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28 August 2013 10,415 views One Comment

Houston 8

Robert Plant Presents The Sensational Space Shifters roll back to the UK this week for three long awaited appearances.  Tomorrow night they are in Bristol at the Colston Hall, on Saturday it’s to Stradbally Co Laois in Ireland for the Electric Picnic festival. Finally it’s back on familiar territory for a date on Monday at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

These are the first dates in the UK since last July’s Womad appearance and before that, the Gloucester SSS debut and HMV Forum show. It’s been too long…

Since those tentative first steps, the Sensational Space Shifters have moulded into a solid unit, merging music from territories far and wide, and influences both old and new. The end result, as seen on the South American Australian and US tours, is a hybrid of styles that thrill and inspire in equal measures.

At the centre of it all is of course Robert Plant…

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When I first saw him sing live at the Empire Pool Wembley back in 1971, Robert Plant was 23 years old…I was 15 .  Some 108 live performance sightings over the past 40 years later – he is now 65 and I’m 57 next week.

That seems like a lifetime….but a second.

It’s therefore been a long running appreciation of his unique vocal talent and front man charisma, and tomorrow night (and again on Monday in Wolverhampton),  I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity  to rekindle that appreciation – as are countless  other fans who share the same passion.

As I said last week on the occasion of his birthday, as much as we look back at his vast heritage, it’s still all about the next gig, the next musical high, the next  Robert Plant performance sung into the Shure microphone that can leave you breathless in admiration.

And it’s like he once said – ‘’The past should be a stepping stone –not a millstone’’

Within the Sensational Space Shifters line up, Robert Plant has once again proved that statement to be entirely appropriate….

I’m more than just a little bit excited about the prospect ahead……..and if you are lucky enough to be attending any of the three gigs, I bet you are too…

  Dave Lewis, August 28th,  2013


Above pics by Stridersean , Melanie McCoy and Scott Cameron


 Quick Ones:

Electric Picnic 2013 –  Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland Saturday August 31st:

If you are attending the above show in Ireland, we very much welcome your feedback/reports pics/you tube clips etc – send to the usual email or post on the TBL facebook page.

Robert Plant  Presents Sensational Space Shifters Bristol TBL Pre Gig Meet:

For those attending the Robert Plant show at Bristol’s Colston Hall the location for the TBL pre gig meet will be The Hatchet pub

This is situated very near the venue at 27 Frogmore St  Bristol, Avon BS1 5NA

Robert Plant  Presents Sensational Space Shifters Wolverhampton TBL Pre Gig Meet:

For those attending the Robert Plant show at Wolverhampton Civic Hall the location for the TBL pre gig meet will be at Yates Bar which is on the corner of North Street and Queen Square near the venue.

We look forward to seeing all that can make it along.


DL Diary Update:

After the Brighton break, the attention has quickly swung back to TBL projects –principally the Knebworth book – I am also wading on with the Paul McCartney feature which needs to be wrapped soon.

There was some welcome respite last Saturday when we ventured out to see the excellent Hats Off To Led Zeppelin at the equally excellent Stables venue in MK. It was a welcome opportunity to catch up with the MK TBL crew – ie Michaela, Dan, Charlie, Linda, Cliff, Tracey and Mark Harrison who was on great form. Also great to catch up with Warren Grant and Karen Carr.

Warren  gave a superb introduction to Hats Off To Led Zeppelin at the Stables gig – he mentioned being at the side of the stage watching Zep with his Dad…very poignant…See pic below

warren stables

I also had a good look at the latest additions to Ticket man Cliff Hilliard’s quite phenomenal collection of handbills, tour books, ticket stubs etc from every stage of the careers of Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham.

This includes over 250 Zep ticket stubs plus a whole load of respective solo career tickets and some incredible rare early handbills for Listen, Tennessee Teens, Way Of Life etc. It really is like holding history in your hands…utterly amazing.

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Above – with Cliff and some Zep history in the hands….

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Above – some examples of the amazing Cliff Hilliard Zep ticket collection

On the player, unsurprisingly plenty of Robert Plant – notably Pictures At Eleven and Fate of Nations and the live Dallas set from 1983 –incredibly it’s 30 years ago this month since he first ventured out on a proper solo tour.

Tomorrow all roads (and trainlines!) lead to Bristol and the TBL crew of Me, Tom and Phil will be meeting up with Gary Foy to book into a hotel for a stay over. I’ll endeavor to have the TBL site coverage of the gig up by Saturday am – look out for more immediate feedback on the TBL facebook page.

It’s going to be well full on the next few days as I am back Friday afternoon to begin celebrating the good lady Janet’s birthday which is the next day. We will be out and about for Janet’s birthday on Saturday and on Sunday there is the little matter of the Arsenal v Spurs match which I intend to catch at the Fox. Then on Monday, all roads lead to Wolverhampton for the Robert SSS gig and on Thursday it’s my turn for the birthday capers.

By then I will have already had the pre Birthday bonus of two occasions of being in front of that Shure microphone – always a wonderful place to be….so bring it on home….


More of your Robert Plant Top Tens…

 Mick Bulow

1 Kashmir O2 no finer delivery and a joy to experience every time
2 Stairway to Heaven Knebworth the emotion forever coming through
3 Song to the Siren RAH Teenage Cancer Trust Brilliant delivery
4 In The Light Physical Graffiti
5 Ten Years Gone Physical Graffiti
6 Whole Lotta Love Zepp 2
7 Calling To You Fate of Nations
8 Friends Zepp 3
9 Shine It All Around Mighty Rearranger
10 Nobody’s Fault But Mine Unledded


Mick Judd

1.       Song to the Siren

2.       That’s the way

3.       Since I’ve Been Loving You

4.       Tangerine

5.       Like I’ve never been gone

6.       Stairway to Heaven

7.       Most High

8.       The Rover

9.       Monkey

10.   Colours of a Shade



Andre Cruz

1)      Since I`ve Been Loving You (Led Zeppelin 3)

2)      I Can`t Quit You Babe (1969 Playhouse Theatre, official released at BBC Sessions in 1997 – but I heard it 15 years before as a bootleg)

3)      Babe I`m Gonna Leave You (Fate of Nations Tour, Rio de Janeiro, January 22th, 1994 – love this song and this music was the first that I saw played alive by a zeppelin member. In fact, the first one played by a zeppelin member in south america)

4)      In My Time Of Dying (Earls Court, no matter the night, London, May 1975. I remember when I was a 13 years old boy and a friend of mine came with the notice that he got a boot with this song played alive.

5)      Kashmir (the best song played in that magical night at O2 Arena in December 2007.

6)      Stairway To Heaven (I`m not able to choose a best version. 1973 & 1975 tours versions were incredible.

7)      In The Light (1975 original version)

8)      Slow Dancer (the “zeppest” tune of his outstanding first solo album)

9)      Big Log  (original 1983 version)

10)   Angel Dance (Nimes, France, July 2011 – first time I saw him alive in 15 years. A 62 years old singer still pleasing his fans)


Andrew Tipple 

In no particular order….

1. Rain Song (Earls Court 24th May)

2, Since I’ve Been Loving You (1st April 1971)

3. Whole Lotta Love (4th August 1979)

4. I Can’t Quit You Baby (9th January 1970)

5. Hey Hey What Can I Do

6. I Believe

7. Kashmir

8. 29 Palms

9. I’m Gonna Crawl

10. All my Love (Outtake Version)

Picking just 10 is so hard…these will do for today!!!


F. Cafiero

1 Since I’ve Been Lovin You

2 Going to California

3 Ten Years Gone

4 Kashmir O2

5 Darkness, Darkness

6 Far Post

7 Moonlight in Samosa

8 i Believe

9 Most High

10 Babe I’m Gonna Leave You


Nils Westerholt

Boogie With Stu – First time I really noticed that incredible voice – and immediately fell in love with it!
That’s the Way – Respect! But that was when Robert really learned to sing.
Nobody’s Fault But Mine – Probably the Knebworth version; pure force and power!
What is and what should never be – Brilliant.
Blue Train – So sensible, so fragile and yet so powerful!
Young Boy Blues – A cover, but who cares when he sings it that way?
Black Country Woman – As sung in Düsseldorf 2008; the way he combined the soft and loose way of singing with the power and hammer of the Gods! Nearly taking the breath away from drummer Jay Bellerose when thundering the line “You didn’t have to…”
Come Into My Life – so beautiful as done on Fate of Nations.
Season of the Witch – From the PoB period or – the debut in Denmark with SS – Man he was so powerful that night in Copenhagen, 2001!
Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down – Beautiful performance, but so were a lot of the songs from the Band of Joy album!

Richard Grubb

Looking forward to Thursday’s gig – see you in the pub…you can’t miss me, I’ll be the one wearing a TBL Tshirt

A bit late with a Top Ten for Robert’s celebrations, but for what it’s worth, here is today’s selection (tomorrow’s may be completely different!)

In no particular order:

1. Harm’s Swift Way – apart from Johnny Cash, I can’t think of anyone other than Robert who can interpret other people’s songs and give them the same level of truth (see also No Regrets by the Priory of Brion, or Song To The Siren).

2. Tin Pan Valley – “Like this!!!” Floored me at first outing at Warwick Uni, it was a statement that said, “I’m back!”

3. Immigrant Song – BBC Sessions version…what an opener!

4. In My Time of Dying – the whole band firing on all six cylinders, Zeppelin at their best (IMHO)

5. The Rain Song – so delicate and fragile until you know when…HOTH’s finest moment?

6. Big Log – Into the 80s and beyond…after the transitional Pictures at Eleven gently stepped away from the 70s, Big Log was the standout cut that confirmed he wouldn’t be defined by the past.

7. Anniversary / Liar’s Dance – I can’t separate these two and treat them as two very different halves of the same song. The ultra modern production and tension of Anniversary relieved by the simplicity of the Doug Boyle’s acoustic is such a contrast, but it works so well.

8. Black Dog – has to be on this list, the lust, sleaze and swagger that a thousand 80s hair rock bands tried (and failed) to capture – the essence of Zep! This just pipped Whole Lotta Love to make my list; and that’s a tough choice!

9. Greatest Gift – After the cutting edge of Manic Nirvana, Fate of Nations marks a move back to a more organic sound, Greatest Gift is my pick from my favourite RP solo effort.

10. Kashmir – oh come on…do I really need to explain???!!!! “Trying to find…where I’ve beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen”. My desert island disc. Never, ever get tired of hearing this. The moment, above all others, when all the stars aligned and a mystical fifth element was conjured…almost other worldly and impossible to recreate in another place or time. A musical journey and no mistake.


Roll on Thursday!


And finally…

Robert Plant You Tube clips to put you in the mood…via Front Row Dave

Tin Pan Valley

In The Mood

Going To California

Whole Lotta Love


Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary FoyAugust 28th, 2013.

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One Comment »

  • Rich said:

    Have just seen an excellent clip of Robert doing Babe I’m Gonna Leave You last night in Bristol on YouTube. Would have loved to have been there, and it really did sound like a candidate for all our top 10 vocal performances!!

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