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Home » Robert Plant

Chicago (Auditorium Theatre)

9 July 2005 2,302 views No Comment

No Quarter, Shine It All Around, Black Dog, Freedom Fries, Morning Dew, That’s The Way, Hey Hey What Can I Do, Tin Pan Valley, Heartbreaker, Mighty Rearranger, Gallows Pole, When The Levee Breaks
Encores: The Enchanter, Whole Lotta Love

This from Jay M. Lewis
I just got back from the SOLD OUT show at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, and I really enjoyed the evening. Unlike virtually every Page/Plant/Jones experience I’ve had over the last decade or so, I did not check in to the TBL concert logs to get a sneak peek at the goings on for this tour. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, hadn’t read a single review, and hadn’t even seen a set list before going to the show tonight. I was totally and completely clueless as to what I would actually witness when Robert walked on stage tonight. By the end of the evening, I was actually quite surprised at the number of Zep numbers that were played, but was pleasantly surprised by the entire show. A few thoughts…

First, this was my first visit to the newly remodeled Auditorium Theater in downtown Chicago. The historical significance of the place notwithstanding, the interior is absolutely amazing! I had never been in this facility before, but it is now one of my favorite venues in the Chicagoland area. It is conveniently located, the sound was very good (brand new system) and the newly renovated and restored interior, including the AMAZING gold leaf ceiling displays, was incredible.

I was also amazed at how many people were DANCING at this concert tonight. I listened to Robert during an interview/special feature he did for a great radio station here in Chicago (WXRT) the afternoon before the show. He mentioned that “they” had been remixing tracks from Mighty Rearranger and dropping off white label copies at dance clubs in New York. Evidently, the tracks were getting played and were receiving some good reviews, but nobody had a clue as to who had created the music, or more importantly, who was singing. Of course, the TBL faithful wouldn’t be fooled! ; )

Admittedly, the last two Plant solo releases haven’t received much playing time on my stereo. It isn’t that I haven’t enjoyed them or that I don’t think they’re quality releases…quite the contrary. I think very highly of both albums. For some reason, I just haven’t been able to really hang my hat on anything about the last two released or find something that draws me back again and again…like I could easily do with “Fate of Nations”. Still, I was familiar with the material from “Mighty Rearranger” as I had purchased the album the week it came out. I was pretty pleased with the amount of material that was performed from the new disc, although I thought that Robert might play more from Dreamland. “Morning Dew” was the only number from Dreamland that made it into the set tonight, with NO other Plant solo material making the list…at least that I recall. As I mentioned above, I was completely surprised and totally enthused with the Zeppelin tunes that DID make it onto the setlist…way more than I had anticipated. The version of “No Quarter” at the top of the show was very good, and “Black Dog” had everyone out of their seats participating in the call-and-response section of the song. I was very impressed with the “acoustic” numbers that were performed, as “That’s The Way” is one of my favorite Zep tracks of all time. That number, along with “Gallows” and “Levee” were great, and of course, a few key lines in “When the Levee Breaks” are always well-received in Chicago! ; ) “Hey Hey What Can I Do” was another complete surprise, and with “Thats The Way”, is one of my favorite Zep studio tracks. I was a bit let down by the Strange Sensation’s version of “Heartbreaker”, although they made a good faith effort to transform this Page classic into something very different. WWL finished things off and sent everyone home in high spirits having just witnessed the master at work, nailing all of the high-pitched wails and screams that we’ve all listened to and enjoyed for the last 35+ years.

Overall, it was a great show. I’ve seen Robert on the last two tours, and it really is a different viewing and listening experience from what we got with Page/Plant and even the Priory of Bryon. The mood and the vibe of the shows in the first part of the new millennium have been very different from anything that Robert has ever done…possibly even more experimental than his early solo work in the ’80s. His voice is in great shape, he seems like he’s really enjoying the Strange Sensation project, and appears to be completely committed to stretching things, “rearranging” things, and pushing the envelope as far as he can. That, to me, is worth the price of admission, and it will definitely be interesting to see where the Strange Sensation will take us next.

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