Portsmouth, Va. (NTELOS Pavilion)
Heartbreaker, Shine, Black Dog, Babe, That’s the Way, Tin Pan Valley, Morning Dew, Mighty Rearranger, Gallows Pole, When The Levee Breaks
Encore: (off new album), WLL (with elements of Bring it on Home)
This from Jonathan C. Mallard
A mixed night. The Soundtrack of our Lives opened up, and played about 7 songs. Then what was *supposed* to happen, was a stage change, a fireworks show that ended at 9:30, RP&SS to start at 9:45. Well….
Fireworks were not to be found until later. I spoke with a stage person after they distributed the setlist, so my memory is somewhat incomplete. No Quarter was the first encore, but was scratched, probably for time constraints. It was about 11:35 when the show was over.
RP still has a voice. That much can be said. However, I don’t think he’s in touch with what his audience wants to hear, as evidenced by the non-response during some of the sing-along portions of WLL. Also, during the finale, when the song was true to original form, I looked, and the ENTIRE audience was in motion. While they were playing some of WLL modified, the audience just stood there. Respectful, yes. But not as enthused and turned on as they were by the original.
Furthermore, I got the impression all night that RP was going through the motions of being a showman. The writhing, the hand motions. The kick down and kick upright return of the mic stand. Everything was done at a distance as if he was staring out into the space above the heads of the audience. Couple this with two average at best guitarists, and the botched fireworks show, makes this a night to unremember at $76.
The man still has a voice. But If a video exists of last night, I’d encourage everyone to look at the audience. They make quite clear their preference as to what they wish to hear.
This from Magnus Johnsson
I had the opportunity to see Robert this 4th of July in Portsmouth, Virginia with 4th row seats. The concert was held at a new amphitheatre on the harbor across from the larger city of Norfolk that is a beautiful facility with a covered pavilion and open lawn in the rear. Venue capacity is 6,500 and would estimate about 4,000 or so were present ? may be more. It was a diverse crowd from teenagers to a mostly older crowd from mid-30?s to 50?s.
This was my 14th time seeing Robert since 1988. Opening band was the Soundtrack of Our Lives and they gave a mostly ignored performance as people anticipated Robert?s first Virginia appearance since a Page/Plant visit to Virginia Beach in July 1998. Fans became restless as a 1hour and 10 minute delay occurred between the opening band and Robert and starting clapping in unison after the delay reached 1 hour. Across the harbor
from the venue a firework display in Norfolk was scheduled to go off and it must have been delayed – fans could watch it from some vantage points of the venue.
Robert came on the stage shortly after 10pm starting with ‘Heartbreaker’ in blue jeans, cowboy boots, and a brown t-shirt that simply said ‘I Have Candy’ in block letters. The reported beard/goetee was evident. He seemed loose and relaxed and this was evident and throughout the show. He made several references and jokes to following Mark Knopler, as Dire Straights apparently had played the same venue very recently. Clearly the new songs from Mighty Rearranger were not familiar to many fans but were better received than I expected by fans with many in a great mood with the 4th of July holiday.
Highlights for me included: ‘Babe I’m Going to Leave You’, ‘That’s the Way’, and ‘Tin Pan Valley’. Robert closed the show with ‘The Enchanter’ and ‘WLL’. I was disappointed to not hear ‘No Quarter’, which has been played at prior shows.
Overall, a great, relaxed show. My only quibble would be the stage set-up. Robert seemed to have limited space to move around – either blocked by
equipment or other musicians. Would have like to have seen him work the stage more ala prior solo tours but this seems intentional in how he wants to present himself and band.