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Robert Plant at Rockwell O2 Event

17 September 2009 6,836 views 3 Comments

On the spot report from Gary Foy

It has been one year and nine months since Robert Plant last appeared at London’s O2 Arena and boy how things can change over such a short period of time. Back then it was full on pomp and flair with his old cohorts from Led Zeppelin and an amazing night it was too –  tonight was also pretty amazing, but in a very different kind of way.

The Rockwell concert was staged to raise monies and awareness for the Nordoff Robbins music therapy charity, a charity dedicated to providing therapy sessions to help improve the quality of life for children and adults with conditions such as learning disabilities, autism, mental health problems, neurological damage or serious and terminal illness. A good cause without a doubt and the artists here tonight all had good intentions at heart. The format of tonight’s entertainment was one of collaboration between the artists and the evening kicked off with a rousing, if predicable two song set from Lulu finishing with Shout before ushering on Danny Gillespie for a stab at The Man Who Sold The World. Danny stayed on for a duet with Beverley Knight. So the night was set with performers coming and going running through hits and bits. Only the Hograts (Gaz and Danny from Supergrass), really cut it with a set of covers that finished with a storming version of Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up with the front man from Razorlight, whose own set left me wondering what all the fuss was about.

The “headliners” tonight were deemed to be Joss Stone and Tom Jones and their duet prior to Tom’s Sex Bomb and It’s Not Unusual resembled a competition to see who could scream the loudest (Tom won, just!)

Robert’s set was just prior to Tom ’n’ Josh and was remarkable for how it was so under played. It would have been easy for him to strut out with the house band and knock out a couple of Zep numbers to keep the average music fan happy, but that’s not what Robert Plant is about – instead he assembled a band consisting of Justin Adams and Juldeh Cameron, Billy Fuller on bass, an unknown drummer and two bendir players.

With a tongue in cheek “I’ve been here beforeand “It’s a little experimental. Maybe, you might find something to get stuck into. Let’s see what happens. It’s, at least, out on the edge.” from Robert, the assembled musicians stripped away the very fabric of Black Dog and enchanted us with desert rhythms straight from Mali. This wasn’t Led Zeppelin, this was Robert taking us on his travels. Fixin’ To Die followed, continuing the desert feel, with Juldeh Cameron coming to the fore. Robert introduced the final number as a  “A little chestnut – speaking about variety shows, this takes us back to Tony Blackburn, Pick Of The Pops and Top Of The Pops, where all the good songs end up”.

Whole Lotta Love wasn’t probably how the majority present expected it. A mixture of Clarksdale blues, Mali rhythms and West Country humour. A final parting comment from Robert –  “One more rehearsal and we’ve nailed it”, and that was it.

Off he went and it was back to the variety show of Tom Jones and Joss Stone before the entire cast returned for the finale of “Let It Be” minus Plant who failed to join the party.

Robert continues to surprise and delight with this latest turn in direction.  Tonight was loose and relaxed and ‘’One more rehearsal” might well have ruined it.

Gary Foy

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  • crag keeper said:

    Sorry… but a tad pathetic, no? Nothing to offer but derranged versions of Blackdog and WLL for what seems like the millionth time. Meanwhile Jason Bonham plays an excellent cover of LikeI’ve Never Been Gone. More evidence that the cosmos is a tad screwed up.

  • Gaspar Garção said:

    A natural excelent choice of musics (and musicians) from one of the greatest singers of all times….

    Just one correction: along with Justin Adams, the guy that played with Robert is called Camara, not Cameron, and everyone should look up the brilliant two albums they have togheter (Justin and Camara, that is…)!!!!

  • Wizz said:

    What did Beverley Knight sing?

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