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Home » Robert Plant

Knoxville Civic Coliseum, Knoxville TN

22 April 2008 2,925 views No Comment

Rich Woman, Leave My Woman Alone, Black Dog, Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us, Through The Morning, Through The Night, Fortune Teller, Black Country Woman, Hey Hey What Can I Do, The Rat Age, Bon Temps Rouler, Trampled Rose, Green Pastures, Down In The River To Pray, Nothin’, Killing The Blues, Let Your Lost Be Your Lesson, When The Levee Breaks, The Battle of Evermore, Please Read The Letter, Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)
Encores: Stick With Me Baby, One Woman Man, Your Long Journey.

As an avid follower of all things ‘Zep’ for over 30 years now it was with great joy that I noticed that Robert was performing one of his concerts in Knoxville. We had been planning a trip there for some months to see my partner’s sister who now lives in Knoxville, so it seemed a good idea to combine both a visit to the states and the Robert Plant gig.
Knoxville Coliseum is as I understand it used for basketball games and is similar to Wembley Arena although a lot smaller. I would guess that the crowd numbered about a couple of thousand and our seats were about six rows back from stage left so we had a very good view of the gig throughout.
The concert kicked off at 9pm with ‘Rich Woman’; a favourite of mine from the album ‘Raising Sand’ and finished just over two hours later. During the show just about every song from the album was played if not all, forgive me but I do not recall the whole set list now, especially as I am still a little jet-lagged!
The songs that do stick in my mind from the evening however, are mainly the songs that aren’t from the album. After the first two songs we were treated to a version of ‘Black Dog’ with Plant doing the traditional ‘ah, ah’, ‘ah, ah’, ‘ahhhhh…’ ping pong with the audience and we all loved it! If you haven’t already done so, check out the version that’s currently on youtube with Krauss, it was performed in much the same way.
Other ‘Zep’ songs that were performed included ‘When the Levee Breaks’, which was unrecognisable at the start. Krauss and one other band member played a duet on violins before we got to a point in the song that I recognised. It seemed to me however, that this version was combined with another song that I recognised but for the life of me could not place. If anyone out there can help please do so!
During the evening we were also given new versions of ‘Battle of Evermore’, ‘Black Country Woman’ and most surprisingly for me, ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ which I had not expected to hear at all. Each ‘Zep’ number was greeted with loud cheers and screams, especially from the lady sat right next to me!
Unfortunately, there were no numbers from Plant’s back catalogue. I had hoped to hear ’29 Palms’ that I think has been performed by Plant and Krauss in a previous concert.
One song that Alison performed has stayed in my memory; it was sung acappella (without any instruments) with just Alison on stage until about half way through when Robert and two of the band members crept on to stand slightly behind her to provide beautiful harmonies to close the song. It sounded almost gospel. Unfortunately, as throughout the concert, the song was not named, so I can only assume it was a Krauss song from one of her own albums or a cover.
Alison’s voice that night was exceptional. ‘Trampled Rose’ was applauded loudly, and quite rightly so, from the first two notes she sang. Her violin playing was also brilliant on other songs. We were given several numbers by her which, being unfamiliar with her work I can only assume were her own songs. All were wonderful.
What struck me most about the evening was that for me this was a very different stage performance by Robert in so much as he was not the front man in this show throughout. For approximately a third to maybe half the show he was either at the rear of the stage providing backing vocals or absent from the stage altogether. About half way through the show both Alison and Robert left the stage and T-Bone Burnett performed two songs with the band that were also great to hear.
All in all, the show was brilliant and the crowd loved it. Robert clearly enjoyed it as much as we did and I wonder if this, together with the fact that the music sounds so good at the moment, means that Page, Jonesy and Bonham Jnr may be waiting a long time before they get the chance for another reunion.
Mike Perry
Kent review of Plant-Krauss
show in Knoxville, Tenn
8:57 lights out. A soft musical intro rich with fiddles is cued onstage. The band members take their instruments, with T Bone taking centre stage for ampment. The golden god steps on from stage left. The dazzling bluegrass angel steps on from the opposite side. “Rich Woman” has started, and we’re underway in Knoxville.
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss both have long, flowing, curly blond hair. Alison’s ruffles are sweetly swaying. She’s checking out the action between lines. Plant, on the other hand’ is just snapping his fingers and moving his body from the waist up. To me, that’s what cool is. He’s smiling, they’re looking back and forth at each other, and he’s right on for every musical cue.
They’re even gesturing to one another for the lyrics ‘She’s got the money, and I’ve got the honey.” Plant seems to be amused by this. Plant owns the song a few different times too’ after choruses when he adds a few adlibbed lines and at the song’s end when he moves with the final note.
“Leave My Woman Alone” is a faster number that wouldn’t have been out of place on the album. Alison’s got a fiddle with her for this one. Plant’s taking care of the verses here, the country star he is these days. That black button-down shirt and greying beard of his don’t seem very out of place in this setting. On this third show of the tour, and having already picked up a CMT award last week, he’s fitting in quite well into this new role. Which may be why the next song also works in this act.
“Black Dog” isn’t the pounding thumper it was in 1971. Now it’s arranged quietly, with a banjo picking the riff. Thank goodness that riff’s not lost! Robert and Alison grace us with the opening line, and folks recognizing it are appreciative. The guy next to me is laughing with amusement. Each line of the song is greeted with loud screams. The place loves it! Robert beckons the crowd to echo back the “ahh ahh”s — I would really prefer to listen to the band during those parts though! This arrangement is brooding and it cooks. A violin solo takes the place of a guitar solo, filling the place well.
For “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” Robert takes his seat on a stool behind Alison where no spotlight is on him. He’s oohing and ahhing behind her on this tune from the Sam Philips catalogue, which she is nailing on both vocals and that set of strings she loves to wield. Robert’s intent gaze is on her during her instrumental interludes. The tempo is a tad lower than on the album, which is a welcome fact. Alison remains the centre of attention for “Through the Morning, Through the Night.” Three-part harmony gets us through portions of this tune, courtesy of Plant and Stuart Duncan, who has already established himself as a multi-instrumentalist.
The logical thing to do after a two-song Alison spotlight is to do the same for Robert. Well, he gets that for the next song, “Fortune Teller,” which is delivered with amazing conviction. Then even better is a two-song hit of Led Zeppelin material. Plant says “Black Country Woman” was very Tennessee. For the later verses, he and Krauss are singing their hearts out, and the PA is at max volume as it was for the choruses of “Through the Morning, Through the Night.” The next song is the best received so far, “Hey Hey What Can I Do.” Toward the end of it, he’s singing like he did back in Zeppelin days, and it really shows how much he is into this. Give this man a break!
And he gets one. A long one. T Bone Burnett leads the band in a few, “The Rat Age” and “Levez les Bons Temps Rouler.” Alison’s take on “Trampled Rose” follows, with “Green Pastures” next. Finally, Plant is back to sing with Stuart Duncan and Billy Miller in a three-man harmony part backing Alison on “Down to the River to Pray.” I’ll have to listen again tomorrow because I couldn’t identify which part — low, medium or high — Robert was singing.
The next song was all his. “Nothin'” featured a slightly different arrangement compared to the one on their album. To me, the album version works better, but this one still maintained a measure of light and shade, which is what the song demands.
Plant and Krauss return to duo mode now for a soft “Killing the Blues.” Alison absolutely shines on the solo piece “Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson,” which Robert watches from the side of the stage with a can of something in hand.
“When the Levee Breaks” sounds like it has been combined with another song. For another assignment, I’ll have to figure out what those additional lyrics are from. Anyway, the tune works. This is really hot. After this is “The Battle of Evermore” in probably the best live arrangment it’s ever been in. Alison weaves in and out of it in fine fashion, although I must admit it seemed she was not completely sure of her parts and Robert was coaching her through it. They sounded great together again on “Please Read the Letter,” the third song in a row that Jimmy Page helped Plant to introduce to audiences through the years.
A glimmering backdrop is revealed behind the stage for “Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)” to make it look like their CMT award-winning video. And it sounds just like it too!
Never forget: Nurses do it better.
Steve Saucer


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