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Home » Robert Plant

Oporto Coliseum, Portugal

25 May 2002 2,531 views No Comment

Set-List: A House is not a Motel/Babe, i’m Gonna Leave You/Fixin’ to Die/Darkness Darkness/Come into my Life/Hey Joe/Skip’s Song/Four Sticks/Calling to you/Tall Cool One/Misty Mountain Hop
Encore 1: Celebration Day
Encore 2: Song to the Siren/Whole Lotta Love
Set List From Billy Fletcher/Michael Stendahl

Capacity: 1.900 (sold-out)
Duration: 90 minutes (scheduled for 22:00, started at 22:15 and ended at 23:45)

Review by Xana Ferreira 

I can’t believe Robert Plant just played in my hometown, Oporto. And it’s even harder for me to believe I met him. What a concert… but let’s start from the beginning.

PRE-CONCERT:
I arrived to the Coliseum at 15:45, and waited next to the backstage door, for six hours! Clive Beamer, the drummer was already inside. I could hear someone rehearsing inside. I talked to Clive when he left the coliseum for a walk alone (maybe for dinner) and when he returned. He’s very nice. Me and another Zeppelin fan Ricardo, were the only people waiting there. Ricardo asked him if they were going to play “Whole Lotta Love” and he said maybe.
I also talked with some crew members: I learned the Robert had arrived at Oporto the day before, by car. He stopped in a gas station near Oporto and even talked with a fan that recognized him. Then he had dinner alone in a restaurant here at night. It was planned for him to arrive by plane in the concert day, at 15:00, but he decided to come earlier. The others musicians were already in Oporto, and i suppose he got bored in Lisbon. They also said Robert is very nice and acessible, and speaks Spanish (a language that has a
lot in common with portuguese). Robert Plant, his girlfriend and the other musicians arrived at the coliseum on a white mini-van just 15 min before the concert: at 21:45. Robert Plant
crouched, so that he couldn’t be seen. Then i rushed inside the coliseum.

DURING THE CONCERT:
The is the second Robert Plant gig for me, the first one was two years ago on the Vilar de Mouros festival. That was a great concert, but this one was much better. The audience was obviously different, with people of all ages, that had in common a great love for music, and Led Zeppelin.
It’s sad to say but in the Vilar de Mouros festival, most of the people were there to see Skunk Anansie. And Robert Plant pleased the audience with a few Zeppelin classics, some of his solo songs including a few from his upcoming album (in the Vilar de mouros concert he only played “We’re gonna groove” and “If i were a Carpenter”, which are, as you know, cover versions).
The concert began with a musical intro (i can’t describe it, it was a mixture of world music). The musicians: Justin Adams and Liam Tyson (guitar), John Baggot (keyboards), Clive Deamer (drums) and Charles Jones (bass) entered
the stage… and then Robert Plant appeared. He was wearing black shoes and trousers and a purple (with pink reflexes) shirt and looked relaxed. He began with a powerful version of “A House is not a Motel” ,jamming in the middle section of the song and showing all his trademark vocalisms: babe, come on, etc… He continued with an acoustic “Baby, i’m gonna leave you” with everyone singing along: baby, baby, baby, baby…. I know it’s a Robert Plant concert, but he repeated the word baby even more times than usual, all through the concert. Some audience members were showing a large Led Zeppelin flag, which they waved during all the Zeppelin songs. What great music, one of my favourite LZ songs, but the biggest surprise of the evening was yet to come.
Plant thanked the audience in portuguese, and introduced a song from the new album: “Fixin’ to Die” (an acoustic blues song with mandolin). He continued with “Darkness, Darkness” and “Come into to my Life”.
Then he introduced another song from the new album: “It’s a folk song about a betrayal, about a man and a woman and another man”, and sang an irrecognizable, morbid and extremelly psychadelic version of “Hey Joe” .
Next, he continued with “Skip’s Song”, a rock song that alternated with a beautiful and slow organ melody. Next he sang “Four Sticks”, in Robert Plant words, a song from back the Misty Mountain, and continued with “Calling to you”. I don’t need to say that the audience responded much stronger to the Led Zeppelin songs, but all the songs from Fate of Nations had a good reaction.
Next the plantation of the night: Robert explained that when he was a boy, Elvis was the king… and then introduced “Tall Cool One” from his “Now and Zen” album as an Elvis Song!!!!! Then he talked about San Francisco 1968 and how everything was new to him back then, because the english were so stiff, and performed “Misty Mountain
Hop”. Then the concert ended, but…..
He returned for the first encore: “Celebration Day” I have to confess this is my least favourite Zeppelin song, the only one I skip when i listen to the CD, but i loved to hear it live anyway. Shortly after, he returned for the second encore, and sat on a red stool, while introducing yet another new song: the emotional Tim Buckey’s “Song to the Siren”.
Next, he introduced a song from the Missipipi Delta. At first, it seemed like a very slow blues song but … then came the famous “Whole Lotta Love” riff. The coliseum almost fell down! What an incredible surprise, everyone was jumping and singing along. He sang the “Way down inside, you.need…” part before the famous “Whole lotta love” scream. Robert can’t reach the higher notes, but he has such an incredible voice anyway.
At the end,Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation came together and bowed to audience. This was the best concert i saw in my 26 years. All the musicians performed very well, bringing new life to the songs. Overall it was a hypnotical and energetic concert, with a touch of psychadelism (and some psychadelic background screen projections in some of the songs). Robert sure knows how to rock’n’roll….

AFTER THE CONCERT:
After the concert, i waited for Robert, but he left on the same mini-van about 30 minutes later.This time he covered his face with a jacket. He must be very shy (just kiddding).
Now i have to thank Virgilio. He’s been a record collector for the past 30 years and he has a lot of experience in getting signed albuns. We went looking for the Hotel where Robert was staying, and we saw the tour truck (it’s a purple and yellow, with an english license plate) parked in front of the Ipanema Park Hotel. Robert was sitting in the hotel bar drinking
along with his girlfriend, musicians, roadies,…He signed some of my LPs and CDs. I was so nervous i could hardly speak. Robert noticed the LP covers were different, kind of glossy and i said they were made in Portugal. Virgilio told him that James Brown played the day before in Portugal, and how he got a signed James Brown record! Robert was amazed, asked where he played, and told he had that day-off but didn’t knew. I noticed he is a big James
Brown fan. I told James Brown is the Godfather of Soul and Robert answered “he is the godfather of everything”. We also asked him if he spoke spanish, and he said yes. I took a picture with Robert…..but i had a problem with my camera and lost that photo, the photo i took with the drummer (in the afternoon) and all the concert photos. I almost cried, but at least i got the signed records. We sayed goodbye, shook Robert’s hand and left the hotel. It was an incredible night. I’m such a big fan of him and Led Zeppelin and i never thought i could meet him. I hope he returns to Portugal soon.
Robert and the Strange Sensations gave a really good concert. Song to the Siren was a beautiful moment and the end with Whole Lotta Love was really explosive! Robert was always joking and smiling and he was really confident. Its true he doesn’t have the same power as long time ago, but he sure hasn’t lost his unique form of singing! And he was always expressing his feelings with his arms and his body! Great concert! Andr Tiago Gomes

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