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ROBERT PLANT PRESENTS SENSATIONAL SPACE SHIFTERS – US TOUR REPORTS, PICS AND CLIPS

24 June 2013 9,292 views 3 Comments

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Whoever thought we would see Robert Plant at Gilley’s? You might remember this venue from Urban Cowboy. Imagine it with nothing in it – except a bar, stage, lights and walls of speakers. And unfortunately very little air conditioning. Not because they don’t have it but because someone didn’t get there in time to crank it. L’il Band of O’Gold from Louisiana opened for him. They did a great job, but no one but the Golden God could satiate the crowd. Robert fronted for them at a club in New Orleans called Tipitina’s not all that long ago (the venue and those playing there donate all profits to music education).

We began lining up outside before 6pm (in Dallas heat) and then the opening act began at 8. Robert took the stage just before 9. He came out and stood behind an amp as the band took to stage and began playing. From the opening notes and the smell of the incense, we knew were in his presence. The greatest frontman of all time is still just that. He began the Dallas show with Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You and rocked us all night. He started on time, but it seemed like the natives were restless until he got on stage. His voice is bigger, deeper than the last time he was here (with Alison Krauss), it was certainly also better.

He has all the energy, sense of humor and sense of fun that we have always seen. He proved over and over why he is truly a legend. It was good to see him take charge again. He has always taken great tunes, and put out new music with a recognizable past. He did not disappoint. We have been to four concerts in the last 6 weeks that might draw his same audience, Stones, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac and Yes. The audience was mostly 40-60 year olds with some teens raised by good parents. Robert is still attracting young men and women. The late teen, twenty something and thirty something crowd mixed well with the more mature among us. It was fun to watch the beat as some of us were moving side to side and the younger group was moving front to back. The young women had dressed for the occasion so while he is older, he hasn’t lost his appeal. Robert said he was going to do music from all eras when he came on stage. He did, and he did it for all generations. He took us one step further into his education.

His set list included old Zeppelin favorites like the ones mentioned above, Friends, Four Sticks, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Black Dog, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love, blues standards like Spoonful, and solo work like In the Mood, Tin Pan Valley Angel Dance, Please Read the Letter . He captivates from the moment he hits the stage. His voice still haunts. The Golden God was in Dallas, and the show was amazing.

Suzanne McElyea

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Set List:

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You/In the Mood/ Another Tribe/Spoonful/Black Dog/Going to California Please Read theLetter/ Tin Pan Valley/Friends/ The Enchanter/ Angel Dance/ Bron Yr  Aur Stomp/ Fixin to Die/ Rock n Roll/ Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down/ Whole Lotta Love (including Who Do You Love)

Robert Plant and his Sensational Shape Shifters opened their current U.S. tour in Dallas, Texas with an impressive and exciting hard rocking good time in Dallas on June 20th.

Playing at the Palladium Ballroom, a large dance hall with a stage, to a crowd of about 2,500, Plant, and his band, honored his Led Zeppelin past, surprised with hits from his solo career, and let Plant bend and reshape his music to his mood and future.

The show opened with the understated intro of Babe I’m Going Leave You, but was shortly pounding the crowd with the middle bridge.  The “I’m gonna leave you” lyrics, sent the message from Plant, “The past is always present but I’m not relying on it.” Next was the surprising appearance of In the Mood from 1983’s The Principle of Moments. Equally surprising, and totally enjoyable, was the hard edge Plant and the Shape Shifters put on the song.  The hard edge, pounded through Liam Tyson’s lead guitar, set the tone for the show. Plant seemed pleased with the song, the reaction, and knew he had the crowd in his palm from that moment on.

Another highlight was Going to California, where the crowd, equally divided between 50 + graying baby boomers and those born after the start of Plant’s solo career, sang along to all the lyrics, underlying the beloved status of the icon from light side of Zeppelin.   GTC began the heart and soul of the show.

Plant dressed all in black, was noticeably thinner than seen in the past.  His trademark long curls, goatee and a double breasted shirt, combined to give him the appearance of a hardened Civil War general.  The Southern mood was noticed by Plant himself. He commented on the hot humid weather that “would melt an Englishman in a second”, and made references to the deep South roots of the blues.  Please Read the Letter, Tin Pan Valley, Friends, and an over-amplified Angel Dance brought the band and the audience to an extended Bron Yr Aur Stomp that the crowd embraced, converting the steamy dance hall into a backwoods hoe-down.

Next were Fixin to Die and Rock and Roll and then encores of Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down, delivered in a slow haunting manner pushing the crowd deeper into the Southern night, and Whole Lotta Love, including the opening of Who Do You  Love, ( “I walk 47 miles of barbed wire, I use a cobra snake for a necktie, I got a brand new house on the roadside, made from rattlesnake hide”).

The most notable aspects of Rock and Roll and Whole Lotta Love were that Plant did not fully perform either song.  The intro to RnR was cleverly disguised, the ending drum flourish was dropped and so was the last verbal “time.”  Similarly with WLL, the intro was barely recognizable, Who Do you Love was inserted and there was no dramatic finish.  My impression was Plant still loves both songs, and is glad to give the audience the expected, but he’s beginning to ease the two classics into retirement.

Plant’s most ringing comments during the show were how he enjoyed being so close to the audience.  This was probably the smallest venue he’s ever played in Dallas.  And how the music is timeless, no beginning, no middle, no end; always evolving and shifting, like the man, himself.  The rock remained the same, but Robert Plant keeps embracing the next step on the journey.

Jeff Horton

Grand Prairie, TX

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What an awesome night last night at Robert’s concert in Dallas. His first stop in the USA was to a sold out crowd. My right ear is still ringing. I got there about 5pm and saw only a hand full of people waiting in line and thought people in Dallas don’t understand who they are missing! I have seen Robert with Zeppelin since early 70’s and again in 2010 when Robert was in Dallas. The concert started at 8 pm and was general admission so about 7:15ish, I decided I had better go inside to find my spot cuz the parking lot was starting to fill up. I rounded the corner of the front of the building and what a huge crowd I saw and people had been going in for 15 to 20 minutes already so I got in line which was still around the building. I got inside and the place was already getting packed so being 5’3″, I went to find “my spot” because security had told me The Palladium’s capacity was 3200 and I was looking for a spot where no one would be in front of me. The opening act, “Little Band of Gold were from Louisiana and they were great and will be in Houston tonight with Robert….when Robert and The Sensational Space Shifters came out, of course the crowd went wild. In my opinion, The Band of Joy was good but The Sensational Space Shifters was phenomenal and having been to many Led Zeppelin concerts in the 70s, last night was equal to a Led Zeppelin concert….

Debby Thurman -Becnel

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Robert Plant plays Bayou Music Center with The Sensational Space Shifters, Friday, June 21, 2013, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

Led Zeppelin golden god vocalist Robert Plant brought his new backing band, the Sensational Space Shifters, to the Bayou Music Center to play the Zep songs that have made the world shimmy, shake, and sweat for the past five decades.

These days Plant looks more like the Cowardly Lion than the Greek statue come to decadent life that he was when Zep was roaming the Earth in their customized Starship jet. His voice has aged into a less-howly animal than it was on those bedrock albums, and into more of a seductive growl.

Add to that the Space Shifters unique take on the Zep catalog — think TV On The Radio meets Black Rebel Motorcycle Club meets Jimmy Page rave-up — and you have a totally unique take on the iconic act’s classic-rock Rosetta Stone.

For those who were too young to have seen Zeppelin — they broke up in 1980 after drummer John Bonham’s death — in their touring prime, or not fortunate enough to have seen them at their 2007 one-off reunion gig in honor of music mogul Ahmet Ertegun, Friday night’s set at Bayou Music Center was a gift from the rock gods.

Opening with “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” from Led Zeppelin’s first shattering vinyl slab, Plant bewitched the crowd. It wasn’t a greatest hits set, thankfully, and it wasn’t a polarizing display of material only super-fans would be able to decipher. It was Plant reinterpreting his life’s work with the Space Shifters. “In The Mood” came second in the set for the classic-rock radio heads. A recitation of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful” sprayed blues onto the crowd.

Zep’s “Black Dog” raved up the audience, thirsty for the Zeppelin that they lost their virginity to. As stated previously, Plant’s voice has aged, but it hasn’t lost it’s oopmh. It’s a well-worn instrument. His backing band, which includes a member of Massive Attack, put an eerie, electronic lacquer on Zep songs that fans didn’t know it could benefit from. “Whole Lotta Love” came with a quick snippet of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” in the middle, a blues lesson for the evening. In fact, Plant and band had been reconstructing blues all night.

An encore brought the traditional “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” from his 2010 Band Of Joy disc and Zep’s “Rock and Roll” from Led Zeppelin IV, which he introduced as “an old English folk song”. Most in the crowd were tipsy and bleary-eyed and maybe assumed he was faking them out.  Now, nearly 40 years since it’s release, that is not so much of a stretch. At this point it is a part of the basic code that makes the titular sound what it is today.

Kudos to Plant for taking on the catalog of his youth without dumbing or watering it down. It takes brass you-know-whats to reinterpret songs that have become a part of the fabric of modern rock and roll. The other two surviving members of Zeppelin don’t know what they are missing each night with Robert Plant

Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

http://blog.chron.com/29-95/2013/06/robert-plant-and-the-sensational-space-shifters-at-bayou-music-center/

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All above photos from the Houston show taken by Melanie McCoy – with many thanks 

For more Robert Plant Presents Sensation Space Shifters US tour updates see the TBL Facebook page – if you are attending one of the shows, we welcome your reports, pics  and clips –

email :

davelewis.tbl1@ntlworld.com

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Robert Plant/SSS you tube clips

Going To California

Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You

In The Mood

Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary FoyJune 24th, 2013.

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3 Comments »

  • Kurt Anderson said:

    I thought the Dallas show was great. We got to see him in a little room and I was able to get up close so it was truly memorable. What the critics of what he is doing don’t seem to get is that he’s just playing what he likes to play and if he’s happy singing those tunes the way he’s singing them then it’s the real deal no matter the arrangement. He’s in the moment and it’ cool to see and hear. If we want to get picky about something let’s get after Jimmy and get him out there somewhere playing stuff he likes.

  • Kam said:

    I have to agree with Andrew R, personally I’d prefer not hear any Zeppelin. Black Dog from the Zep 02 show is the only way to do that song.

    There’s some great stuff on each of his solo albums which I’d love to hear him do, personally I don’t think he’s being as inventive as everyone is saying.

  • Andrew R said:

    Thanks for that Ed and i see your point but i would have more respect for the project if he would stop mangling Zep tunes and stick to his own back catalogue.When was the last time 29 palms was played?Or heaven knows? Im starting the ball rolling for the permanent retirement of Black Dog it needs to be put to sleep humanely! Feel free to climb on board.

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