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Robert Plant Presents…….Sensational Space Shifters – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, HSBC Arena

18 October 2012 1,543 views No Comment

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, HSBC Arena

Fixing to Die
Tin Pan Valley
Forty Four
Somebody Knocking
Black Dog
Bron-y-Aur Stomp
Another Tribe
Ramble On
I’m Your Witch Doctor
Who Do You Love/Whole Lotta Love/Steal Away/Bury My Body


Going to California
Gallow’s Pole
Rock and Roll

Robert Plant Presents The Sensational Space Shifters in Rio: This report of the opening gig via Andre Cruz of Rio De Janeiro:

16 years and nine months. A long, long time without a Led Zeppelin related concert in Brasil or South America. But the wait was over with an unforgettable night with a very well balanced mix of Blues, Folk,World Music and even Rock `n` Roll. Without Country! With the Sensational Space Shifters debuting “Ramble On”, “Going To California” and “Rock `N` Roll”. The frustration of not seeing Celebration Day on October 17th disappeared completely during a gig with nothing more or less than 1h47m, better in time, shape and form than any fan couldimagine – the show ended with 1h28m and the band returned to encore
with more three songs. Just to compare, the show that I saw last year in Nimes ended in only 69 minutes.

The HSBC Arena has the same format inside than the O2 Arena in London.But contrary to the “Night of The Nights”, the first concert after all the “Celebration Day” excitement was not sold out. One hour before the show, the thought was that the venue should be very big to the event. But little by little people started to create a good atmosphere and Ibelieve that something between seven or eight thousand fans went to see the Robert Plant new project. I have to say that many friends of mine, all of them zeppelin fans, did not see the show because don`t like so much Plant`s recent work.

In 2012, times with fast news spread around the world by internet,there were fans that were wishing (maybe daydreaming) that Plant could sing Stairway To Heaven. But you guys from Europe or USA have to keepin mind that almost everybody here that loves Zep and Plant was notable to see him in a concert since January of 1996 when Page & Plant played São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro only. It´s easier to understand and enjoy all the Plant career when you can see it year by year or time to time.

No supporting act, by the grace of the god! Just good band songs, like Humble Pie. Ten minutes before 22:00 the screen showed a video about the ABC Trust work here in Brasil helping children. Saw Jimena talking about all this. And I remembered with great joy that was because of this amazing work that I was able to met Jimmy Page in November of
2009 here in Rio de Janeiro. He put his blessed hand in my wife`s womb waiting our daughter. I got some photos with him, got my Led Zeppelin 1 personalized signed “André, Rock On!” and then his autograph. And I imagine that Page and Plant, somehow, still get many interests in common. It´s really a shame that they don`t want to play together

Sorry, coming back to reality, the concert started 22:01, 01:01 of October 19th in UK time. The surprise was a different and new introduction with a voice talking about Sensational Space Shifters and Robert Plant before the band come to the stage. When he appeared, the
crowd gave a welcome back scream. As I was expecting, “Fixing to Die” was the opener. But without any comment saying that this is a Bukka White song. “Tin Pan Valley” followed and it was a great version, with that zeppelin style that makes this song one of my fave Plant solo
tunes. Before “44” Plant explained it is a Howlin Wolf song. After this third song he started to talk and play with the audience in a very good mood. “I`m messing” he said after a sequence of a kind of zep screams and before “Friends”, the first Led Zeppelin song of the night. Of course the crowd loved. It could be strange but in my opinion “Spoonful” was better – I really like his version of another Howlin Wolf classic. So the five first songs of the set list were the
same of the last four shows – the same since that London night in July passing to Womad, Sunflower and Alabama. And before the show, was screened that the Rio concert, as the London was, will be available to download at

“Somebody Knocking” starts and the set list was changed. But no only the set list… Patty Griffin was not singing along with Plant.
We had only Plant singing (despite some Juldeh Camara vocals). My wife was seeing a Plant concert for the very first time and after the show she said that it was way better than she expected.

Some people were screaming “Rock N Roll” from time to time and these ones should not liked the “Black Dog” version. But Plant and many fans did! When “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” was played the zep fans got a kind of good flash back because the version was very similar to the original one – I remembered listen to this song during the sound-check at Nimes
and at that time was a surprise in the set list.

At this time Plant already spoken “obrigado” (Thank You) and “E aí galera!” (something like “what`s up folks”). Without Griffin (and without “Ohio”, “No Bad News” and “Standing”) I was waiting more songs from The Strange Sensations era. Almost the entire band was at the
stage. “The Enchanter”, played only at Womad this year, and “AnotherTribe”, played only in London this year during the encore, made me glad not only because I was right – because these songs are really good and the warm reaction of the crowd confirmed that.

And then the first big surprise: “Ramble On”. First time played by Sensational Space Shifters. First song of the O2 arena concert played alive by a Led Zeppelin member after “Celebration Day” premieres. Before “I`m Your Witchdoctor” Plant told the crowd that “this song of the 60`s was produced by a friend of mine”. I told my wife that was Jimmy Page and a guy near us started to scream “Jimmy Page”. The only one “JP” scream that I heard, but I couldn`t count how many times I heard the “Rock `N` Roll” scream.

The medley with Who Do You Love, Whole Lotta Love, Steal Away and Bury My Body “finished” the concert. Not satisfied the people that was screaming “Rock `n` Roll”. Plant said nothing about 16 years without a concert in Brasil, but said something like “see you soon”. When I saw that up till then the concert was clocking almost one hour and a half
I got surprised in a good way.

All that I want at this point was to see “Song To Siren” and “Gallows Pole”. But Plant returned to stage with only Justin Adams and Liam Tyson and we all were blessed with an outstanding version of “Going To California”. Embraced by my wife, I almost cried. “Gallows Pole” made seven Zep songs at this concert. It was the last one in Nimes, it will be the last one here. But the band stayed at the stage. And guess what: we got “Rock `n` Roll” played for the first time by Sensational Space Shifters, with Juldeh Camera trying to fit in a rock version. Everybody jumping. Zep rules in a Grand Finale. And the Plant last words were: “44 years ago, Oh Yeah!”. What has 44 years now? A band called Led Zeppelin…

One set list was throw out to the crowd – I didn`t get it but got a photo from the lucky guy. And saw that “Rock `N` Roll was not in there… The second and last one set list did not get into the crowd and a security guy took it. I explain my fan and collector situation but he said his boss wanted it – but really fast I discovered that he want it to sell.I paid him 25 reais, something like 8 pounds, and the set list that was the Plant one now will stay forever with my family. The first set list after “Celebration Day” mania. Me and more ten or fifteen fans
spent more 45 minutes waiting outside the venue to try to get an autograph but Plant leave the house without even open his car`s window. Even this way “I wanna Thank You!”

This report by Mark Archer – Many of you will recall Mark’s excellent Zep magazine Wearing And Tearing published in 1990. Mark is now based in Rio.

Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters HSBC Arena Rio de Janeiro 18th October 2012

The first gig of Robert’s mini-tour of South America kicked off at the usually cavernous HSBC Arena but the organisers had closed the upstairs sections on the sides and moved the stage forward to create a more intimate feel. The venue was not sold out instead about three-quarters full. All proceeds from the sale of tickets went to the ABC Trust and before the show, a video was shown narrated by Jimena Page-Paratcha about the work of the trust she founded. The band and Plant were announced onstage by a bizarre American-accent-boxing-ring-style tape praising Plant for his excellence and his 40 years of being a legend. I really hope this was tongue-in-cheek.

I saw the July gig of the Space Shifters at the HMV Forum in London and like many fans I had reservations about the lengthy segment by Patty Griffin, the overuse of the ritti by Gambian virtuoso Juldeh Camara, and the de-Zeppelinisation of Black Dog to Black-Dog-To-A-Completely-Different-Tune as it should be called now. Also Plant seemed a bit subdued that night too, wandering the stage drinking tea out of a flask.

It was obvious that he needed to re-work the set for a South American audience who have waited since 1996 for another Plant concert, so we had three big surprises in the addition of Going To California, Ramble On and Rock ‘n’ Roll mostly faithful to the originals and sung with great enthusiasm by the audience. These highlights combined with brilliant versions of Friends, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp and Gallows Pole kept the mostly youthful audience enthralled. Liam ‘Skin’ Tyson did most of the acoustic guitar parts of the Zeppelin songs whilst Justin Adams concentrated on the electric parts.
Plant was in superb voice, his trademarks oooooohs sending shivers down the spine. His voice is still a remarkable instrument. He sang some parts of the old songs a octave lower like theThrow me a line if I reach it in time / I’ll meet you up there where the path runs straight and high.’ Actually he fluffed one of the lines of Going To California and we missed the opening line too as his microphone was off, but first night nerves aside he delivered a heart rending version of it and he was quite emotional at the end of it. Adams played mandolin and Skin acoustic guitar, although they didn’t try to accurately recreate the exact Page and Jones arrangement.

I’m Your Witchdoctor was a highlight and he mentioned it was produced by an ‘old friend of mine.’ Whether any of the Cariocas knew what he was talking about is another matter, but this John Mayall blues-lite track was well received.

The Space Shifters are a tight outfit and they were particularly impressive on the blues tracks, Bukka White’s Fixin’ To Die, Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘44’ and ‘Spoonful.’ Justin Adams played some brutal, angular blues solos but in a very non-rock way. Somebody Knocking, Another Tribe, The Enchanter and Tin Pan Valley all from Mighty Rearranger, give an idea of how still rates this 2005 album. Enchanter was probably the most experimental track of the night but the audience were supportive and I think he made a comment afterwards about ‘needing to do that one.’

Back to Black Dog, Plant has experimented with this one constantly over the years. The Strange Sensation version was fairly closely related to the Zeppelin version with some inversions, the banjo-riffed Plant/Krauss version took it somewhere else, and now we have the Space Shifters version with Camara on kologo, ritti and vocals. The audience sang along although I’m not sure if they ‘got it.’

Overall this was an enjoyable gig and I had large clouds of strangely perfumed smoke drifting into my face throughout the evening whilst three security guards pushed through the crowd looking for smokers in a non-smoking venue. They got away I think…

Many thanks to Andre and Mark for the speedy feedback. Above photo Andre Cruz for TBL

44 Blues

Black Dog

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