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18 March 2013 1,802 views 4 Comments


As Robert prepares for his first appearances down under since 1996 – here’s a round up of pre – tour media coverage, interviews and quotes: 

Robert Plant has an unquenchable thirst for music that moves him.

From his golden-haired, rock-god days as frontman for Led Zeppelin to his latest British urban, West African-inspired incarnation, The Sensational Shape Shifters.

“Try combining West African rhythms with Led Zeppelin-fired blues,” he explains ahead of his two April shows in New Zealand.

It will be Plant’s third visit to New Zealand. Speaking from his home in Machynlleth, Wales, he reveals his life as a musical nomad.

“I feel a bit like a bird in springtime, you know, I jump around a lot. I enjoy the fruits of one thing, then I move on to another one.

“I have gone from working with Patti Griffin and The Band of Joy, which was a beautiful and incredibly melodic driven-band, to this other world of the Shape Shifters, which is an entirely appropriate thing to do.”

“It’s a great place to be, to have so many different friends who love music, and play in so many different ways.”

With little memory of the 1972 Led Zeppelin concert at Auckland’s Western Springs, he is clearly surprised his last visit here was in 1984 promoting his album The Principle of Moments and its hit single, The Big Log.

“Jesus, that’s like nearly 30 years ago, it’s amazing how you can find your way around the planet after that length of time.” However, Plant has found his way – musically and geographically.

He has travelled from North Africa to the back streets of Paris.

“From playing in Marrakesh with Jimmy Page (No Quarter, 1994) to experiencing performing in the back streets of Paris with the band Tinariwen, and now playing with Juldah Camara from Gambia in Shape Shifters, they are all incredible experiences.”

It was long-time Plant collaborator and Strange Sensation guitarist Justin Adams who introduced Camara to Plant.

“Justin introduced me to Juldah Camara not long after I said goodbye to my previous group, Band of Joy.

“He was playing this far-out stuff on a one-string fiddle. I put my voice to it, glued it on and it was magic, so then I brought in Johnny Baggot from Massive Attack to bring some loops in, Liam “Skin” Tyson is from Cast, Billy Fuller came in from his adventures with Portishead, and we have Dave Smith.”

He says all the members of Shape Shifters have a special charm and kindness, and are great players.

“So what do you do? – you have just got to get it right.

“I feel I can just bring my gift to the table, it sounds a bit cheesy but I’m only a contributor and the only reason you are speaking with me is because I’ve got the biggest name.”

Rock fans the world over know Plant’s name from his years with Led Zeppelin. It all came to a halt when drummer John Bonham died in 1980.

In 2007 the band reconvened, with Bonham’s son, Jason, taking his place on the drum stool for a one-off appearance at London’s O2 Arena, in honour of late Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun.

Celebration Day, a DVD of the concert, was released late last year, stirring up hopes that Led Zeppelin would use it as a launching pad to tour again.

However, Plant had already made plans to record with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, and it was time to move on.

    Plant says he enjoyed his time at the 02 Arena and agrees they put on a great show, and he was “part of something that was magnificent”.

“But after it was over, I got out of there. I am better off just doing fresh things and seeing where they take me, and that is what has happened in my life.

“The bottom line is, when you do something and you don’t expect anything to happen, which is what happened with Led Zeppelin, Band of Joy and [the album] Raising Sand with Alison Krauss, then all the better.

“So, at this time in my life, I am happy to be involved in things that intrigue me and that’s when I will have a go.”

Plant and Krauss did attempt a follow-up to the five-time Grammy Award-winning Raising Sand, but it did not work out. “We honestly did try with a second album but it just didn’t work.

“Actually, I got an email from Alison’s agent asking me do I want to do a summer tour of 25 dates with her.” Then, in a sudden burst of laughter, he says: “Well, she didn’t ask me for a start and I think that’s terrible; she should have wined and dined me and held me up against the wall and said, ‘Robert, let’s go’.”

Whether utilising his powerful and full-bodied rock vocal in Led Zeppelin, adopting more gentle and yearning, bluegrass tones with Krauss, to revealing a “British urban, West African-Led Zeppelin-fired blues-trance thing” with the Shape Shifters, Plant’s vocal remains a compelling instrument – 40 years into his career.

“The actual physical demand of singing in The Sensational Shape Shifters is much more demanding than with Band of Joy, because I am up there pushing it all the time, we are relentless.

“That’s not something I did with Zeppelin because there were spaces in the music.

“But now I am really pushing it, so it’s a good thing to know my voice still works, and it’s a good thing not to push it to the degree where you go ‘oh God, I hate it now, but leave room so you want to do some more’.”

Looking back on his 40-year career, he says it was all down to a “strange crackling on the radio” that turned him on to music.

“You know, when I was a kid, I had no idea of what was out there in the world.

“I used to deliver papers before I went to school in the morning on my bike and I got to listening to radio late at night, like a lot of people did of my generation – there wasn’t a lot of choice. But there was something out there crackling through the darkness and I heard this music.

“It was this black American music, Leadbelly and Big Bill Broonzy, so I got this stuff and I got the drift.

“I began to love it so much and I have no explanation for it, but I wanted as much as I could get, and I became a huge fan of the delta blues.

“In Led Zeppelin we turned the blues upside down and little did I know that this romance of mine, with this dark, beautiful music, would one day take me to Mali and into West Africa and allow me to sing in the desert at night outside of Timbuktu with Ali Farka Toure, out there in infinity just doing this beautiful stuff . . .”

“Now I am doing it with The Sensational Shape Shifters.”


Robert Plant – The Sensational Shape Shifters, with support  from The Blind Boys of Alabama, play Wellington’s TSB Arena on April 9 and Auckland’s Vector Arena on April 11.

See link at:


Staff and diners at Port Douglas’ On The Inlet seafood restaurant were flabbergasted at last night. And it wasn’t the usual admiration of the scrumptious barramundi or seafood towers – it was over rock legend Robert Plant dropping in for dinner.


The lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band, Led Zeppelin, Plant was photographed with staff while dining with three other guests, was reported to have ordered a curry and was quoted as being “a really nice man”.

He was later seen at the Central Hotel having a sip with locals, much to their delight, and was reported to have left Port Douglas today (Friday) to get back for rehearsals.

Plant was in the region ahead of the upcoming 24th annual Byron Bay Bluesfest over the Easter long weekend, where he will make his event debut as lead singer of new band, Sensational Space Shifters, alongside fellow acts Santana, Paul Simon, Steve Miller Band, Counting Crows, Chris Isaak, Status Quo, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Armatrading and Ben Harper to name a few.

Plant is regarded as one of the most significant singers in the history of rock music, with heavy metal magazine Hit Parader named Plant the “Greatest Metal Vocalist of All Time” in 2006;

Plant was voted “the greatest voice in rock” in a poll conducted by Planet Rock in 2009 and in 2011 Rolling Stone editors ranked him number 15 on their list of the 100 greatest singers of all time.

See link at:


In more ways than one, Robert Plant likes to keep on the move. Physically,  his adventures in the past 10 years alone have taken him from Mali to  Mississippi via Tennessee and Texas. Musically, in that same period he has sung  African blues, made a Grammy-slaying country-folk album (with Alison Krauss) and  played rootsy rock with his partner, country star Patty Griffin, in Band of  Joy.

He is on the move again with his latest venture, the Sensational Space  Shifters. The project reunites him with most of his early 2000s band, Strange  Sensation, adding the redoubtable tweak of Juldeh Camara, a west African master  of the ritti (a traditional one-stringed African violin) and the kologo (a kind  of cross between a lute and a banjo). Camara’s contributions give the  Sensational Space Shifters a heady and potent world-music flavour.

”The musical overview of this thing is so … kaleidoscopic,” Plant says.  ”It means that we can visit songs from my distant past or contemporary songs or  stuff from the darkest sort of swamps of Mississippi or bayou of Louisiana and  turn ’em upside down on their head using amazing west African rhythms.”

It’s fair to say Plant’s ”distant past” is the reason most fans are still  interested in what he’s up to, especially following the recent release of Celebration Day, a recording of a one-off 2007 tribute concert to  Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. During that show, the surviving members  of Led Zeppelin (Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones) and their late drummer’s  son (Jason Bonham) tore through highlights from their devastating back  catalogue.

Despite repeated requests for that band to reunite for a tour, Plant has  resisted because,  ”to actually pour forth into something beyond a special  occasion is folly”.

”But, y’know, we’re in touch quite a lot and when there’s another special  occasion, somebody’ll tell me about it and I’ll say yes or no. I’m certainly not  against that idea as a hoot – providing it’s fresh, exciting, riveting and so  long as we’re scared out of our minds.”

This would further explain some of the thrilling, unusual versions of Led  Zeppelin standards such as Black Dog, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp and Rock and Roll that have made it into Sensational Space Shifters sets  alongside the band’s own originals and covers of blues giants such as Howlin’  Wolf and Bukka White.

When Plant noticed, during a trip to Mali ”about seven or eight years ago”,  the blues affinity between the Tuareg people of noted collective Tinariwen and  his old-school American idols, ”I got really, really excited. I was listening  to stuff that was coming off the stage and thinking, well, this is amazing,  really, ’cause neither these guys who are playing this music in the beautiful  Malian desert evening nor the guys down there in Cleveland, Mississippi, have  any idea of these links – but they’re there.”

Before he could pursue that train of thought, though, he started his duet  project with Alison Krauss. They would go on to win five Grammy awards in 2009  for their collaboration, including album of the year for Raising Sand  and record of the year for Please Read the Letter.

An album with the Band of Joy followed before Plant came to the realisation  that he ”really just missed the wolf in me”, something  he rediscovered with  the Sensational Space Shifters.

”You have to actually move out into other spheres to get a lick of this and  a lick of that, y’know, and I’ve learnt how to sing in lots of different ways  and I thank all the gods for that.”

It’s Plant’s distinctive voice that has made him the rock icon he has become  over the years.  But as far as he is concerned, the Sensational Space Shifters  are about much more  than the voice.

”It’s about energy – and also it’s about Juldeh Camara.  He’s a guy who’s  spent most of his life entertaining and he’s every bit as dynamic and  interesting as an entertainer as I could ever be.

”We laugh and we work off each other and when he speaks to me in Bambara or  whatever it is and I’m completely befuddled by it, we just reach to the heavens  and we pull down the great gift that all the gods put together for us. And that  is what it’s all about. That’s why you actually commit to tours and say, ‘Yeah,  OK, I’m gonna do it. Let’s go.”’

Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters play at the  Entertainment Centre on March 28, at Byron Bay Bluesfest on March 30 and  in the  Hunter at Hope Estate on Easter Sunday, March 31.

See link at:


Jason 1

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience to tour with Heart this summer in the US:

Heart is hitting the road this summer with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience starting June 17 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The pairing means that in addition to separate sets of Heart and Zeppelin classics, the two bands will close each show with a 30-minute tribute to Led Zeppelin.

Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart met Jason Bonham, son of late Zep dummer John Bonham, when they performed Stairway to Heaven together at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Led Zeppelin in December. More than 6 million fans have seen the performance online.

heart 1

In a statement, Ann Wilson promised concertgoers “awesome rock ‘n’ roll music every night … miracles apt to happen any old time.”

Heart, who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 18, will draw from a deep catalog of hits, including Crazy on You, Alone, Straight On, Kick it Out, These Dreams, Barracuda and What About Love.

Over four decades and 14 studio albums, Heart has scored 21 top 40 hits and sold more than 35million records.

Tickets go on sale beginning March 23. For details on VIP packages, visit

The dates:

June 17 West Palm Beach, Fla., Cruzan Amphitheater

June 18 Tampa, Fla, Live Nation Amphitheater

June 20 Atlanta, Chastain Park Amphitheater

June 21 Charlotte, N.C., Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

June 22 Raleigh, N.C., Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion

June 24 Virginia Beach, VA Farm Bureau Live

June 25 Washington, D.C., Jiffy Lube Live

June 27 Wantagh, N.Y., Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

June 28 Boston, Comcast Center – Mansfield

June 29 Bethel, N.Y., Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

July 2 Holmdel, N.J., PNC Bank Arts Center

July 3 Philadelphia, Susquehanna Bank Center – Camden

July 4 Uncasville, Conn., Mohegan Sun Arena

July 19 Detroit, DTE Energy Music Theater

July 21 Pittsburgh, First Niagara Pavilion – Burgettstown

July 22 Cleveland, Blossom Music Center

July 27 Cincinnati, Riverbend Music Center

July 29 Chicago, Ravinia Festival

July 30 Indianapolis, Klipsch Music Center

Aug. 1 West Allis, Wisc., Wisconsin State Fair

Aug. 14 Houston, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Aug. 15 Dallas, Gexa Energy Pavilion

Aug. 17 St. Louis, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

See links at :


Here’s a review of a recent JBLZE gic filed for TBL by Ed Bode of Plainfield Il.

Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience  

Arcada Theatre Saint Charles Illinois

February 2nd, 2013

Amazing show at an amazing venue, The Arcada is an old movie theatre that was saved from destruction and has many artists performing there.

Some of the artists that have appeared at the Arcada include Jon Anderson of Yes,Rare Earth,War,Pat Benatar,The Guess Who,to name just a very few. We arrived early and were fortunate enough to listen to the band’s soundcheck for a good 30-40 minutes. The band was concentrating on Led Zeppelin 1 during the soundcheck then completed with a full version of Kashmir.

The show was running a little late but that worked to our advantage as we got to listen to soundcheck.

The show begins with a mini movie with Jason narrating and the footage is mainly of John Bonham as a child and through the years up until the beginning of Led Zeppelin. It is very weird to see John without his moustache as we all know he always had at least that if not the full beard. After the film the stage is dark and you can see everyone take thier spots on stage and we all wait in anticipation, what will the opener be?

Spotlight on Jason and Rock and Roll opens the show and the band comes out blazing.

Rock and Roll leads right into Celebration Day, it’s going to be a great night as one can tell the band is very tight (but loose).

As everyone knows when seeing a show dedicated to Led Zeppelin, there are certain songs that will always be played (Stairway,Kashmir) Some that might get played (Black Dog, Heartbreaker), but you always wonder if the band will dig into the catalog and play a “gem”. Well this band certainly did pull out the unexpected gem (for me anyway) and 3rd song of the night was Sick Again and to say it sounded incredible is a complete understatement.

For the Zeppelin fans who get the bootlegs and have studied the bands sound we all know that Bonham had a very distinct sound to his snare drum, one that I’ve never heard duplicated but tonight Jason came very close to capturing “that” sound, and that really made this particular song work.

The 1st set ended with Moby Dick and Jason played alongside his dad using footage from the Zeppelin DVD from the Albert Hall and from the movie Song Remains The Same.

After the intermission Jason grabs the microphone and we hear something very familar “we’ve done four already and now we’re steady and then they went 1,2,3,4” and the band tears into “The Ocean” and they are still firing on all cylinders.

A couple of more numbers and it’s time for some blues, Since I’ve Been Loving You is up and Tony really nailed the solo (although he was spot on all night)

Tony did his part to bring us closer to the real thing as possible, coming out on stage wearing shades and scarf like Jimmy did in 1977. It was done with respect not to copy.

Next up Tony straps on the double neck and we hear Song Remains The Same, f ollowed by When The Levee Breaks, Kashmir and then Stairway To Heaven closed the set

The band returned for the encore of  Whole Lotta Love was it, Tony doing a fantastic job on the Theremin.

Everyone in the band did a fantastic job but special mention must go to a few people, Tony was just incredible and really nailed all the solos, he really has studied Jimmy Page closely and it shows.

James Dylan on vocals all I can say is WOW, he had a great night and was hitting all the high notes and long notes perfectly, great job James.

Last and certainly not least to Jason himself, I found out after the show how sick Jason was and just the very fact that he pulled off this performance is amazing in itself, to watch him you would never have known he was ill so special thanks to Jason for going on with the show as it must of been very hard as sick as he was.

The full set list was as follows:

Rock and Roll

Celebration Day

Sick Again

Your Time Is Gonna Come
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You

You Shook Me

What Is And What Should Never Be

Thank You

Immigrant Song

Moby Dick

—20 Minute intermission—

The Ocean

Over The Hills and Far Away

Since I’ve Been Loving You

The Song Remains The Same

When The Levee Breaks


Stairway To Heaven


Whole Lotta Love

 Ed Bode – dedicated to my late Mom.


Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy

March 18th , 2013.

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  • VHP said:

    The Heart / L.Z.E. sounds like a wonderful bill. I remember seeing Heart back in 1988 and they were really good. They played Rock & Roll as the encore. That went down well at B’ham’s NEC.

    It is however such a shame that Jason has not yet brought this show to the UK, even though he has been touring with it for a few years now. I wonder if he ever will?

    Maybe there is more chance of Jimmy finally fulfilling his promise & releasing a new CD and playing some live dates around the world – something he has not done for a very long time.

  • Denzepp58 said:

    Wow, Mark nailed that one right on the head. Well said,Mr. Williams,well said….

  • André Cruz said:

    This Jason Bonham `s Led Zeppelin experience is the most closer you can get nowadays about Zep world ! I really would like to see it !!!


    Hi Dave,

    Reading the excellent pre-Tour coverage here just points to how insular and self-centred our all-time frontman hero has become.Zeppelin are more than a ‘hoot’ in the present tense Robert.
    Please allow your fans and ‘distant’ musical colleagues some respect.

    Either that or set 70% of your set-lists from your own solo back catalogue. Plenty of sensational space for the likes of ‘Watching you,Like I’ve never been gone,Slow Dancer’ etc.C’mon Mr. Plant, your devotees deserve better.

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