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ROBERT PLANT & THE SENSATIONAL SPACESHIFTERS LONDON ROUNDHOUSE /JIMMY AND CHRIS CORNELL IN LA/ TBL 38 ALL OUT THERE/DL DIARY UPDATE

14 November 2014 4,079 views 11 Comments

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Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters: The Roundhouse London  – November 12th. 2014: 
Set List: Friends, Spoonful, Turn It Up, Jam (Arbaden (Maggies Baby)), Going To California, Embrace Another Fall, Rainbow, What Is And What Should Never Be, No Place To Go, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Little Maggie, Fixin To Die, Wanna Make Love To You/Whole Lotta Love/ Who Do You Love
Encores
Stolen Kiss, Rock and Roll

Gary Foy Observations:

We travel long and far to Chalk Farm, London and for what seems to be Roberts’s regular home lately, the Roundhouse, with the iTunes Festival still fresh in our memories (65 days ago).

Tonight’s show is more of a gig than the previous London excursion. Tonight is for the fans and not some corporate run competition winner’s event. And with ten shows between the two events it’s fair to say that the group have found their groove, feeding off each other’s energy and finding their rhythm. The injection of new material from the highly rated lullaby….and ceaseless roar has given the group the confidence.. So confident in the new material there are six numbers are aired from ceaseless along with three standards and six Zeppelin numbers.

Friends works well as an opener, almost breezing its way in and setting the tone for the evening with its ethic rhythms and looped synths rolling across the soundscape. Spoonful follows and it’s a number I’ve loved since he first performed it back in the Forum, London back in July 2012 and still gets me up and moving. First off the new album is Turn It Up which remains solid if a bit formula, but with its interesting hook line and swinging chorus, it all becomes very pleasing. The jam that follows after Turn It Up (some are calling it Arbaden) is basically the jam at the end of the Space Shifters version of Black Dog with Juldeh to the fore with the song climaxing in an almost Fairport Convention type reel, stunning stuff.

I’ve rounded on Going To California previously, saying that it’s out played it’s welcome but I have to concede that it works, despite Robert losing his way tonight, much to everyone’s amusement, including his own. It works on many levels really, its works because it is hugely popular and because not everyone who goes to Robert’s gigs have “been there done that” for the last thirty five years. Some, we have to remember are only seeing him for the first or second time. It’s sometimes difficult for someone like me, who has 110 plus Plant shows under his belt to be subjective enough.

The highlight of the night for me was Embrace Another Fall, this song moves slowly to its peak with Justin picking out the intro on the gimbri, with John’s understated keyboards and Dave’s hypnotic drum patterns, Robert sings of lost love and returning to his home before Skin lifts it to a high with a slide solo, brilliant.

Rainbow will probably suffer the same fate as of the similar feeling Shine It All Around or 29 Nines Palms and will be dropped once this leg of the tour is over. Both What Is And What Should Never Be and Babe I’m Gonna Leave Yyou have found their place in the Space Shifters and both highlighting the strength of Skin Tyson’s playing. No Place To Hide which is sandwiched between the previous two numbers is a standard recorded by Howling Wolf, and a number that both How Many More Years and How Many Times roots are firmly set within. Both the earlier played Spoonful and No Place to Hide are given the Space Shifters spin on things, Billy Fuller’s solid walking bass lines, John Baggot’s swirling synths and the irrepressible Juldeh Camara under laying a score for Skin and Justin Adams to twist and turn – no wonder Robert is smiling.

Little Maggie still stands strong and feels like an enjoyable old friend already, driven by Skin’s electric banjo and Dave Smith’s spot on drum patterns all leading up to Juldeh shuffling entrance before he skips into his solo and culminating in him and Robert swinging in unison at the front of the stage. Bukka Whites Fix’in To Die, a long-time favourite from the Dreamland era, has also morphed into its own little Space Shifters world and a centrepiece for  Justin Adams and his rockabilly etched solo and infection “dad dance”. This even has Roberts’s grandchildren dancing on the side of the stage along with all in the audience.

Robert closes the main set with Whole Lotta Love, and why not? Others may argue, saying that Jimmy Page could do more with one guitar than these guitarists do with two, but that’s the point, Jimmy could but doesn’t and frankly until he decides to do it, I’ll go along with Robert and jump and play the old air guitar for as long as I can.

Kicking off the encores is the other highlight of the evening, A Stolen Kiss, seems misplaced as the encore opener but even this placing doesn’t undermine its standing as one of the album’s highlights. Set against minimal keyboards, similar to Song To Sirens in pace and structure and again a song of searching and lost love. Quite beautiful, in all ways.

And Rock and Roll brings it all to a fitting and rousing finale. I’ve grown back in love with this , the way its skips along in its own rockabilly way, with a parting comment of the recent tabloid lead reunion story “Don’t believe a word you read”. Robert, along with the rest of the Space Shifters are off to spread their enthusiastic mindset to all who’ll listen – and you’ll be a fool not to, this is fun, remember fun? It’s something we all had before it all got too serious.

As for Robert – so much enthusiasm from the stage spilled out over the audience and we soaked it up. He looked as if he’d finely shrugged off the past and was happy in what he’s doing, producing music his way, the way that pleases him. It’s easy for us to bitch and moan about what numbers he is or isn’t doing or what numbers we think he should be doing. He is in the industry called entertainment, he’s in it to entertain himself and for whoever will come along and take that ride.

We need to learn to go with it, enjoy the ride and allow Robert to take us forward on this musical journey with his happy little band of friends, because he sure aint going backwards.

Gary Foy.

………………….

Going To California

 

Don’t believe a word….do believe in the Sensational Space Shifters…

DL observations:

Of the 114 times I’ve seen Robert perform live over the past 44 years, around 40 have been in London. The capital can be a somewhat overwhelming prospect for artist and fans alike. Not tonight.

This was simply one of the most assured Robert Plant London performances I’ve been lucky enough to witness.

One of the reasons is the venue. The Roundhouse is an excellent venue – it’s circular setting makes for an intimate environment and the sound was spot on.

Although always good to hear, Friends was something of a low key entry but after a ”hey hey hey” refrain from the singer and Spoonful kick’s in and we a really are off the blocks from then on.

Turn it Up from the new album is already a familiar mainstay of the set. The closing part heralds the arrival of Juldeh for the jam that was also deployed for Black Dog (as noted on the printed set list).

Going To California followed and proving that he is human, Robert managed to get the lyrics a bit twisted – ”that’s the trouble with new songs, I can never remember the words!” he quipped.

Embrace Another Fall was a welcome addition to the set excluding the air of drama that so lights up the studio version. Live on stage it was a veritable tour de force.

‘Now for the hit” was Robert’s introduction to the now perhaps over familiar  Rainbow, while What is And What Should Never Be garnered one of the best reactions of the night (though I’d swap this for Four Sticks personally)

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The How Many More Years/No Place To Go jam was a real Space Shifter freak out setting out the parameters of what this unit can achieve when they really kick in. John Baggott’s keyboards and Justin and Juldeh’s African tilt merging into a glorious noise.

Babe was another expected highlight and heading for home, Little Maggie, Fixin’ To Die and the Who Do You Love/Whole Lotta Love hybrid were all rousing statements of intent.

Encores: Much as I love A Stolen Kiss, the downbeat melancholy keyboard lament felt decidedly out of place as the first encore – albeit that Robert gave a masterful performance.

”We came from the land of the ice and snow” observed Robert in introducing Rock And Roll – this version combining the rockabilly swagger of Tall Cool One with the singer strutting with mic stand discarded in a manner we were once very accustomed to.

”Peace and love….oh and don’t believe a word” was Robert’s wry final comments…

Indeed…don’t believe a word of any misplaced rumour that he blew out his old band to the tune of 500 million.. but do believe in this now finely honed musical unit that are currently space shifting across the UK.

In fact just as I observed way back when…seeing is still believing…

Dave Lewis, November 13th 2014.

During the evening it was great to hook up with the Bedford Earls Court/Knebworth vets Phil, Tom and Dec (remarkably it was Dec’s first Plant live sighting since Knebworth!) plus Richard Grubb, Tony Crowley, Dave Lindwood (TBL web founder), Dave Fox, Mick Bulow, Paul Stevenson, Cliff the ticket man Hilliard, Nigel Dorning and Tiina and Minna over from Finland to name but a few. Later after the show it was good to catch up with the esteemed Richard Cole and legendary Zep sound man Benji leFevre – there was a real feeling of a good job done amongst the band members and the singer himself who said it had been one of the best London gigs in a good while.

……………………………..

Robert Plant/SSS Bournemouth review:

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/leisure/reviews/11593341.Robert_Plant_and_the_Sensational_Space_Shifters__O2_Academy_Bournemouth/

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Robert Plant on BBC 6 Music in conversation with Radcliffe and Maconie :

See link at

http://www.robertplant.com/#news/all-about-the-tour-robert-chats-with-bbc-6-music

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Jimmy Page and Chris Cornell in Los Angeles:

Plenty of coverage for this one – see links at

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/chris-cornell-quizzes-jimmy-page-about-led-zeppelins-glory-days-20141113

and rumours of a collaboration…

http://www.alternativenation.net/chris-cornell-jimmy-page-to-collaborate-in-2015/

…………………..

That reunion news story:

Firmly put to bed by both parities:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-robert-plant-richard-branson-led-zeppelin-reunion-deny-rumor-20141112-story.html

……………………………………

More news round ups at the excellent

https://www.facebook.com/ledzepnews

………………………………….

TBL 38 has officially left the building…

As of Monday, every pre ordered subscriber and single order of TBL 38 was in transit – I had four separate trips to the post office to ship out the outstanding USA/Europe and overseas copies.

distribution 2

So I counted them all in and I counted them all out, I stuck the stamps on and I packed them – 600 copies have left here since last Tuesday  with subscriptions on around 530. Not a bad start but a mere drop in the Zep ocean (given that Zep IV sold 13600 in the UK last week)  …this is very much a cottage industry here and I won’t be retiring to my Barbados bolt hole as yet…fundamentally I am in the business of selling books and magazines, and this current magazine deserves to be seen

If even half my listed TBL Facebook friends purchased a copy  I’d be looking at another 1200 copies sold…so there’s a lot of potential buyers out there yet – my ongoing challenge is to pursue fans to take the plunge –  if I could double the subscriptions and sales so far (600 to 1200) that would be some achievement and that is the objective ongoing.

Meanwhile if you have pre-ordered, US copies take about 2 weeks delivery time and Europe about a week. ..as for me ,I really should now get around to opening the Zep IV and Houses reissues which I have had to put on hold during the mail out. …on the other hand there’s lapsed subscribers to target, TBL 39 to plan and one or two other projects to start looking at ..as the guitarist would say it’s ever onward….thanks for all your support – DL .

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DL Q and A:

I’ll be answering questions on Sean Atkinson’s excellent Facebook forum later today  – see link at

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dave-TBL-Lewis-A-Q-A/506756912793722?fref=ts&pnref=story

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DL Diary Update:

Just a word on that rumour  – we have been here before on this one -I am amazed how it all gets so blown up. As for the story – The band formed in 1966? Richard Branson a lifelong friend? The clues were all  there…

Meanwhile….after a considerable amount of man-hours getting it sorted (not to mention many a trip to the post office), it’s a big relief that the TBL mail out is now completed. The initial feedback to the mag has been very encouraging and many thanks to all those who took the time to get in touch – keep it coming.

My attention now turns to one or two on-going projects and the planning of the next TBL issue 39. There’s also lapsed subscribers to target and the TBL Christmas offers to kick start. Talking of which – if you have yet to invest in either the Feather In the Wind Over Europe 1980 or Then As It Was At Knebworth 1979 books,  I have a bargain bundle offer that is offering both books for just £20 plus postage – this will also make for a great Christmas present for a fellow fan.

Here’s the bundle book offer link:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/then-as-it-was-at-knebworth-1979-and-feather-in-the-wind-over-europe-1980-book-bundle-offer-buy-both-books-for-just-20-plus-postage/

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It was great to be amongst like minded fans at the Roundhouse on Wednesday and many thanks to all who came over and chatted. Before the gig, in the afternoon we had a look in the excellent Out On The Floor Records in Camden – the owner told us that Robert had popped in there a couple of times. I came upon a very nice poster on one of the stalls in Camden Market  – it depicts the sleeve of the famous Stairway To Heaven BBC 1971 in concert broadcast bootleg on the Trade Mark of Quality label. Of course vinyl was purchased – namely a couple of Swan Song label beauties – Bad Company’s Rough Diamonds on UK Swan Song and the Death Wish 2 soundtrack on an Italian Swan Song pressing complete with sticker on the sleeve. You gotta have ’em!

Post TBL 38 mail out, I now really need to catch up on some things, not least the Led Zep IV and Houses Of The Holy reissues which I have yet to open. That will be on the schedule shortly. There has been some trusty old stuff on the player including  the Robert Plant Ceaseless Playlist (see page 6 of the new TBL), Robert Plant iTunes gig (thank you John P), Bob Dylan Desire (I’m looking forward to getting into the new Basement Tapes collection), David Bowie Hunky Dory and Pink Floyd The Dark Side Of The Moon.

Ahead here now is the driving of TBL 38 sales and gift offers, and I’ll be announcing another project very soon. Many thanks again for all the kind comments re TBL 38.

………………….

YouTube Clips

Jimmy Page on David Letterman:

Jimmy Page and Chris Cornell Event news story:

 Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters: Friends at the Roundhouse:


Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Have a great weekend

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – November  14th, 2014.

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11 Comments »

  • Richard said:

    I don’t think Plant is particularly anti-christian – rather he highlights the bigotry, racism, homophobia and social and cultural divisions that can spring from certain stands of faith.

    My view is that perhaps we fans need to ‘grow up’ and enjoy one of the greatest singers in musical history as he heads into his final years of performing. Page and Jones are not second class citizens and Plant (as we all do) has only limited responsibility to the people he worked with in his twenties. Jones is also treating us to a varied musical career and Page keeps the reissues coming.

    Interesting the varied views on Plant in this post. For me he is still performing in a spine tingling manner and is still partially immersed in Zeppelin whilst keeping the creative fires burning….easily one of the best tours around. Agree that The Last Internationale are great.

  • Stephen said:

    Plantfan, Plant has not been treating Page like a “second-class citizens”. Page needs to get of his butt and record some new music, rather than waiting for Robert to call, or re-releasing Zep material for the umpteenth time. Robert doesn’t owe Page and Jones anything. Zep is over. Page is 70 and Plant’s voice can’t do that material justice on a weekly basis anymore. A studio album could have been done after the O2, but that moment has passed and they have all moved on – except Jimmy. It’s not Robert that needs to grow up.

  • Plantfan said:

    As Andrew R said, Plant does have a more hostile attitude toward many questions thrown at him in interviews. But I suppose if he’s happy, that’s all that matters. I suppose Page and Jones are used to being treated as second class citizens by this point in time.
    His blatant anti-Christian comments in word and song are a bit old skool too. He seems to have the mentality of a 20 year old still questioning the institutions of the establishment. I say, grow up already Robert.

  • Charlie said:

    Saw Robert at Hull on Friday and Leeds on Monday.Got to say two amazing gigs.
    He’s certainly enjoying his music nowadays,so let’s put the reunion finally to bed.
    Check out his support if you can,Last Internationale,met them after the Leeds gig,brilliant band.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Great gig in Newcastle last night. Plenty of Planty banter with the crowd, running gags on the age of the audience (“…it’s like f**king Cocoon…!”) and Skin Tyson’s troublesome equipment. Setlist identical to the Roundhouse show, plus How Many More Times. The sound mix/balance was fantastic, especially during the acoustic parts, and the vibe within the band was clearly relaxed. Hearing Liam and Justin perform Going To California was just incredible. The whole evening had a wonderfully atmospheric, trancey feel to it.

    The last two times Robert played in Newcastle (well, technically speaking it was Gateshead) were at a seated venue called the Sage, and the atmosphere last night was much more rock ‘n’ roll thanks to the Academy being a standing venue. Last International also helped to put everyone in a rock mindset beforehand (nice to see the son of Joey Ramone and the daughter of Patti Smith formed a band…!).

    To see and hear Robert Plant on stage is quite humbling and always has been, especially for us Zep-obsessed types. The legacy of the man is incredible. I think we sometimes take it for granted that these heroes of ours are always going to be around (they’re not) and so we need to grab beautiful, magical moments like these whenever we can.

  • Richard said:

    Well….the Glasgow gig was exceptional. The atmosphere was electric and Plant delivered his set with swagger and charisma. The dynamics of the band are endlessly inventive and Plant’s voice (high and low register) were as good as he has sung at any stage in his career. For example, he finished off the main set with a full tilt Whole Lotta love (all screams, ‘Push push’ and microphone stand twirling) and then opened the encore with a beautiful version of Stolen Kiss – you could have heard a pin drop.

    All i could hear from the crowd as we made our way out was ecstatic responses.

    Wish i could go to more dates!

  • Andrew r said:

    Have to agree with Plantfan there is more magic in watching the O2
    dvd than anything that Robert is currently doing.For the first time in
    a lifetime of Plant watching i am sitting this tour out.Iam not one of these Zeppelin reformation junkies,i just find his whole attitude to his legacy
    baffling and sad.

  • Plantfan said:

    While it reads very positive, I hate to say that listening to the opener Friends, leaves me feeling very flat. There are a few Zep tunes that REQUIRE Robert’s higher register of old. And this is one of them. Most Zep covers can be “talk-sang” thru with nothing lacking. Celebration Day being a good example. But Friends? No. It’s strange, but while I was very excited about the new material from lullaby, I find the tour set lists lacking what should be somewhat magical.
    I guess those days of utter giddy excitement of a Robert Plant show are behind me. While I “Get It” , I just don’t “Feel It” anymore. Sorry.

  • Richard said:

    Great reviews.
    I can’t wait until Plant graces the Glasgow stage on Saturday. The set list looks mouth watering and we all must relish every moment of these performances as Plant is giving us a late blossoming career which none of us can have expected or can expect to go on forever.

    I am glad Gary pointed out the lack of Page action. I think it is easy to take Plant and his 34 year solo career for granted but it really is where the soul of Zeppelin now lives. Lets hope Page does do something, but i am not holding my breath!

  • Roger Berlin said:

    super, thank you Dave
    Roger Berlin

  • Tony Crowley said:

    Good to catch up with everyone old and new again. Missed so many things lately due to work commitments but this was one show worthy of the wait and more than made up for (IMHO) relative disappointments of a number of recent RP shows where I have come away slightly underwhelmed. Top quality show and top, top people for company. Plans for Cambridge scuppered again due to work but great memories of this particular Roundhouse show

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