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Robert Plant Presents…….Sensational Space Shifters – Hunter Valley, AUSTRALIA – Newcastle Entertainment Centre

31 March 2013 7,841 views No Comment

down under perth 3

Robert Plant Presents…….Sensational Space Shifters – Hunter Valley, AUSTRALIA – Newcastle Entertainment Centre

Setlist included:
Another Tribe, Tin Pan Valley, Heartbreaker, Four Sticks, Going To California, What Is And Should Never Be, Spoonful, Black Dog, Whole Lotta Love
Encores: Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Rock and Roll.

This round up by Bill McGlynn:
Just returned from my third Robert Plant & SSS concert, in Newcastle. It’s been three wonderful nights, to say the least! All three setlists have been the same and the orders have varied. In Newcastle, it started with a very powerful version of Friends.
The venues and audiences have been quite different over the three nights.
Robert and band really fed off the crowd excitement at the festival in Byron Bay. Robert was breaking out many of the old moves at this one. We heard the ‘push – push it’ in there somewhere and he was doing the double-hand box over the eyes at one point! There were many devoted Plant fans in the festival audience. The front few rows had been camped in their spots all day. There was a fair mixture of old and young at this one. Robert Plant, with humour, remarked on the noise that Iggy Pop was making in the adjacent tent (Iggy could be heard between numbers – though not a problem).
Newcastle was very fortunate to catch a more intimate Plant performance. I guessed that there were only 2-3 thousand there. The show (along with Paul Simon’s) had been moved from the larger capacity venue in the Hunter Valley. Robert’s first comments were an apology for this and he humorously remarked that it was due to the 18-thousand that didn’t show up.
However, lucky us! My seat was front row centre, within a few metres from the man himself. I was literally trembling from being so close to something this powerful. Though this was their 3rd show in 4-nights and maybe 1000km between, it didn’t show on them. Their output and performance effort was no less for this smaller and more subdued crowd. Plant asked ‘where have you been?’ when the crowd turned it up for the final numbers.
Favourite song variations for me were on Whole Lotta Love, which has been progressively incorporating more of “You Shook Me” into the intro. Last night, Plant’s drawn out singing of the words ‘you shook me,’ in LZ format was awesome. I noticed three variations of the ‘it’s so hard’ part in Going to California. In Sydney, he emphasised and repeated ‘how hard’ it was, in Byron Bay it became ‘it’s not so hard’ (with a big grin on his face), and then last night as original. Another Tribe has had some slight and pleasant variations to the vocal melody (all-the-earth section). The Four Sticks improvisation sections have also been great.
Hopefully some of this tour will be officially made available on livedownloads

Zeppelin’s voice as heavenly as ever
Despite the saturation of iconic acts who visited Australia in March, all of which have ticket prices starting at over $100, it was disappointing to see a small crowd turn out for Robert Plant on Sunday night. It was not a surprise, however.
The concert had been moved from the 20,000 capacity Hope Estate vineyard to Newcastle Entertainment Centre due to slow ticket sales.
This was a smart move, as the 3000 or so rock purists in attendance would have been dwarfed by the voluminous expanse of the Pokolbin venue.
But a chatty and self-deprecating Plant did not care, joking about the absence of the -18,000 people that decided not to come” to the show.
Finely dressed opening act, and five-time Grammy winners, The Blind Boys of Alabama deftly delivered a stirring and spiritual set of their blues-rock interpretations of traditional gospel
The -Blind Boys” -vocalists Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Eric “Ricky” McKinnie – have soulful and timeless voices, and their three-part harmonies were utterly captivating.
This was to be expected, as the trio have had time to practice. Carter, Moore and McKinnie first sang together in the school chorus at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, Alabama, in 1939. They were a suitable spiritual opener for the main attraction.
Plant, accompanied by his psychedelic backing band The Sensational Space Shifters, stepped on stage to a chorus of reverent screams. As the voice of Led Zeppelin, 64-year-old Plant is irrefutably the most significant and gifted singer in the history of music.
His soaring, unmistakable vocals have been soaked into the psyche of listeners for over 40 years. But unlike many iconic rock groups that have continued to plough through a hit-and-miss career, Zeppelin ended at the peak of their powers in 1980 and, perhaps aided by the ethereal nature of their music, are shrouded in mystical aura.
For this reason, it was preternatural to hear that spine-tingling voice leave the mouth of a human being – and not an oversized pair of ’70s headphones. Plant and his band opened with Another Tribe and Tin Pan Valley, two tracks from the 2005 solo record Mighty ReArranger.
He then covered Howlin’ Wolf’s Spoonful. It was immediately apparent that the dynamic power, range and aching beauty of Plant’s voice has not left him. Every time he hit one of his trademark piercing wails, the audience’s collective intake of breath was closely followed by rapturous applause.
Gambian musician Juldeh Camara frequently stole the spotlight with his brilliant percussive interludes on the ritti, and Liam “Skin” Tyson, of cult Liverpudlian rock group Cast, provided diverse colours on lead and rhythm guitar.
Despite the strength of Plant’s solo material, the crowd was there to hear some Zeppelin tunes and the singer did not disappoint.
The first half of the show included Friends, a slowed, tripped-out version of Black Dog and a haunting, faithful version of Going To California.
Other Zeppelin songs included What Is and What Should Never Be from Led Zeppelin II, Heartbreaker and Four Sticks.
The main set finished with an epic reworking of Whole Lotta Love.
The crowd afforded Plant a standing ovation as he left before his encore. Then he returned for the finale – Bron-Y-Aur Stomp and Rock and Roll.
For Led Zeppelin fans who were not conceived in time to make it to the band’s only Australian tour in 1972, this concert was a worthy consolation.
Burned into the memory, it was a night of music that somewhere down the winding road punters will tell their grandchildren about.
Maitland Mercury – April 4, 2013.

Going To California

What Is And What Should Never Be

Rock N Roll

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