlessly from her thin frame.

During “Trampled Rose,” one of my favorites from the album, that haunting wail she does evoked the same feeling I had once lying in a tent after midnight in the back country of the Sierra, listening to coyotes talk back and forth across the canyon, an otherworldly sound. Her singing brought that feeling times ten, because it was a human voice and the lyrics so evocative.

I have nothing to compare this performance with, so I don’t know if my impression is correct, but it seemed to me that she has learned to give her voice free rein, to let it go full bore at times, through working with Robert. She was rockin’ it when she wasn’t rollin it’…

Other highlights for me were “Battle of Evermore” and the A cappella “Down to the River to Pray.” I yearned to hear this woman sing “Amazing Grace.” I even yearned to hear her sing “Stairway to Heaven,” perhaps because sometimes her style and voice are reminiscent of Dolly Parton.

Others have commented on her stage presence, or lack of it… I liked her quietness a lot. I liked that she stood there sometimes with her right hand in her pants pocket, oh so casual while reaching those amazing notes. She didn’t speak much, but at one point talked about the giant blow up beer bottle, saying how it reminded her of those Santas people put on their lawns at Christmas time, that she and her friends would go up to and punch, “not for any negative reasons, just for something to do…” She got a good laugh from the crowd with that, quite as endearing as a Plantation.

I became an instant fan of hers, and will be sure to see her in concert again.

The backing band was great. A very high level of musicianship and performance, with each member making it seem deceptively simple to be that tight. I loved the drummer. Of course all drummers have to pass my Bonzo comparison, and Jay Bellerose came in pretty high in the rankings. Not a huge kit, but obviously a huge heart. I enjoyed him very much.

Loved Stuart Duncan, the multi-instrumentalist who literally played second fiddle. Very talented man, his violin playing was awesome at times, especially on “Black Dog.”

T-Bone has a deep south vibe to his music that I also enjoyed, but when they played certain Zep tunes, especially “Levee,” he simply made me miss Jimmy’s playing. Yet another reason for Plant to stop cannibalizing his past.

Having said that, I really enjoyed the medley of “In the Mood” with “Matty Groves.” That worked for me, as did BOE, which of course would, what with Alison’s voice, and the mandolin. It did strike me during BOE that they were getting perilously close to being a jug band in arrangement and sensibility; and that really got on my nerves during “Black Dog,” a song that just does not cry out for a fucking banjo part. If Zeppelin on Quaaludes is the direction Plant really wants to go in, he’ll be going there without me. I could see that it worked for a lot of people, there’s a certain magic in the way these musicians all work together… but it’s the kind of magic that doesn't quite speak to my soul.

Speaking of, I had to laugh when my husband remarked during “Down to the River to Pray,” “what is this, church?”

One thing that struck me over all was the mixture of light and shade, power and restraint, the band used. One of the best shows I’ve seen it years, but it also managed to make me think how much Plant owes to his time in Zeppelin… everything seems to go back to that. So, why mess with a lesser version – the real thing is to be had…

Another low-light was when they launched into “Killing the Blues.” For me it was a study in why people shouldn’t sell their music for commercials. Sadly, they’ve taken what I held as a lovely song and turned it into a JC Penney’s ad; I couldn’t help but wonder if they are paid to include it.

I also finally understand how Zep fans get a bad reputation. Throughout the show, there was a young man behind me who kept howling like he was at Metallica concert. With every Zep tune, he went nuts, to the point that I turned around to tell him to shut up already. And when they left the stage before the encores, he bellowed for “Stairway! Kashmir! Whoo Hoo!!” and on and on until I also turned around to tell him he was at the wrong concert, for christ’s sake.

As for Plant, I have to hand it to the man. Even at 6,000 feet elevation on an evening literally filled with smoke (and not the stage kind), his breath control was superior, he had no problem holding his own with a vastly talented woman two decades younger than him, and he reached down for some wailing moments that were great. He proved again that he has an uncanny ability to fit his voice to a huge range of music: there he was, blending smoothly in the back up trio on “Down to the River”, then I remembered him dueting with Jimmy’s Gibson. Truly a one of a kind artist. If he moves forward to different things such as his performance of “Nothing” on Saturday, then I will be there with him.

(I’m afraid I’d advise him against singing “One Woman Man” too often, though. He can’t really pull off that persona. ;) )

OK, your turn Manders!

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k this is good as place as any to admit it. I did not comment on allison at all because I'm green, green, green.

Shes beautiful, has that haunting kinda voice that I love, and she plays the "fiddle." And shes singin with robert plant.

there I got that out!

I was drawn to this thread though because he is great guy huh and I thought that even more when I went to get tickets to Dolly and the journey/heart/cheaptrick shows at the same venue and they were twice the price.

he could've charged more and got it, I'm sure the zep tix(positive thinkin) will be more, but he didn't. It really is about the music and sharin it. Yeahhhh

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