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Barrowland, Glasgow

23 October 2002 3,117 views No Comment

SET LIST (includes):
Hey Joe/Four Sticks/Down to the Sea/Morning Dew/7+7 is/Going to California/Ramble On/Girl From The North Country with In The Mood/A House is Not a Motel/Thank You/Tall Cool One/Babe I’m Gonna Leave You/Darkness Darkness/Whole Lotta Love


This from Michael Brett
This pre-war ballroom in Glasgow’s East End was the venue for an astonishing RP gig last night. It’s an all standing venue and was completely sold out (capacity approx 2,000). I managed to view proceedings from dead centre of the floor about a dozen yards from the stage.

RP and the Sensations took the stage just after 9pm. I’ve got to say Hey Joe is a debatable choice for an opener but this was more than compensated for by what happened later. The sound from the PA was crystal clear with none of the hissing reported at earlier dates. My personal favourite, was a mid-set storming version of Ramble On. The audience reaction was incredible. The phrase “the band knew they’d nailed it” is oft overused but not this time. From that point on the crowd was totally hooked. I shot a quick look at the people standing near me – broad grins all round.

Thank You followed soon after and the place erupted. The Sensations were as tight a unit as I’ve seen and the twin guitars of Skin and Justin were superb, especially on BIGLY. Robert was clearly loving every minute of it and his asides between songs were much longer than in previous tours. I particularly liked his remark about choosing between playing tonight’s gig or staying at home to watch Frasier (no contest). Before sitting down for GTC he alluded to the onset of the years – adopting a faux Scottish accent “Ah, a wee stool – it won’t be long before I need a wee stool to get through every song”.

Encores were Darkness, Darkness and a blasting Whole Lotta Love with disguised opening. Brilliant. The crowd wanted more but sadly that was it. The gig finished at 1050. The band left looking delighted with their night’s work and with the way the audience reacted to their playing . No parting hints about Zep reunions, but after a performance like that no one cared. I cannot find faults in any part of tonight’s show and I can’t remember enjoying any gig more than this one.

A few words about opener Nick Harper. Rarely have I seen a support act grabbing an audience the way he did. From the off, the audience were enthralled by the sheer exuberance of his playing and they stayed with him throughout. He left to loud cheers.

This from George Clarke
The 1,900 capacity,all standing Barrowland is by far the smallest venue I’ve ever seen Robert perform at and this,combined with some poor planning from me,meant that I had to negotiate with the scalpers in order to witness
Bob’s return to Glasgow.The touts were actually struggling to get their hands on tickets too,so the I think the £35 I eventually parted with for my ticket was a bit of a bargain.
I arrived upstairs just in time to catch the end of Nick Harper’s set and,to be honest,when I first heard him I thought he was a woman! I didn’t see enough of Harper to give a decent appraisal,but I can tell you that he has an extremely high pitched voice and he plays acoustic guitar so aggressively that you’d think he is trying to harm his instrument!

Hey Joe kicked things off,but in my opinion it’s a bit of a damp squib as an opener,I’d have preferred something a bit more up-tempo.I don’t want to sound like a moaner but I also thought Four Sticks was a bit ‘hit and miss’.Some parts of the song sounded fantastic while at other times it seemed a bit on the weak side.You’ll be glad to hear I’ve got no complaints about Down to the Sea,and Morning Dew was superb,really filling every inch of the room with sound.
It was time for Robert to hit us with some of his famed ‘Plantations’ and he went off on a ramble about the merits of Glasgow’s various music venues.It seems that he much prefers the Barrowland to Page and Plant venue,the SECC,or as Robert called it,’The big shed with the echoes’.Amazingly his jibes towards the SECC drew some booing from a section of the audience! I think the old Scottish trait of hypersensitivity to criticism was at play here.Everyone has known what a lousy venue the SECC is since the day it replaced the old Led Zeppelin haunt,and much loved,Apollo Theatre as Glasgow’s main concert hall,but to hear an outsider criticise it was still more than some people could handle.Ho hum.

Before Going to California there was just time for Robert to put on his best Scottish accent to thank the roadie for giving him his ‘wee stool’ to sit on.This promped someone in the audience to remind Robert that,at his age,he ought to be checking his stools every day for any sign of irregularities! I enjoyed this rendition of the song,and even had the chance to participate during the singalong section.Interestingly,Robert missed his cue to start singing one of the verses,bringing back memories of a thirty year old bootleg of him doing the very same thing on the same song.Some
things never change.
The two performances that really pleased me were Thank You and Ramble On mainly because they were completely unexpected.I couldn’t beleive my ears when I realised that they were launching into Thank You and neither could the
other members of the crowd judging by the positive reaction.Skin had a fantastically meaty guitar sound during Ramble On and the song really benefitted from the two guitar attack.
It was nice to see Tall Cool One which was dedicated to, ‘the guy in the white jump suit…..no,not Van Morrison’,as Robert put it.It’s good to see that the cringe inducing spoken section of the song remains ditched in favour of some guitar licks.A really energetic and powerful performance.An hour and fifty minutes after they kicked-off,a very enjoyable version of Whole Lotta Love was coming to an end as Robert pointed directly at a young lady in the crowd and informed her in no uncertain terms that,’ You neeeed love’.After the band had taken their bows and Robert had promised to see us again soon (hopefully sooner than the four years it took him to return this time!) he still found time to clearly mouth the words ‘bye bye’ to yet another nubile young woman who was sitting on her friends shoulders.
This was a highly satisfactory,if unspectacular outing from the guys and it was well received by an audience who were lively for the most part,if not quite as manic as some Barrowland crowds I’ve seen.All in all,we got what we
asked for,something old,something new,something borrowed…….and Morning Dew. Sorry,I’ll get me coat.

Steve Mostyn adds:

I arrive with no ticket – outside the Glasgow Barowlands , tout offers tickets at £40.The girl next to me offers a face value ticket – this night is starting well.
What a night of history – starting with the guitar string breaking, breathless Nick Harper who has the same resonant vocals as his old man Roy – Led Zeppelin’s mentor. Nick went down well with some Zep inspired riffs that fired up an eager crowd – go see him …..And what crowd – twentysomethings to sixtysomethings- quiet in hushed anticipation of Robert who slunk on to start with ‘Hey Joe’ (he was greeted with the rapture of an encore when he was spotted – and he had n’t even sung a note) – who knows the sequence , but we got treated to BIGLY , Ramble on , 7+7 four Sticks, Down To The Sea, Morning Dew, Going To California- (incedible to witness live), Girl From The North Country/In The Mood, Darkness, Funny In My Mind (I Believe I’m Fixin’ To Die) Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. Whole Lotta Love
Robert’s physical presence and charisma was awesome – including the trademark blues screaming – a connection to his own history seemed stronger then ever . Most of all he is having fun and enjoying himself – ordering cups of tea from proud roadie – presented in Zeppelin tea mug !
Plant ‘jokes’ range from comments on Elvis impersonators , spandau ballet , Van Morrison and Darius ‘you’re not supposed to have heard from him’ to self mocking of his own legacy .A legacy he has created and can stand tall to.
What a night !
John Kilpatrick concurs:
We SCOTS always knew we were ‘the chosen race’ It was very refreshing to have this belief confirmed by
Plants’ inspired choice of the Barrowland Glasgow .I have been awestruck by Zeppelin in the 70’s Rocked and rattled by PLANT in the 80’s, Rolled and Elated by P and P in the 90,s
I was seriously contemplating therapy after 23 OCT 2002, I believe he cannot do it again! 2000 people left this venue dumbstruck, a quiet exit. 10 minutes later ,it struck home. This man has put together one of the finest paintings since Guernica. A masterpiece of music and presence. Jaw dropping. I’m not renowned for outbursts of emotion, the Barrowland gig was more than an emotional experience. I witnessed real passion for music from a man who will never experience ‘the midnight hour’. A performance he should see as probably one of his finest. But, he knew that, I saw it in his face!
I’d love to bore you with fact and figure but I aint landed yet, my wife Jane and our friend Francis will have to be shot down, or at least dazed and confused, if we can talk them down….for a while…..

Tim Bennett describes:
At last a decent venue for a true Golden God! The Barowlands, an intimate family affair and what a show, marks out of 10 – I give 11. I have seen RP now 3 times and he continues to blow me away, like a phoenix he is reborn on every new tour. Ramble on had us all jumping, a timeless classic, while a pleasant surprise were the Arthur Lee tunes, 7 and 7 is…. along with, A House is Not a Motel, great songs that RP made his own!! while Whole lotta Love was the dirtiest and most sleazy rendition i have ever heard, awesome!
Compliments to the band, the twin guitars, nothing flash but pure class. The haunting e bow melody of Morning Dew sent shivers through me, something i will not forget in a hurry along with the Arabic influences throughout the gig. RP’s voice like a fine wine continues to get better with age. I think his secret is Typhoo!! (A brand of Tea)
I have one criticism though, the minority of jeering west coast fair weather Zeppers, next time, don’t buy a ticket! If there’s to be another tour in the future I hope they come to the North East of Scotland too, we are much more friendlier
And the support, well to be honest I wasn’t particularly bothered about catching him, but I’m so glad I did, what a player, Nick Harper stirred the crowds loins, a great performance, will be buying his music too.

This from Stephen Pollock
Well back to the Barrowlands, and thank god after too encounters with Page\Plant at the SECC (exhibition centre with the atmosphere of a morgue and acoustics of an aircraft hanger). Nick Harper was supporting and his socialist lyrics, Jeff Buckley style vocal gymnastics and punk strumming set the crowed alight. What a guitarist! – that boys ‘ got more chords than “Wranglers.”

The punters: Well, I was expecting to see a sea of grey ponytails and ageing denim-clad rockers, but the crowd was a good mix of young and old. With lots of rock chicks too! About 8:45 some portly roadies planted some jaw sticks on the edge of the stage and Plant strolled on soon after. Watching Plant that night reminded me of the Peter Grant quote where he always insisted that seeing Led Zeppelin on video\TV never came close to the live experience: Plants huge frame filled the stage and the crowd were transfixed on his thespian hand movements and gyrations across the stage. The vocals were on top form all night, with only one fluff with a high note in the bridge section of “Going
to California”. My only gripe was that “Down to the Sea” a poppy 80s song sat uncomfortably with the rest of the folk\blues\new age material. But what a gig and performance.

The crowd really brought the house down and I think Plant appreciated the enthusiasm. It was such a good atmosphere, all standing in the Barrowlands. The Sensations are musically very tight, but still left room for some rough edges and improvisation.

Some nice Plantations as well, saying “This one (“Going to California”) is for Robbie Williams. (The feud continues, I’m waiting for an MTV celebrity death match.) And rabbiting on about an Indian guy from Cardiff with a turban and a jump-suit.??? Eh, what ever floats your boat Roberto. Lots of stuff about King Arthur and British history as well. I cant wait ’till he’s sixty and starts doing John Mills style lectures with a smoking jacket and cigarette holder!

I’ve now seen Jones and Plant in small venues and I much prefer this to the large Zep style reunion stadium stuff, both in terms of intimacy and performance. Sadly, I just don’t think Pageys got it anymore, I think a mixture of stage nerves and age have taken a toll on his playing. It always seem so sloppy and ramshackled these days, I just hope he can recover the confidence again and prove us all wrong. Now that would be something…
Davie Purves concludes:
I waited a long time to see Robert in Scotland, since he visited with Jimmy in ’98 at “that old shed down the road” (SECC), a comment which had the audience in full agreement. The Barrowlands may be a dump but it sure has an atmosphere of it’s own. I never got to see Zep but I’ve been to the Plant solo tours and both of the Page & Plant outings but what impressed me most was that Robert was obviously enjoying himself. He chatted between most songs and I don’t think I’ve seen him so relaxed, at ease and smiling. Content to be accompanied by an accomplished backing band in the Strange Sensation. I’m in no doubt Robert has not performed any better.
On leaving the merchandising stall I bumped into Justin Adams and Charlie Jones, they gave me a photo opportunity and commented that they were all delighted to be “rockin’ on”. Let’s hope this excellent outfit continue for some time to come.
This was my old man’s first ever gig at the age of 69. He collapsed with the heat at the end of Ramble On but he recovered to watch the rest of the show seated at the refreshment stall, thanks to the guy who helped carry him out.
I’d like to thank the band for a great show, the response from the crowd said it all. Whether Robert comes back with Zep or the Strange Sensation……who knows, but he’d be hard pushed to better that show.

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