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”THE END OF THIS PHASE OF THE BAND OF JOY” – ROBERT PLANT & THE BAND OF JOY AT BIG CHILL FESTIVAL

8 August 2011 5,570 views 7 Comments

Robert Plant and the Band Of Joy –Big Chill Festival, 7 August 2011 – Photos and report for TBL by Richard Grubb

Setlist: Black Dog, Down to the Sea, Angel Dance, Houses of the Holy, House of Cards, Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go (Buddy Miller lead, Robert harmonica),Monkey, Satisfied Mind (Darrell Scott lead), Thank You, Ocean of Tears (PattyGriffin lead), In The Mood (incl. excerpt of Fairport Convention’s Come AllYe), Please Read The Letter, Misty Mountain Hop, Shine It All Around, Ramble On Encores: Black Country Woman, Gallows Pole

So to the end of this phase of the Band Of Joy.  The Herefordshire hills witnessed another triumph for this group of exceptionally talented musicians who’ve bonded and grown together over the past 14 months. Wrapping up business for the time being, this was a local homecoming gig for Robert, prompting a, “I’ll be home in 45 minutes,” quip.

A swampy ‘Black Dog’ opened proceedings, unrecognisable even from the reworked version aired in Europe last year.  That is, until the familiar strains of “Hey, hey mama…” and the “ahhh, ah” call and response got the festival crowd on side very early in the set.  Several Band Of Joy staples followed without too many surprises, but ‘In The Mood’ deserves a special mention – this was a shimmering, majestic version that suited the summer evening perfectly.  What strikes you throughout is how much this is an ensemble project, with everyone playing for each other; there’s no room for egos here, everything is in support of the song and it’s (literally) a joy to watch.

At times Robert’s voice is stratospheric. I’m sure I say this every time, but I don’t think I’ve heard him sound better.  Vocal highlights included‘Houses of the Holy’, ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ (“we’re almost in Mordor!”) and ‘Ramble On’. Personally I was very happy to see ‘Shine It All Around’ played.  Although it lacked the eastern mysticism offered by Justin Adams’ irreplaceable guitar, this Band Of Joy version takes things to another level on the chorus – the sound of four powerful, harmonically matched vocalists roaring, “SHINE!” is fabulous… An extended ‘Ramble On’ followed, with Darrell’s sinuous lute solo complemented by Robert’s vocal improvisations steering us to the end of the main set.  The crowd wouldn’t let them disappear without encores so the band played havoc with the festival running times and we get ‘Black Country Woman’ and ‘Gallows Pole’.

Robert regularly paid tribute to this incredible band, stating how much they’ve enjoyed being together for the last year and a bit.  He confessed to them feeling emotional as they were going their separate ways after tonight (“the end of this phase of the Band Of Joy”), and conceded the audience “might not give a flying fig” –Believe me, Robert, we do, we definitely do…

Richard Grubb – August 8th 2011

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7 Comments »

  • Ava said:

    Thanks so much for your response Richard. I’ve just recently discovered TbL and have become a fan for sure. I’m looking forward to your more-detailed report on the next “phase” of hopefully Robert continuing on with the Band of Joy as you see it. In any event, I hope Robert doesn’t make us wait too long to see exactly he’s headed and continues to entertain us for many more years – Ava

  • RichardG said:

    Ava,

    You’re right to focus on what’s intended by “this phase”, it certainly didn’t feel terminal to me, but others have interpreted it differently. I’m preparing a longer version of this report for the TbL mag and I’ve considered this part of the show in more detail. If you’re a subscriber you’ll be able to read it there, if not, then why not treat yourself to a subscription – you’ll thank yourself I’m sure!

    Best regards,

    Richard

  • Chris Wright said:

    Zeppelin was never predictable and Robert’s solo career has followed a similar path. This was an intriguing and engaging episode but, inevitably, it’s time to move on. That’s why Robert will continue to dazzle for as long as he makes music.

  • Mark Williams said:

    Lets face it folks, this project has been fun to watch and follow, but surely the majority of followers want to see Robert (at least for a handful of gigs), to see sense and return to the fold that really put him on the map. He’ll be 63 on August 18th so no doubt he’ll use that as the excuse not to do the right thing !

  • Klaus Stocker said:

    Thanks for great report, especially since there was no coverage in TBL Tour Watch of the european summer tour. Hope that Robert Plant will keep the BOJ-vibe and puts it soon in new recording sessions.

  • Ava said:

    Does this mean that the Band of Joy is over permanently? Your article seems hopeful but others seem to give the impression that the Band has permanently broken up. Your talking about this being the end of “this Phase” gives me hope because I absolutely LOVE Robert and this band. Any further information you may have or can give me to further clarify this would be greatly appreciated.

  • Jess said:

    Thanks for the awesome write up…and all of the write ups of this group. It has been a “joy” following them this past 13+ months and I’m so glad that you emphasized that Robert said “this phase” as most other stories have this being the end of it all. It sounds like a wonderful final concert from this very lengthy and fun tour!

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