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Robert Plant and The Band Of Joy – The Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, TN

13 July 2010 797 views 11 Comments

Set List:

Down To The Sea, Angel Dance, Please Read The Letter, House Of Cards, Misty Mountain Hop, Monkey, Oh What A Beautiful City/Wader In The Water/In My Time OF Dying Medley, Rich Woman. Gone Gone Gone, All The Kings Horses, Nobodys Fault But Mine, Satan Your Kingdom Must Go, Central Two O Nine, Houses Of The Holy, Tall Cool One, Harms Swift Way, Gallows Pole.

Encores: Thank You, Rock And Roll,  We Bid you Goodnight.

First reports filtering across the Atlantic from Roberts Memphis gig last night shows a varying set list covering all corners of the singer career. Kicking off with Down To The Sea from Fate Of Nations before the first single from the forthcoming Band Of Joy album Angel Dance. Next is the Page/Plant number Please Read The Letter returning back to the original rather than the Robert/ Alison version. House Of Cards follows before dipping into Led Zepp 4 for a slower tempo version of Misty Mountain Hop. Lows Monkey follows before a three song medley of Oh What A Beautiful City/Wader In The Water/In My Time OF Dying Medley in a traditional gospel setting.  Two songs from his successful Raising Sands album follow, Rich Woman and Gone Gone Gone. All The Kings Horses from Mighty Rearranger follow before Patty leads use through a version of Nobody’s Fault But Mine. Next up is Satan Your Kingdom Must Go and Central Two O Nine from the Band Of Joy album, the latter featuring Robert on wash-board (?). Houses Of The Holy is premiered in Memphis tonight and gets the crowd up on it feet before a rocking Tall Cool One. After Robert introduces the band it’s into Townes Van Zandt song “Harm’s Swift Way.” Before a rollicking version of Gallows Pole. The band return to the stage for an encore of Thank You before a swing intro to a song, what it is isn’t obvious until the first line: “Been a long time since I rock ‘n’ rolled.” Rock And Roll closes the first night of the first tour by Robert Plant and The Band Of Joy.

Very special thanks to Steve Sauer at for his on the spot facebook reports.

Concert Review: Plant Memphis concert was joyful launch for tour and crowd

By Bob Mehr

It was, as Robert Plant noted, a night of firsts.

Plant’s Tuesday concert at downtown’s Orpheum marked the first show for the revived version of his Band of Joy in 43 years, the first night of his current tour, and his first performance in Memphis since being officially honored by the city.

Photo by Nikki Boertman

Robert Plant (right) performs for a sold-out crowd at the Orpheum theatre Tuesday evening.

Plant and his five-piece outfit took the stage for a nearly two-hour set that cut a wide swath across his career, from his Led Zeppelin glories to his recent Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, as well as offering a preview of a new Band of Joy album due later this year.

Choosing a roots music Mecca like Memphis as the site to re-launch the Band of Joy was no accident. For Plant — an avowed student and explorer of Southern musical traditions — the project brings together the deep blues, gospel, country and rockabilly closest to his heart.

Set against a giant circus-themed backdrop, the capacity crowd roared as Plant opened with a understated version of “Down to the Sea” from his early ’90s solo album Fate of Nations, before quickly moving into “Angel Dance,” the first single from his forthcoming record.

It was immediately apparent that Plant’s decision to stock his new Band of Joy with gifted Nashville multi-threats — including lead guitarist Buddy Miller, instrumental wiz Darrell Scott and singer Patty Griffin — was an inspired one as the group’s contributions were rich and nuanced throughout the evening.

Plant, who was honored on Monday with a star in front of the Orpheum’s sidewalk and with the City of Memphis declaring it “Robert Plant Day”, was chatty and playful. “I don’t know how many second homes you can have,” he noted between songs, “but this is my first second home.”

After a halting reading of “House of Cards,” Plant noted: “That was a song from the catalog of Richard Thompson. This is from another catalog,”

With that the band was into a slower, groovy version of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop.” It was restrained but enjoyable performance with Plant sidling up to Griffin to belt out the song together.

It was the first of several Zep songs that would get an airing during course of the evening. Most were heavily rearranged and colored by the guitar work of Miller, who was more than up to the task of re-imagining such deeply ingrained classic rock standards, though his playing clearly owed more to Jimmy Bryant than Jimmy Page.

Later, each of the band members took turns on a brilliant gospel medley of “Oh What A Beautiful City/Wade In The Water/In My Time of Dying” that stood as the show’s centerpiece.

Griffin took the spotlight for an impassioned, stomping reading of “Nobody’s Fault but Mine,” before the band segued into “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down” which was delivered with an appropriate menace. A spirited romp of “Central Two 0 Nine” found Plant going native, strapping on a washboard and getting down to business.

Throughout the night, Plant’s pacing was perfect, as he moved the band seamlessly from familiar fare to new material, moody songs to spirited numbers.

A one-two punch of his solo hit “Tall Cool One” and the Zep favorite “Houses of the Holy” had the audience at fever pitch, and he continued to hold them rapt with cover of Townes Van Zandt “Harm’s Swift Way” and a powerful closing “Gallows Pole.”

“See you in another 43 years,” joked Plant after the band had taken its bows.

But it was merely a matter of moments before he was back on stage for an encore that included “Thank You” and a rousing, Sun Records-style redux of Zep’s “Rock and Roll” that ended the night on a fitting Memphis note.

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  • Steve Way said:

    if i was given that set list prior to the london show-i would be ecstatic, with such a vast catalogue, there are always going to be great songs/favourite songs left out….but what a great cross section of his music.
    re the zeppelin stuff, those songs are many many years old-and they can be heard across numerous dvd’s/cd’s…..i find it all rather refreshing to hear a new slant on those classics…
    what goes around comes around…..listen to earlier versions of songs such as nobodys fault, and other such borrowed songs…it was refreshing then to hear zeppelins take on those blues standards, why not breathe new life into zepp songs???
    london-cant wait

  • StarShip said:

    Thank you for your review.
    I made a web page for this concert here.

  • Larry Ables said:

    Looking forward to the Houaton show July 24th. Review sounds great, but I agree with others here. I would like to hear more of the solo work,(Now and Zen and Nirvana), but I understand that great artists must evolve or get stale. As far as Zeppelin goes, Robert needs to realize that Zep has MILLIONS of fans and we don’t want to hear “new” reditions of old songs. It is impossible to improve on “Nobodys Fault.” Don’t try. If you don’t want to play originals, don’t play them at all, and do more material from your solo work. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the concert regardless, as I’m a huge fan. Bring on the show!

  • Shayne said:

    I’ve seen Plant 7 times starting in the 80’s. I didn’t like the Krauss album. I’m eager to hear the new Band of Joy. I loved the first 2 solo albums but liked each successive album less and less. What he does now doesn’t appeal to me. I respect him for wanting to evolve musically, he always has. I think playing Zeppelin songs in anything other than their original form is rediculous. It is impossible to improve those masterpieces and I feel he ruins them when he plays them in all these different musical styles. Why not evolve by creating new music with Zeppelin (Jason on drums of course)? I still
    love Robert Plant as a singer. His strength is heavy rock/rythm & blues. I wish he would get back to that.The last hope of Zeppelin returning is gone. Although they proved they could still do it on Dec 10, 2007. I feel Plant fears a major Zep tour and that is partially why he doesn’t do it. It doesn’t have to be a major tour. It could be one here and one there to preserve his voice. To me, that would be the best thing that could happen with him. No tour, just one-off shows around the world.

  • Ian Hunter said:

    Ledhed58 called it right about his first 2 albums. ‘Like ive never been gone’ from Pictures at Eleven is the epic that surpasses everything ive seen or heard from Zeppelin at Newcastle City Hall, Earls Court, Knebbers, O2 and countless dozens of Shaken & Stirred, Fate of Nations, Now & Zen, POB & Strange Sensations etc etc etc gigs UK wide, He played it on the 83 tour @Newcastle city hall but havent heard it at any of the dozens of his gigs ive seen since. Here’s hoping for 2nd Sep HMV Forum?

  • Gerry M. said:

    Think I’ve just briefly lost control of most of my major body functions…roll on 2nd September…

  • Ledhed58 said:

    I will see him in Houston on the 24th, even though I am pleased with his set list I am somewhat disappointed he is not doing anything off his first two solo albums, some his best solo work is on those first two albums…Peace…

  • russell ritchin said:

    WOW thanks steve for review very intresting set list i am even more
    now looking forward to hearing new album and seeing robert when he hits the uk.

  • John Webster said:

    Wow sounds good. Lots of variety. Looking forward to the HMV Forum show now on 2 September. Wasn’t when I bought tix after much hassle but now sounds interesting.

  • Bill S said:

    Thanks for the summary and the set list Steve. I am the guy you met at the t-shirt booth. What a great show! I have seen Plant now 7 times. My first was on 4/10/77 at the Chicago Stadium with Zep (this was the last show they ever played in the Windy City). As Klaus said he is agless. I will never get tired of listening to his music and seeing him live. As I said in my review on Ticketmaster: His music has made my life better!

  • Klaus Stocker said:

    Thanks for the 1st hand news – wish I´d been there, the set list was full of suprises and leaves me breathless until I hear the first recordings. Plant keeps up the spirit, his restless search for new territories makes him ageless. He´s still “The Only One”! Can’t await the new album!KLAUS

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