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Robert Plant Presents…….Sensational Space Shifters – Byron Bay, AUSTRALIA – Bluesfest

30 March 2013 6,740 views No Comment


Robert Plant Presents…….Sensational Space Shifters – Byron Bay, AUSTRALIA – Bluesfest

Friends, Tin Pan Valley, Another Tribe, Spoonful, Black Dog, Going to California, The Enchanter, What Is And What Should Never Be, Heartbreaker, Four Sticks, Funny in My Mind (I Believe I’m Fixin’ to Die), Whole Lotta Love
Encores: Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Rock and Roll.

Review: Robert Plant, Byron Bay Bluesfest, by: Noel Mengel from the
THERE is a special electric charge that goes through an audience when an artist can play a really big song, one that speaks across the generations.
In the case of Robert Plant, of course, there are dozens of these at his disposal from his career with Led Zeppelin.
At Byron Bay Bluesfest you could feel the range of emotions unleashed when Plant and his band, the Sensational Space Shifters, slyly worked their way into Led Zep’s Whole Lotta Love at the high point of their headlining set on Saturday.
The place felt like it was levitating.
Talking to people in that crowd you could understand the release they felt. Some of them had travelled from points all over Australia for this chance to see Plant. Most of them were resigned to never seeing Led Zeppelin play live.
A few in the crowd might have seen them in Australia in 1972, although surely most of this audience were not born then, and many not old enough to have seen the Jimmy Page and Robert Plant tour here in the ’90s.
But a good number of them would have seen the Celebration Day film and DVD of Led Zep’s 2007 reunion and been reminded how powerful those songs sound when played live.
Expectation was intense, especially now that people can read set lists from around the world and see how many Led Zeppelin songs have featured in Plant’s sets.
In some ways, Plant has the most difficult task at the Bluesfest. He’s a musician who always wants to be moving on, finding new ways to keep material fresh, new combinations of instrumentation, new ways to appease his inner fan who loves music from folk to country, blues and Middle Eastern music.
Many in the audience would, presumably, love nothing better than for him to play those Led Zep songs note for note.
Former Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant performs on stage with his band The Sensational Space Shifters at Bluesfest Byron Bay 2013. Picture: Matt Roberts
He doesn’t, and in a way that’s a better representation of the Zep legacy, as one of the most inventive of rock bands with a broad sweep of influences, than just being a hit machine.
As with the Page and Plant tour here, this set finds new ways to explore the legacy, introducing musicians like Julder Camara, who plays a variety of African stringed instruments in spaces where Jimmy Page once roamed free.
With his six-piece band Plant is able to find exciting ways to deliver these songs, with Black Dog and Four Sticks and even Heartbreaker given more of a hint of folk, which of course is there anyway in classics like Going to California and Friends.
The set by Crosby, Stills and Nash at last year’s Bluesfest was a forceful demonstration that age does not weary exceptional material. Plant’s Saturday set did the same thing. You had the feeling that this music is a living thing, not some ancient artefact for keeping under glass.
There has been plenty of great music at Bluesfest this year, from Wilco to Taj Mahal. But Plant’s set is no doubt one people will still be talking about for years to come.
Actually, they had plenty of time to talk about it in the car park afterwards, with some patrons stuck for more than two hours apparently because of an accident further down the highway.
Patience was tested, but I am sure most would have felt that the music would be more memorable than the inconvenience.
Bluesfest continues until Monday when Paul Simon is the star attraction.

Another Tribe

The Enchanter

Fixin To Die

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