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Home » Robert Plant

Las Vegas (Las Vegas Hilton)

16 July 2005 2,384 views No Comment

No Quarter, Shine it All Around, Black Dog, Freedom Fries, Darkness Darkness, That’s the Way, Hey Hey What Can I Do, Tin Pan Valley, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Mighty Rearranger, Gallows Pole, When The Levee Breaks, The Enchanter, Whole Lotta Love.

This from Mike Kalil
Confidently weaving Led Zeppelin classics with fine new solo material, Robert Plant turned in a creatively soul-stirring Las Vegas performance Saturday night.
Unfortunately, he did so inside an airplane hangar.
Or at least what felt like an airplane hangar stuffed with a couple thousand chairs and some metal bleachers.
It was actually a cavernous convention hall at the Las Vegas Hilton converted into a concert space with all the warm ambience of a warehouse.
Thankfully, when the harsh fluorescent bulbs dimmed, the golden god of 1970s hard rock did his best to give a place designed for giant banquets and PowerPoint presentations the feel of a Moroccan opium den.
A slow, hypnotic beat boomed as Plant, clad in black and sporting a goatee to accompany his curly, blond mane, crept forward onto a stage bathed in crimson light. Soon he was encircled alongside his five-piece band by a smoky gauze from the incense ablaze near their feet.
Banging a North African bendir drum in his hand, Plant opened with “No Quarter,” reworking the trippy slow rocker from Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy” into a tribal dirge.
He went on to deliver innovatively stripped-down readings of Zeppelin faves “Black Dog,” “Hey Hey What Can I Do” and “Gallows Pole.” And while the years might have turned Plant’s face craggy, he still retains most of the power of his voice when reaching toward the top range of his baritone.
He also appeared delightfully youthful while he swayed his 56-year-old hips, shook his shoulders during guitar solos and shot his open hands out from his waist as if trying to conjure an elusive spirit.
Eschewing most of his solo output, he highlighted five of the best tracks from the recent “Mighty Rearranger,” his strongest album since Zeppelin dissolved 25 years ago.
In fact, Plant often seemed most passionate performing new material from it, such as “Shine It All Around” and “Tin Pan Valley.”
Amid guitar squall and piano boogie, the title track of “Mighty Rearranger” came alive as a stomping Chicago blues, replete with a honking harmonica solo from Plant. Upon finishing, he self-assuredly flipped his harp into the air, caught it and looked pleased with himself.
“Next week, Coldplay,” he quipped, drawing laughter.
It’s impossible to recapture in a live setting the late drummer John Bonham’s cannon-like blasts on the recorded version of Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.” So Plant’s band instead turned the classic “Led Zeppelin IV” closer into a swampy, gospel-tinged number with a guitar that alternately sang and screamed.
An extended version of 1969’s “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” riled the crowd almost as much as the crunching monster riffs of the encore “Whole Lotta Love.”
After that, the band took a bow, Plant collected a single red rose tossed onstage and bid his fans adieu.
Then I faced the scary business of getting out of the hangar, er, convention hall … um, I mean, the Hilton’s luxe space for hosting rock stars.
Simultaneously, thousands of people crammed themselves inside a single dark hallway that was the only exit.
Trapped in this claustrophobic swarm, one could step only 4 inches at a time while repeatedly bumping the shoulders of fellow human sardines.
Drunken people hollered at the spooky fun.
Sober people exchanged alarmed looks.
Marveling that a fire marshal apparently allowed this designed-for-disaster egress plan, I silently vowed not to return.

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