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Ole Blues Festival, Peer Gynt Salen, Bergen, Norway

26 April 2003 2,390 views No Comment

Hey Joe / Four Sticks / Ship of Fools / Morning Dew / 7 + 7 is / Going To California / Girl from the North Country / Gallows Pole / Last Time I Saw Her / Ramble On / Tall Cool One / A House is not a Motel
Encores: Darkness Darkness / Whole Lotta Love
This from Svein I. Buvik
Start: 7:15 end 9:00 Attendance around 1400.

The show was superb !! Hey Joe was awesome and is a great show opener in my opinion. Four Sticks was next and was well received by the audience. Ship of Fools was a nice suprise (to me) and was dedicated to the Norwegian ex-Wolves player Haavard Flo, a remark that received sheers and laughter from the audience (Flo is now playing in a Norwegian club). Plant introduced Morning Dew as a great sixties protest song and said: “Too bad Boyzone don’t play songs like this”. Morning Dew was a one of the highlights of the show, it’s a great song and it was played very well. Next up is the acoustic section with GTC and Girl form North Country. Back to electric with Seven and Seven is. Ramble On is another highlight of the show – one of my favourite Zep songs. The show ended with Gallows Pole, TCCO and A House is not a Motel, and Last Time I Saw Her from Dreamland.

The encores started off with Darkness Darkness and what a great song !! This was THE highlight of the show for me – played really well by the band. Followed by WLL and the audience went crazy. We all hoped Robert would return for a second encore, but they didn’t.

All in all a very good show and a great performance. Robert and the band clearly enjoyed themselves and Robert expressed so himself several times. He especially expressed how much he enjoyes the Ole Blues Festival and the people organizing it. This was Robert’s third concert in the Ole Blues Festival, having previously been here in 2000 and 2001.

During the show Robert mentioned visiting Norhern Norway in June, don’t know if this was for a concert or just a visit !?

The show was very well received in the local and national press. One paper in Bergen claimed this was Robert’s best performance so far in Norway. Robert introduced one new band member this time – on bass. Sorry I can’t remember the name of the new guy, even though Robert introduced him twice during the show. (TBL/Webman: Billy Fuller?). Robert spent 3 days in Bergen, rehearsing for upcoming dates. And he spent friday night watching a solo performance of Neil Young. A friend of mine observed Robert in a VIP seat during this concert.

This from Russell Cherrington

Friday – Wayward Sheikhs
Ole Blues 2003 in the beautiful city of Bergen was a truly fantastic experience on a number of levels. Justin Adams and the Wayward Sheikhs played a small pub like bar in the old town called Madam Felles @ 11pm on the Friday night. The venue was truly compact and I would say about half full with 50 people in the venue, I notice that a few people had travelled over from the UK and met up with a couple of other Zeppelin fans. I sat on a table to the left of the stage and was joined by a Geordie and a couple of other guys who all turn out to be working for Strange Sensation.

Anyway about 11.15 I am getting a drink from the bar when in walks the whole of Strange Sensation including one Robert Plant. They get drinks and head over to the sound desk to watch the show. Roy Williams is looking after the sound so everything seems to be kept in the Family.
On to the Wayward Sheikhs, they hit the stage about 11.30 and go straight into an eclectic mix of sounds, imagine the Sensations mixed with dub reggae, psychedelia, blues, rock and world music and you are somewhere near to the sound. If you came looking for the ordinary it is not here, this is way out in the land of groove. Most of the material sounds new although I did recognise about 5 tracks from Desert Life. All the members of the band are amazing, Justin plays his usual eclectic selection of instruments, Salah Dawson Miller provides percussion, Andy Cox guitar and keyboard (if you could call it that) and the Agaly brothers on Bass and drums.

The small but appreciative crowd had a evening of musical adventure and the Sheikhs received applause enough to perform an encore. The Strange Sensations received a thank you from Justin and they in turn greeted him with much enthusiasm. Robert told me the next day that he loved the show and we spoke of musical adventures old and new.

Saturday – Strange Sensation
Peer Gynt is part of a Theatre complex which just the day before held a solo acoustic gig for Neil Young. The venue holds about 1500 people and is nice and intimate. Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation are introduced by one of the festival organisers at 7.15, the introduction was long and I didn’t understand a word of what he was saying, but I smile all the time at one of the best Mullets I had ever seen.
Hey Joe opens the set, it is moody and powerful, the audience react well to the track and the band are on form, new bass player Billy Fuller is playing his first full gig and fits into the sound of Strange Sensation. Fours Sticks follows on straight after and the crowd goes mad for the first slice of Zeppelin on offer tonight. The band again is really up for it and the sound in the room is clear and fantastic. Lighting is moody and the atmosphere is all there. Next we get a beautiful version of Ship of Fools which sounds like it was written yesterday and the arrangement gives it a simple beauty.
We get the first of Roberts Plantisms next as he tells stories of the news and the 60’s and how he equates the world before the band play a wonderful Morning Dew. 7+7 Is gets an introduction with passionate references to Roberts youth, Arthur Lee and Love and how they remain Roberts favourite band from his youth. There is so much kinetic energy on display in the song and the band’s performance, Clive Deamer just plays for his life on this track loving the off sync rhythm, I watched and saw magic before my eyes. To be honest I would love to know why this is not on Dreamland or even a b-side because it is amazing, everytime I see it played live.

Robert gives one of his Children of the Sun introductions before Going to California, which is as always a truly beautiful song played by a band at the top of its game. Another introduction before Girl from the North Country showing how Robert and the band are looking back to find the road forward. Gallows Pole follows straight away and the venue erupts with unconfined enthusiasm for the song and the music of Led Zeppelin. Justin Adams shines throughout and plays like he is enraptured within the sound the band are creating, I see Robert look over and smile at his performance many times during the course of the evening, you can tell he is a happy band leader.

Last Time I Saw Her is up next and is stretched in to a new form within the version played tonight, it has grown as a song by being performed live and deserves its place in the set. All I can say about the next song is that the place just goes mad as the band play Ramble On, Roberts face is full of joy as he sees the reaction from the audience right from the start of the song to the end.

There is another reference to the 1960’s and the wonderful music produced by Arthur Lee and Love before we get House Is Not A Motel, Skin plays some fantastic lead on this track and the energy level from the band is right up there. Justin Adams dances in a circular motion as if in a trance produced by the music, the audience loves it and the set is brought to a close.

Bergen will not let the Strange Sensation leave without playing more classic songs for them and Robert leads the band back onto the stage to thunderous applause. He introduces the band to the audience and finishes the introductions by calling himself David Coverdale and saying ‘I wonder how long that will take to get back to him.’ For my money this was the funniest remark Robert made all night and I wonder if the irony was lost on the audience? Poor old Coverversion what did he ever do to Robert.

Robert tells the story of how Darkness Darkness was nominated for a Grammy and how he received a letter from Jesse Colin Young saying how this was a wonderful version of the song and could Robert and the band play on a track on his Christmas Album, to this Robert added ‘Never trust a hippy.
Darkness Darkness as always was played with grace and style showing of the amazing talents of John Baggot. What next well there could only be one way to finish off the show. A thunderous Whole Lotta Love with the great delta blues intro before showing all the power of Zeppelin to the very mixed audience of old and young alike. This new take on the old classic is spellbinding and it shows off just where the Strange Sensations have got too on their musical journey in the last two years.

The venue is alive with energy and power as the audience sing every word and a very happy band finish a fantastic set on a high. Now if I had one criticism at all it would be that the reaction was so strong the band should have come back on and played another encore because the place was alive with applauds and everyone wanted more. The lights went up and the gig was over once more. Simply an amazing band at the top of its game and for my money there is only forward, I hope this band has the staying power to be around for 5 to 10 years because who knows where they could go.
Tonight’s show was recorded and I hope we get a chance to hear the tracks sometime soon, I wonder if it was recorded for radio? I forgot to ask but it would be great to hear the set back again.

Saturday – More Sheikhs
After the show I went to watch Taj Mahal for an hour who played as a trio but it just didn’t have the eclectic mix of the Phantom Blues band and I head for Madam Felles at 11.00 to see the Wayward Sheikhs. When I got there the place was sardine packed and people where being turned away at the door.
Sure most people where there on the back of the Sensations gig but it made for a great atmosphere within. The band played a fantastic and went down well. Robert and the band once again showed up for the show and where happy to mingle with their fans and for the most part they were left alone to watch the show.

I had a fantastic weekend and I would say to anyone go too the festival because it is excellent on all levels and Bergen is a great city. In finishing I would like to say ‘Robert you are a prince amongst men, thank you for your kindness over the weekend.

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