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BBC Radio 2 Recording – Competition Winners Gig – Scala Theatre, London

27 April 2005 3,925 views No Comment

Rave Shine It Intro
Another Tribe/Shine It All Around/Black Dog/Freedom Fries/Morning Dew/That’s The Way/All The Kings Horses/Tin Pan Valley/Takamba/Gallows Pole/Mighty Rearranger/When The Levee Breaks
Encores: The Enchanter/Whole Lotta Love
(BIGLY listed on set-list but not played)
Approx 95 mins

This from Dave Linwood TBL/Webman
OK for the last time as TBL/Webman, here’s a review on the most recent show – what a great journey it’s been – and to finish with one of the best!

Its Wednesday- and it’s BBC Radio 2 Competition Winners night! Being recorded for broadcast in May this is the band’s 2nd gig in the capital in three weeks – and what a contrast to the last one!
The Scala is a modest sized club in Kings Cross – used as a regular gigging venue, its also used by record companies to showcase new bands, new material etc. Tonight it is ringed with BBC vans and the mixture of punters and “record company lovey-doveys” – creating a national shortage of clipboards and laminate pass holders. The hall itself is an odd multi layered affair – it doesn’t go back far, but it stretches up high! TBL scientists put the attendance at around 500-600 people.

With no pre-planning or cunning whatsoever and after less than an hour of queuing, the TBL Webman finds himself right at the front of the stage leaning on the conveniently placed barrier cum coat/bag/beer shelf. Beers in line. Camera charged up. Sorted!
Plant passes by climbing onto the stage, stumbling on Skin’s guitar pedals – laughs all round.

The atmosphere during the gig reminds me of the Plant/Page ULU show. No pushing or shoving – but hot and plenty of noise. Boy did the band get a warm welcome! Planty looks genuinely taken aback by the huge roar…..this is gonna be good.
We get a very changed set-list from the RAH gig. Eight numbers are played from the new album, I suspect there will be a few collectors items (i.e. rarely played again live in the future) amongst them. Scribbled lyric sheets adorn Plant’s magic carpet.

Another Tribe is a new one on me – and I like it. A shuffling sort of song but catchy nonetheless. (Think Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues)
Shine It All Around is more familiar to many in the audience and gets a good roar from the crowd at the end.

Black Dog certainly has caused quite a lot of debate – some really like it, others not. Personally, I’m with the former group, I like the way it moves & swings (hmmm. along with the lyrics?).

The appearance of a hot mug of liquid caused one female audience member to ask whether it had a hot lemon in it – cue much mirth from Plant looking down at his trousers – in fact this became the running gag of the evening. The proximity of the band to the audience allowed a lot of onstage/offstage banter – yours truly winding up Plant for forgetting to introduce the keyboard player during the band intros..

Freedom Fries has Plant studying his (protest) lyric sheet. Sorry, not keen on this song – just feels too stop-start for me.
Morning Dew – pretty much a standard these days. As always grows in stature as the song progresses – a chance for John Baggott to express himself on the keyboards, the band standing to one side as he plays the solo.
That’s the Way is delicate and includes modified guitar/mandolin chord sequences at the end. Skin on acoustic guitar, Justin Adams on Mandolin.
All The Kings Horses is well received and is a fine song. Some great playing from the boys on this – I particularly like Skin’s acoustic guitar work. (Note the name on the set-list!)
Tin Pan Valley is probably my favourite track from the album – the hypnotic synth siren-call and airy accompaniment contrasting the “like this” guitar *explosion. Brilliant dynamics. Interesting watching Clive Deamer drumming on this, calm one minute, furious the next.

Takamba – again like Freedom Fries I’m not so sure.
Gallows Pole. Have to say I groaned when I first saw this reappear on the set-lists but true to form, GallowsPole(2005 Edition) has been Sensationalised – and it works really well!
Mighty Rearranger – first time listen for me and its another impressive catchy, rocky little number with a nice sing-a-long feel to it.
Levee seems to have claimed its place as the rightful set closer for 2005 – with an imperious swagger, this number finishes off the set – and audience brilliantly. Billy Fuller avec double bass stage centre contributing the labourers’ moans.

For encores we get The Enchanter, a simple song which grows in texture as it progresses with a nice climax (Plant’s voice whispering “free” wafts in via a backing tape).
The old warhorse Whole Lotta Love ends the night. Contrary to reports, its not a Theramin being used, Skin instead choosing to twiddle a box of tricks to add to the general cacophony and chaos.

How good was it? Its very difficult to be objective when you have such a fantastic vantage point, so I will let other reviewers give their opinion.For the record, I thought they were brilliant. They absolutely nailed it – a real team effort. Plant was in excellent form and his voice was in great shape. Can’t wait to hear the radio broadcast.


This From Dave Lewis
Some observations on another great night: Alongside the obvious showcasing of Mighty Rearranger (easily the most ambitiously constructed album of Robert Plant’s entire solo career) – the real trademark of this tour has been the re-tooling of the Zep songs. Tonight it was his enthusiasm for Black Dog, That’s The Way and Levee that again left me in awe. Add to that an intelligently presented Gallows Pole – Over played on the Plant and Page tour, this arrangement allowed the essence of the original to breath again. Of the new songs Tin Pan Valley was a supreme exercise in control and invention, Takamba delighted with it’s clipped dynamics and and complex rhythms and The Enchanter was a classic case of Plant melodrama. And finally Whole Lotta Love -delivered with a panache and passion that defined the years. For me personally this was another night of stark realisation.
Half a lifetime ago after seeing the man on stage at Earls Court, his unquenchable thirst for live performance is just remarkable. In an ever changing world one thing remains constant. Robert Plant is still the master. This special night at the Scala was ample proof and then some. Suffice to say – as the tour rolls on, catch this show wherever you can.
DL 28/04/05.


This from Mick Bulow
Get into the Scala and straight away you get the vibe that this is going to be something special. Its very dark, ethnic influenced music plays to get the audience “In The Mood”, we can stand and there’s a buzz. Lights go up and suddenly Richard Allinson’s on stage whipping the crowd further into a frenzy. Reminding us that this is being recorded for broadcast (Radio 2, sometime in May), we’re told its a “live set” so it goes out as is- so if you like it, show you do! And we really did. This was an absolutely awesome gig and the crowd didn’t need any encouragement to show their appreciation. Plant & The Strange Sensation got it spot on. Something old, something new, something ‘borrowed’ and dare I say it something that is mightily re-arranged.

We are taken through Another Tribe, Shine It All Around, Black Dog, Freedom Fries and Morning Dew getting to appreciate how well the interaction crosses between stage and audience.

Between songs Robert sips from a mug. “Is that hot lemon?” someone shouts to which he replies, “That’s not where I keep my lemon, dear”. Refering to the infamous “sock-monster” he quirps how that will get edited out in the radio mix! I hope not, its part of the atmosphere surrounding this show. “Thats The Way” follows and he remarks how comfortable he feels. No wonder, this is amazing.

Kings Horses, Tin Pan Valley,Takamba gets dedicated to Our President…it doesn’t get much better than this. Finishing with When The Levee Breaks with its “bye, byes” we don’t want them to go so they get called back for an Encore. Someone shouts for “The Enchanter” to which Plant retorts “How do you know that? Its like a Royal secret;”I even know the result of the election” Well, Robert if you were standing for vote on this you’d win by a landslide. Concluding with an awesome version of Whole Lotta Love, thank you very much Robert & The Strange Sensation.

I hope that the radio broadcast does this justice as this show was a master truly practising his art at its pinnacle.

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