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Roanoke, VA – Roanoke Civic Center

2 June 2008 2,268 views No Comment

Rich Woman, Leave My Woman Alone, Black Dog, Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us, Through The Morning, Through The Night, Goodbye So Long, Fortune Teller, In the Mood/Black Country Woman/In the Mood, Hey Hey What Can I Do, Shut It Tight, Bon Temps Roule, Trampled Rose, Green Pastures, Down to the River to Pray, Killing the Blues, Nothin’/Who Do You Love/Nothin’, Battle of Evermore, Please Read the Letter, Gone Gone Gone.
Encores: You Don’t Knock, One Woman Man.

I just returned from the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss show at the Roanoke Civic Center and have to say I was quite blown away. It was relaxed and intimate show and believe in many ways this brings Robert to a superior musical place than his former Strange Sensations band.

Roanoke, Virginia is a former railroad town nestled in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia with a population of 300,000 and only the occasional major act coming through to play their 8,000 seat Roanoke Civic Center. The Roanoke Times newspaper had a large article promoting the concert in the paper the day of the show. Despite this only about 4,000 people attended the show but were treated to a relaxed, if not brilliant performance. I was fortunate to have first row seats for the show and, despite some glitches being the first show of the 2nd U.S. leg, it was clear the band was very much enjoying themselves.
The set list very much followed prior set-lists on the recently completed European leg, down to the four-song encore. Notably included on the set list tonight was “Who Do You Love?” as Robert announced to the crowd that Bo Diddley had passed away that day and told the crowd he had loved his work since he was a kid and seemed genuinely emotional in sharing this. It was quite a sight as the very tall T-Bone Burnett and Robert would share the mic for the rousing chorus of this song. I must also say I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s version of “In the Mood” garnering a spontaneous standing ovation from the crowd that mostly sat in their seats during the entire show, save the encores. The lighting of “Battle of Evermore” was excellent and band’s execution wonderful. It was clear Krauss’ and Plant’s voices were spot on and rested. This song suffered a notable technical glitch as Krauss’ wireless monitor in her ear went out and she spent the last third of the song and the first third of “Please Read the Letter” motioning desperately to the stagehands trying to get it replaced, which it eventually did, as Robert, T-Bone, and the rest of band tried to keep the song going until her segue. Nonetheless, Krauss was visibly irritated at the glitch and the slow response from stage hands. A few other subtle “first show after a layoff” glitches in band communication in song transitions I noted but overall a wonderful performance. I thought Krauss’ performance of a “Trampled Rose” was near stunning and had the entire arena transfixed.
During the four-song encore-the crowd rushed the floor to the front of stage to a great close to a 2-hour show.
As a side note, I happened to stay in the same hotel as the band a short distance from the Civic Center but did not manage to see Robert who was already in transit to Connecticut after show time but came into Roanoke the day before the show. Early in the afternoon of show day, I did get a chance to speak to T-Bone Burnett on his way to walk and pick up lunch in downtown Roanoke and bring it back to his room and he was extremely gracious to chat with me and provide an autograph. I told him I had front row seats and he said he would look for me from the stage and say hello. When the show started, during the first song he walked towards the front of the stage, pointed at me, and did what he said he would with a smile. A truly great musician and talent who lives up to it and more in person.
Thanks Magnus Johnsson, Richmond, VA, USA


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