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Somerset House London England

10 July 2006 2,397 views No Comment

Tin Pan Valley, Seven & Seven Is, Black Dog, Let The Four Winds Blow, Going To California, 29 Palms, Friends, Morning Dew, The Enchanter, Four Sticks, Gallows Pole
Encores: Levee Breaks /Whole Lotta Love

The return of the original TBL Webman!….Mr. Linwood
Somerset House – nice place. Built in the late 18th Century, the enclosed (outdoor) courtyard provides a regal setting tonight for one of rock’s aristocrats. Originally banking on the Thames, the building has had many
uses including the Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths. Tonight, genealogists were able study the latest growth from the Led Zeppelin family tree; in fact it has been the only active branch for many years….
Estimating audience sizes is always tricky but I would reckon around 2500 standing patrons were there. A classic Plant audience this; predominantly middle-aged males -with a splattering of the rest of the population. Audiences at these things are dreadfully polite and with ten minutes to go it was easy to stroll in and secure a nice position about ten yards from the stage to the left. Above, a moody sky – it had been raining off and on all day – were we about to get a good soaking?
The sound was a bit average to start – very boomy and fellow colleagues complained that Plant’s voice was a tad low in the mix for most of the night. Light show was simple. Outdoor dome shaped stage.
A few observations
Tin Pan Valley makes for a nice opener – very dramatic and it pulled the audience in straight away. Black Dog included the Plant vocal utterance asking us to “Listen to this Eddie” which brought a smile to collectors everywhere.
Let The Four Winds Blow was played straight down the middle – as on the CD.
29 Palms was played at half-pace as a sort of mournful dirge. The bloke next to me loved it. I thought it was dreadful (as did a few others). It got a good reception though.
It was nice to hear Friends again; last time out for me was during the “Yallah Yallah!” days of the 95 tour. Let’s hope this is kept in the set-list for a while.
Whatever you say about the old favorites, they do get the best reaction. Four Sticks and Gallows Pole (2005 version) were both excellent – and lets face it we all want to hear Plant let rip – and he still does it well.
The old behemoths of Levee and Lotta were wheeled out for the encores. And in a poetic twist as Plant moaned about the Levees breaking, the clouds above began to open. Big Summer English raindrops. Not too many but just
enough for effect – I loved the way the light(n)ing crew did it! (Nikola Tesla – eat your heart out!) Levee has always been a live fave and I think it should be there every time. It is to the Sensation what Kashmir was to Plant/Page in 95. Whole Lotta Love including even more Arabic ramblings – and it sent the crowd home happy. About 95 minutes on stage in total I guess.
It was difficult to see but was that a goatee-beard that Plant was sporting? There were no video screens so there were no close-ups. Otherwise he looks in excellent shape. He’s lost quite a lot of weight. The beer belly has gone and he is know the proud owner of a pair of man-boobs. (Nothing a few weeks at the gym can’t fix!)
Vocally Plant was spot on most of the night – from where I was standing Skin didn’t seem to be doing quite as much of the old wag-the-guitar-get-feedback routine, Justin got in a few silly dances – and the rhythm boys held it all together.
So in conclusion, a pleasant show, nice place – nothing sensational.
A big thanks to Mr Linwood and it’s good to see that the past few years in the TBL retirement home haven’t dulled his senses….

This review has been sent in by Siarl Davies
Hi here’s my review. Well we were safely installed on the wheelchair users’ platform, but were disappointed that there was no video screen as we were right at the back near the sound desk.
The first act Orange Blossom was great. The Arabic female singer had a smashing voice and we were entertained by the violist doing the splits in mid air.
Compared to her singing RP’s opening number (Tin Pan Valley) was a massive disappointment for me, as it was apparent that he couldn’t really hear himself, so his pitching was off, and you couldn’t hear the ‘Like this’ (not the most imaginative of vocal lines anyway). Nevertheless the band was tight and powerful. I agree with Dave Linwood, that Skin seemed unusually restrained with less far out man echoplex/ebow/theramin stuff compared to earlier shows.
Seven and Seven was tight and harder edged, again with somewhat quiet vocals. I missed the Arabic section they employed in 2003, as I thought that their earlier version was far more entertaining than the Love version (unlike ‘House’ were the reverse was true for li’l old me).
Four Winds suffered from slightly off key vocals, and lacked that boogie down juke jive feel of the album.
Having said this, these are minor quibbles as it was an excellent show, and we are bemoaning why Mr. P isn’t always mind-blowing magnificent, having to settle for extremely good instead.
29 Palms was both beautiful in parts and a tad boring in others. I thought the beginning sounded like the Astoria reworking of Come into My Life. It was beautifully sung, but I would rather they had put the effort into writing a completely new song, as it didn’t really benefit from the effort they had put in.
Black Dog (with that ‘aaaaghg hang’em riff’) was for what it was excellent, with great singing and playing.
Friends has never really worked for me in the lower vocal register and it didn’t work for me this time. It was ‘very well played’ but not the magical thing of 1970 and never will be. I would rather hear something which suited his lower register more as in this case the song has lost its other wordliness.
However in contrast Four Sticks really rocked, as did Levee and WLLL. The Enchanter shone out brightly too. GTC brought on a ‘You softies’ from RP and the eastern ending worked well too.
I still think the new riff on Gallows Pole (although a nifty bit of playing) wrecks the haunting intro, but the number rattled along and really rocked at the end
I think for me the tops was Morning Dew as it was superbly played and the balance the band has struck between the earlier SS and POB versions with the slower Dreamland version works well.
In all it was a very good gig, so much better than some of the latter days of Zep and Page and Plant where some of RP’s singing really showed his heart had gone elsewhere.
I was slightly disappointed by the lack of material from Mighty Rearranger as I thought it was a really eventful record, as well as RP’s reluctance to try something from earlier in his solo career (Wreckless Love??? Trouble Your Money anyone ???), and am impatient to hear new material as RP has really been revitalized by his new band and let’s face it at knocking on 60 even with manboobs (gym ! now Robert pleaaaaaaaaaaaaase) RP is a fantastic performer and looked most kewl in his orange pyjama suit and massively heroic barnet of golden curls.
Oh let the sun continue to beat down upon his head and let his sounds caress our ears !

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