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Düsseldorf Philipshalle

10 May 2008 2,405 views No Comment

Rich Woman, Leave My Woman Alone, Black Dog, Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,Through The Morning Through Then Night, Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson, Fortune Teller, In The Mood/Matty Groves/In The Mood, Black Country Woman, The Rat Age, Bon Temps Rouler, Trampled Rose, Green Pastures, Down In The River To Pray, Killing The Blues, Nothin’, The Battle Of Evermore, Please Read The Letter, Gone Gone Gone.
Encores I: One Woman Man, Your Long Journey.
Encore II: When The Levee Breaks.

Well, it’s simply impossible to describe this evening, but here’s a few words and sentences describing just at bit of what went on that night in Düsseldorf.

Opening with Rich Woman followed by Leave My Woman, a nice country/rockabilly thing with beautiful violin solo from Alison. Black Dog, with a great banjo intro and a wild and incredible Stuart Duncan violin solo that almost matches the original guitar of Mr. Page. Then Robert said hello to Germany by shouting “Jawohl!” (Well, Germany…) Let Your Loss performed as on record by Alison showing a great vocal performance and a Buddy Miller guitar solo.

Fortune Teller brilliantly performed by Robert, more organic in all ways than the original. In The Mood (yes, the Plant 80’s solo thing) was performed quite faithful to the original (although more organic and with the violin doing the synth parts)- And then suddenly turned into a very powerful verse of Matty Groves lead by a very strong vocal from Alison! And turning back into the Mood thing in such a beatiful way.

Black Country Woman was another highlight, starting with banjo backing Roberts vocals ant then joined by guitar, violin and maracas. And then the drums with a heavy, deep beat building up joined by the violin before Robert (for the first time this evening) blew us all out with a heavy, screaming two-liner of “You didn’t have to tell me….” Man, that was…unbelievable.
“Is there anybody out there?” Robert called after the song. Guess there was!! Then Robert introduced “The mogul of contemporary music, Mr. T-Bone Burnett”: 6 ft 4′, majestic looking, black dressed southern preacherman-like Mr. T-Bone!, who told us about playing “with the two best singers in the world”.

Alison came in and went on with a couple of beautiful songs (what a vocal! Just listening to Trampled Rose) including Down In The River that was done so beautiful with soft and gentle backing from Robert, Buddy and Stuart (had to wipe my eyes for that one, sorry guys).

Nothin’ was performed in a strong and powerful version with indian howls from Robert at the beginning.

Evermore quite true to the original, a little more relaxed in style, at least until the end, where “Bring it back, bring it back” went up in a repeated duel/chorus featuring Alison and Robert.

The Letter followed in great style, and at the end slowing down with Robert slow-walking and trampling the rythm in front of fenomonal Jay Bellerose on the drums (or was it the other way round? – at that time things just seemed to be so intense and close, that it was impossible to tell).

Gone Gone Gone – no, not at all. Back for encores, all to standing applause and parts of the audience rushing forward to the scene. One Woman Man served with vocal parts shared between Robert, Alison and Buddy Miller – Great! And of course closing (at least we thought so) with Your Long Journey.

But as yet another surprice of this special evening, they came back for a second encore, just as the soundboard tecnicians turned on some taped music.

Robert saying “Hey Roy, you can’t play that, you can’t play that in the end of that. You can’t finish up the night with that after that!” and then “welcome to the Ninth wonder of the world” referring to both Alison and the band in general (I guess). Violins introduced the second encore set, starting with the lyrics of “Oh Rosie, oh Girl” and then turning into The Levee, in a version so…Sorry girls and guys, I just can’t find the words, you’ll have to look up for the bootleg version of this concert! Lyrics from Girl From The North Country also came along while Alison and Robert went through the last song of the evening in an extremely powerful duet.
I almost can’t remember watching a band or artists so much “in” the things they were doing, as they all were that night. It was so obvious that they all really enjoyed every little part of it, including going back once more for one last encore.

It was also so fascinating to see the way Alison and Robert interacted, showing this great respect to each other all the time. Alison having such a fantastic, great voice, although she at times seemed almost shy of doing what she did (so perfectly). And Robert so much in control of everything, even more than ever before, I felt. Underplaying his role at times, showing this great respect to the music and the band, that was so “Beep-Beep” well playing all through the whole set.

This was the night when great things became even bigger than great.
Nils Westerholt, DENMARK

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