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Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy – Berkeley, CA – The Greek

22 April 2011 3,340 views One Comment

Photo by Mark-Van-Manen

Set list included

Black Dog

Black Country Woman

House of Cards

Please Read the Letter


Angel Dance

Satisfied Mind

Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down

Houses of the Holy

Ramble On

In The Mood


She has Funny Cars

Gallows Pole

We Bid You Good Night

Review: Robert Plant delivers `Joy’-filled Greek show

By Jim Harrington Oakland Tribune

Part of me wishes that Robert Plant had never met producer T-Bone Burnett. If T-Bone hadn’t helped turn the British rocker into a first-rate Americana artist — something that started with Plant’s Burnett-produced collaboration with Alison Krauss, 2007’s “Raising Sand” — then maybe we’d have seen a Led Zeppelin reunion tour by now. And that’s really what we’re all waiting for, right?

Well, for better or worse, it looks like we’ll have to cool our heels. The 62-year-old vocalist achieved so much success with “Raising Sand,” which won five trophies at the 2009 Grammy Awards and has been certified platinum in both the U.S. and the U.K., it won’t be necessary for him to draw from the Led Zep nostalgia well anytime soon.

Instead, he’s hit the road in support of a second batch of rootsy Americana songs, last year’s “Band of Joy,” which wasn’t produced by Burnett but sure sounds as if it were. The Burnett vibe — typified by sparse arrangements that walk the line between country and pop, usually colored through a stark juxtaposition of warm vocals and steely cool electric guitar — was even more apparent Friday night when Plant and company performed at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre.

“Band of Joy” is more than just an album title. It’s also the name of Plant’s new group, a reboot of the blues-rock ensemble he worked with before joining Led Zep. This version features Plant, percussionist Marco Giovino, bassist Byron House, multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott, vocalist Patty Griffin and guitarist Buddy Miller (who coproduced “Band of Joy” with Plant).

And the one thing that was made abundantly clear during Friday’s concert, which drew a near-capacity crowd of mostly fans old enough to have bought “Led Zeppelin IV” on eight-track, is that this is a real band — not just a megastar backed by some random players. Scott, Miller and (of course) Griffin each took turns on lead vocals, and none disappointed.

The question on seemingly everybody’s lips going into the show was how much Led Zep would the band play? As it turned out, Plant was comparatively generous — much more so than on some other dates of the tour — and flew the Zeppelin to the tune of a half-dozen songs, a third of the 18-number set.

Not every Zep number, however, works for this band. That’s something the crowd would discover at the very start of the show as the troupe opened with “Black Dog.” The immortal “Led Zeppelin IV” rocker was zapped of all its power and urgency through a plodding country/folk-rock arrangement.

The troupe would redeem itself quite nicely a few songs later with a subdued, yet moving take on Zep’s “Black Country Woman,” from 1975’s “Physical Graffiti,” and then as it softly peeled its way through “Tangerine,” from 1970’s “Led Zeppelin III.”

Moving beyond Zep, Band of Joy would fill its set list with scads of other well-chosen cover songs, like Los Lobos’ “Angel Dance,” Porter Wagoner’s “A Satisfied Mind” (sung by Scott), Uncle Tupelo’s “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” and, best of all, Richard Thompson’s “House of

The band’s harmony vocal work was stellar throughout the night, and the musicianship was top-notch. The Band of Joy closed the main set with two Zeppelin favourites, “Houses of the Holy” and “Ramble On,” and then returned with one more, “Gallows Pole,” in the encore. It closed in
appropriate fashion with the old Grateful Dead a cappella number “And We Bid You Goodnight” — surely Plant’s way of tipping his hat to Bay Area fans.

By Jim Harrington Oakland Tribune

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

One Comment »

  • Mark Harrison said:

    Berkeley CA
    What glorious memories that name evokes
    I’ll never forget the first time I heard the “Going To California” multi-coloured vinyl bootleg years ago!! What a STORMING show that was! I really had never heard anything like it – and I include “Blueberry Hill” in that! I always preferred that show anyway
    Just a thought Dave!
    Mark Harrison

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