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Robert Plant and The Band Of Joy – Peterson Events Centre Pittsburgh

19 January 2011 4,723 views 2 Comments

Photo by Heidi Murrin Tribune Review

First 2011 on the spot review from the Band Of Joy US Tour for TBL  from Annette Calgaro

Set List – Not in Order
Gallows Pole – Central 209- Angel Dance – Tangerine – House of Cards -Please Read the Letter – Houses of the Holy -Harm’s Swift Way-Satisfied Mind – Move Up – Twelve Gates – Ramble On – Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down – Can’t Buy My Love – Tall Cool One
Encores – Monkey, Rock And Roll

The show was staged at the Peterson Events Centre – a cavernous multi-purpose (including basketball) facility.  Frankly, the building has poor acoustics even for a basketball facility.  The Centre is wedged between the University of Pittsburgh campus and a major medical centre and is renowned for poor parking, which certainly impacted the crowd size – perhaps 3,500.  Had this show been at one of the local theatre venues with its intimacy and acoustics, it would have been the show of the year.  Plant himself commented on this when he asked if we could feel anything in a place like this.  Yes, we could – the echo off of the upper deck and roof.

The show opened with an extremely tight version of Gallows Pole.

Note to fashionistas:  Plant in a black jersey, jeans, and the shiniest black boots ever.  (He really has big feet).  Griffith in a tight black and grey knit dress and knee-high boots.

Angel Dance was particularly strong and Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down was a showstopper.  The lack of percussion was a benefit (it echoed the worst) and he was in extremely strong voice.  Actually shockingly strong voice.  Most importantly he didn’t over-sing it – the restraint and control added to the mood.  Plant played the washboard on Central 209 and harmonica during Buddy’s song.

Best of the Zep songs may have been Tangerine.  Houses of the Holy was rather plodding.   I suppose doing Hot Dog or Bron -Yr -Stomp would be too easy.

I can’t understand why he selects Tall Cool One from his vast catalogue of solo material.   Really, the set list could be tweaked a bit although that doesn’t seem to be in his nature.

As usual, amusing banter with the crowd.  He pointed to the Band of Joy banner and said that the project was rather discreet – the most discreet he’s been in his life.  Several female fans shrieked and he coyly asked: ”Do I know anyone out there?”

Encores:  Incredibly tight and controlled vocals on Monkey were marred by overly loud guitar.  Turn it down Buddy.  A great, rollicking version of Rock And Roll closed the show.  That song is amazingly versatile – a crowd pleasing whether by Zep, Page and Jerry Lee Lewis, or the Band of Joy.

Here’s a couple of press reports from the Asheville and Pittsburgh dates:

It’s been a long time since he did the stroll…

By Alli Marshall from Mountain

“It’s nice to see so many people who are still able to stand up,” joked Robert Plant. Indeed, the crowd consisted of many of his peers (Plant is 62), but also their kids and probably grandkids as well.

Plant received a standing ovation just for walking onto the stage at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (and, really, for pretty much everything else he did during the show). While preliminary applause might be overly-optimistic for many artists, the legendary Led Zeppelin front man truly warranted it.

Plant was in Asheville two-and-a-half years ago, touring with Alison Krauss in support of their joint album, Raising Sand. That show took place in the Civic Center; last night’s performance — in support of Plant’s new project, Band of Joy — took place in the more intimate (and better sounding) Thomas Wolfe.

Band Of Joy is both the name of the album and Plant’s touring group. The name comes from a 1960s English rock band that produced two Zeppelin musicians — Plant and late drummer John Bonham. The 2011 iteration is a super group with Nashville rebel Buddy Miller on guitar, Americana multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott, Patty Griffin adding lead and backing vocals, bassist Byron House and Marco Giovin on percussion.

The band opened with “Down to the Sea” from Plant’s 1993 solo album Fate of Nations. Scott played a pretty, Eastern-tinged acoustic guitar solo followed by Miller on a searing electric guitar solo studded with wah pedal. But the second song, Plant was swinging his mic stand and he belted out “Little Angel Dance,” a Los Lobos cover from Joy. Though Plant didn’t push his voice into anything near Zeppelin territory (and who could blame him?) until the end of the show, his vocal was strong (including the trademark “Ooh yeah!”) and Griffin (whose range is similar to Plant’s tenor) often doubled the lyrics for richness.

“Welcome to another chaotic kaleidoscope of color with the eternal band of joy,” Plant greeted the audience at one point. (It was one of the few full sentences he managed to get out — most times that he tried to speak, shouts of “We love you!” and “Asheville” from the crowd seemed to overwhelm him and he just abandoned his thought and launched into the next song.) There was a certain sense of mysticism to the evening, from the blending of/battle between acoustic and electric instrumentation to the many gospel tunes covered over the course of the evening.

Griffin’s voice proved especially pitch-perfect for traditional spirituals, from a medley including “Oh! What a Beautiful City” and “Wade in the Water.” House played stand-up bass, the entire band balanced perfectly between tight musicianship and a relaxed, sinuous style. That, and Miller’s guitar made gospel downright dirty. In a good way.

Underscoring his band’s star prowess, Plant willingly took a backseat while Miller, Scott and Griffin each took the lead on a song. Plant accompanied on background vocals and blistering harmonica.

Highlights from the evening were Plant’s reworked Zeppelin songs — “Tangerine,” “Houses of the Holy” (with Scott on pedal steel, lending a California Country feel), “Ramblin On” (with Scott on octave mandolin) and “Rock and Roll” (in which the audience sang the “Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time” part of the chorus).

“Gallows Pole,” the last song before the encore, was an especially searing number. It started with Scott on banjo and a six-part vocal harmony, building slowly with stand up bass and booming drums. The coiled energy of the song reached its apex with Miller’s distorted guitar and thick, tranc-y, spooky rhythms.

Encores included a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Harm’s Swift Way” and a gorgeous, a cappella rendition of “I Bid You Goodnight” — a popular closer of The Grateful Dead.

From start to finish it was a spectacular show, with Plant in fine form and aging gracefully. His new material is fresh and interesting, his classics are tastefully recreated and as relevant as ever, and his voice — if not the astonishing instrument of 40 years ago — has certainly stood the test of time.

Plant rocks Petersen with variety of sounds


Robert Plant’s immersion into the roots of American music bore the most wondrous fruit during his show with Band of Joy on Wednesday night at the Petersen Events Center.

From the opening notes of “Gallows Pole,” a traditional song covered by that other group he was in — Led Zeppelin, for the musically challenged — one sensed this was going to be an extraordinary night.

At times bone-chilling, at times wondrous, the 62-year-old singer and his superlative backing band put on a show that ranks with the best in the area over the past year. And that’s acknowledging that the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and John Mellencamp have graced stages here.

Songs such as “House of Cards” and “Angel Dance” (covers of songs by Richard Thompson and Los Lobos, respectively) were filtered through the prisms of gospel, blues, country, bluegrass and other intrinsically American genres. Each band member, notably guitarists Buddy Miller and Darrell Scott (who also contributed keening pedal steel throughout the evening), added a shimmering, luminous quality to the songs, which invariably ended in joyous codas of noise. Plant’s vocals were pitch-perfect, and he wisely utilized the dazzling vocalist Patty Griffin to underline his soaring tenor.

Plant is a generous band leader. When Miller (“Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go”) or Scott (“The Satisfied Mind”) or Griffin (“Move Up”)  took center stage, Plant moved to the rear and sang backup vocals or played harmonica.

But as rich and variegated as the songs were — especially the gospel-flavored “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” and “Twelve Gates to the City,” — there was  a good portion of the audience waiting for the Plant to get the Led out.

He didn’t disappoint. “Tangerine” stayed more or less true to Zeppelin’s version, but “Houses of the Holy” was re-cast as an East-meets-West extravaganza (Plant commented that it had a “Bulgarian” aspect to it) and “Rock and Roll” would not have been out of place at the Grand Ole Opry

From the www.pittsburghlive

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • T.Cloonan said:

    Plant and the band of joy musicians were phenonmenal. Start was at 2109 and ended at approximately 2300hrs. “Can you feel it” was a question posed to the audience of mostly 70’s era adults. People that grew up listening to Led Zeppelin……….in the US and the tristate area that saw doves released from Three Rivers Stadium. Seeing Plant in his front man role twirling the microphone stand was reflective. Miller on lead was complimentary. Drummer was mild but synchronized. Back up vocals was solid and select musician’s getting a lead song and singing it was a unique twist, all the while Plant-man was on back-up vocals and harmonica. Allison Kraus not present so the duo song was just not the same. Stage lighting was like a UK bar room…..subtle but visible. Led Zep song Ramble On was outstanding, but missed the Page and Jones focus. Bonham Sr. was watching from the eyes of the Mardi Gras character. Roger, and out. TKC

  • Ingy said:

    Thanks for the reviews….hope he comes back to Scotland.

    Is he going to play the Brits? Does he have any chance?

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