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The Rave, Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee. WI

22 July 2002 2,285 views No Comment

Set-List: If I Ever Get Lucky, 7+7 Is, Down to the Sea, Four Sticks, Darkness Darkness, Hey Joe, Going to California, Morning Dew, Calling to You, Celebration Day, Tall Cool One, Whole Lotta Love
Encores: Song to the Siren, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
Approx 95 minutes

This from Brad Schauer
Plant and His Strange Sensation practically blew the roof off the Rave last night. The Dreamland backdrop that was attached to the light rig was tilted sharply to one side at one point – maybe the
band shook the building’s foundation? Coming to the show, I was apprehensive that the crowd would not appreciate the moody, eclectic sound of Plant’s new project. I was worried that Plant wouldn’t rock out enough for this crowd of beer-addled, Zeppelin-shirted Wisconsinites. I won’t underestimate Plant again – his 95 minute set was extraordinarily powerful and dynamic. Skin is a more traditional rock guitarist than Porl Thompson, which may have added a kick to theproceedings. Songs that I thought would put the crowd to sleep like “If I Ever Get Lucky” were energetic and extremely loud. There was enough Zeppelin in the setlist to keep the crowd satiated through more obscure songs like “Down to the Sea” (in a terrific new arrangement) – though why does someone always have to shout “We love you Robert!” etc. during a quiet and beautiful rendition of “Song to the Siren”?
Plant seemed genuinely astonished at the crowd’s enthusiasm. He commented about this throughout the night, and his parting words were “It’s wonderful to be back in the United States.” He also interacted with the audience far more than I have ever seen, smiling and waving at particular people in the crowd. There was also a sense of fun running through the show. Plant’s attitude was relaxed and playful – even the leers he was giving the (quite young) girls in the front row seemed joking. At one point, he instructed a security guard to hand him one of the balloons that was bouncing about the
crowd. He sung “Hey Joe” while holding the balloon, before sending it back into the crowd. Later in the show, someone shot a joint onto the stage using a rubber band. Plant left the joint on the stage
(Justin Adams picked it up later), but put the rubber band into the pocket of his jeans.
Don’t miss an opportunity to see the show, whether at a club near you or in an arena with The Who. It’s great to see Plant so obviously happy and enthusiastic – hopefully this attitude will continue, along
with another album with this excellent band.

This from Lindsay
Just got back from a really f-ing hot and sweaty Rave a.k.a Eagles Ballroom.
Minimalistic stage set up with Dreamland Album cover as a back drop, some vari-lights and some really bloody bright white floodlight banks. Drums rear-ish stage left, keyboards back center, bass off center front gutarists front stage left and right with Mr. P all over the place getting the band going.
Plantations: “Good Evening Milwaukee we’re free right!”
During Going to California “Still feels pretty good up here” Also after Going to California “Thank You for that spellbinding response.”
After Morning Dew “That was a beautiful song now here’s a mean one that gets the point across” ? (No clue?)
There was something said after Hey Jor but I missed it.
inally after Tall Cool One he said something about this being serious stuff after joking with the band somewhat….. “Do like the blues, came from Africa to US and then a few years later there was 3 bears……” (Folowed by opening bars of Whole Lotta Love )
I also believe he made a comment about BIGLY being after the geritol time/agewise.
All in all, shitty Rave acoustics aside, a tight sounding band, some really melodic and very cool arrangements and riffs all over the place. (Tall Cool One, Darkness, Whole Lotta Love). The older songs appeared to get Robert prancing and struting a lot!! Going to California was just plain and simply “SOLID”.
Fashion watch: white cheese cloth shirt (very flower power-ish) and blue jeans wranglers or otherwise but were not a la Brittney Spears or SRTS film.
Mr. Plant seemed very enthisiastic about the “1st night” of the Dreamland Tour and to be back in the States…all right BOB!!! The 1st night comment thru’ me as I thought he played Rockfest over the
weekend in Cadot WI. (technically that’d be the first night.)

This from Kevin Rades
This was the first time I was ever at The Rave and it is a first class dump – seriously. There is nothing special about it. There is no air conditioning – it was ball blazing hot inside and god forbid a fire ever breaks out because we would all be dead (it’s an old dance hall with a wooden floor yet they still let people smoke inside – very bright!). The ONLY thing it has going for it is the acoustics – inside the Eagle’s Ballroom where Plant performed the sound was actually very good. Robert did comment that he thought he was too low in the mix,”I am drowning up here!” More on this later…
Freshwater Collins a local act from Milwaukee opened – they started around 8:05 and played until 8:45 – very energetic – they wanted to play longer but were more or less told time was up – get off the stage. By this time the Rave was getting packed – seriously packed – more people then I thought attended the show tonight. We got there early and had a front row seat in the balcony section. After the opening act left the stage and roadies started getting everything ready for Plant. This took 45 @#$%^& minutes – this was my one big complaint of the night – they waited and waited and waited and finally at 9:30 Plant took the stage – there is really no excuse for this – the stage is small – it was beyond hot they really could have got things moving a whole lot faster.
Fashion Report for those who are dying to know. Robert had on a white button down shirt that had some sort of a pattern on the front and back (not tucked in – he did tuck the front part in 1/2 way through the show because the fan kept blowing in up), a pair of blue jeans with a black belt and tan shit kickers. He actually looked really good – I thought he looked bad at the VH1 Storytellers but tonight he looked fit and ready to rock.
His voice was in awesome shape. I think he was more aggressive then usual with his singing tonight because of the fact he thought he was too low in the mix and needed to sing over the guitars – he was constantly gesturing the guitars to be lowered and his vocals to be raised. He was clearly energized and enjoying himself – bounding around the stage, spinning, jumping – lots of energy – much more then when Page/Plant played Milwaukee in 1998.
The show itself was much better then I ever expected. I like some tracks from Dreamland but overall I was very worried after listening to the CD and watching VH1 Storytellers that this was going to be a snoozer of a show. I was totally wrong – you need to hear the tracks from Dreamland live to really appreciate them. Why oh why does Plant feel the need to sing in that nasal voice (“Creepy” according to a review I read from the Associated Press) when he records in the studio. Tonight he just let it rip and every song on Dreamland had so much more life breathed into it. I think certain tracks on the CD are downright boring – not tonight – not live!
One final minor complaint before I finish with the songs that really went over well. The show was short – 1 hour 30 minutes exactly. We could have used at least 2-3 more songs. I thought that was the purpose of these warm-shows (try out new things), but all they really did was eliminate “I Believe I’m Fixin’ To Die” (which really made me mad) and Ship of Fools and replaced them with Song to the Siren and Calling To You. I am not sure why the setlist was changed this way. I nosed around the soundboard before the show and saw the setlist taped to it – turns out they totally re-did almost the entire thing. The setlist I saw had Four Sticks as the first song and Fixin’ To Die was still included.
Songs that went over really well – Four Sticks was ferocious!!! My lord – the place went insane. Of all the Zeppelin songs done Four Sticks was presented and received the best. Hey Joe was incredible as well. Going To California had the crowd doing the usual fun sing-a-long – Plant’s voice didn’t even crack – very nice. Of course Whole Lotta Love had the place hopping but out of all the Zeppelin songs this one was lacking. Plant must be bored to tears singing this song – he was almost totally grounded during it while the other numbers had him spinning around the stage. I missed Jimmy the most during Whole Lotta Love.
Overall a great performance!!! Plant is clearly enjoying himself. After Going To California Plant said, “Doing that one is still great – even with all the baggage.” It will be interesting to see what happens when he is done scratching his Strange Sensation itch.
Thanks for reading! I actually thought I saw a few possible FBOer’s in the crowd but I wasn’t totally sure. If you saw someone running around with a shirt that had the artwork from Houses Of the Holy on the front and back in loud colors you saw me!
Take care everyone – catch Robert when you can!

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Review July 23, 2002 Reviewer Dave Tianen sent in by Elizabeth Judd/Kevin Rades

If there’s any single musical value we would associate with Robert Plant, it would be power.
The kind of power that kicks you in the sternum, nails your skull to the wall and leaves your ears humming two hours after the show. The kind of power that leaves large, smoking holes in the earth. As he proved yet again Monday night at the Eagles
Ballroom in the Rave, even a middle-age Robert Plant is formidable. This man was, and is, one of the great shreikers of rock and the prototype for two generations of hard rock frontmen.
Even the very physicality of the man conveys a sense of brawny authority: the broad shoulders, the tight waist, the unruly rumple of curls, the sense of slightly ungainly strength in motion. That’s the Robert Plant the fans love, and as Plant cranked it up during “Whole Lotta Love” Monday, you could look around the packed ballroom and see a throng that was joyfully swept away.
But there are some other sides to Robert Plant that probably didn’t receive the hearing they deserved Monday. Plant’s new album, “Dreamland,” is among his better solo efforts, and his new band Strange Sensation is probably the best support he’s ever been
given outside the company of Jimmy Page. There’s a big slice of the Delta blues on “Dreamland,” tunes by seminal players like Bukka White and Big Boy Crudup. And although deadlines kept us from catching Plant’s entire set, none of that stuff made it into the first hour and a quarter. “Dreamland” also showcases the folk and Middle Eastern facets of Plant’s music. “Morning Dew” is a
particularly evocative folk ballad, usually associated with the Grateful Dead. Maybe it was an inflated arrangement, perhaps it was the ballroom’s tendency to smother nuance, but most of the emotional resonance of the song seemed lost. *(note from Elizabeth: the
acoustics weren’t the best but I thought the softer songs sounded really great)* Plant does have his quieter passages, and whenever the music veered in that direction Monday, I felt myself wishing for a more intimate, acoustically friendly environment. On the other hand, the muscular madness of Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” came through with authority. Plant is at the beginning of his summer tour, and Monday’s show found him in a particularily playful mood, mixing the Three Bears and the origin of the blues in his intro to “Whole Lotta Love” and even breaking into bits of Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe” on two occasions.
A somewhat awe-struck Freshwater Collins *(note from Elizabeth again–they’re a local Milwaukee band)*
opened the evening. Clearly delighted to be sharing oxygen with Robert Plant, the froup seemed to win some converts, particularly with its cover of the Allman Brothers classic “One Way Out.”

This from Jay Lewis

Overall, I had a really nice time at the show on Monday evening and thought that Robert sounded very good. As this was only my second Plant solo show (the other being the show in Chicago last summer that wrapped up the Strange Sensation mini-tour), I still find the entire concept fun and exciting. I spend all of my teen years wishing and hoping for these types of experiences, and wasn’t sure if I’d ever get to see Robert perform in concert, not to mention in such a small venue. I got there early and was the first in line. After waiting for a while outside in 95 degree weather, the early arrivers shuffled into a “holding pen” inside the venue next to a bar area where we waited for quite a while more. Once they opened the doors, I rushed straight up to the balcony and grabbed a front row seat just to the left of the soundman. I just couldn’t imagine standing in a mob of people given the weather conditions. I would imagine that it was at least 110 degrees inside the venue once you account for the humidity and the heat index…oppressively hot! When looking over the crowd to the stage, I’d SWEAR that I could see swirls of heat coming up from the floor like you see rising off of BBQ grills and hot asphalt in the summer!
Needless to say, I thought that there were some very high and very low points of the evening. The Milwaukee crowd was not nearly as into the non-Zep material as they were in Chicago last year, although there was some energetic applause after each song. From the new album, I thought that “Darkness Darkness” & “Morning Dew” were outstanding. While I like the new “mellowed out” approach to “Morning Dew”, I would probably prefer the Priory version which is more dynamic and rocks out a little more towards the end. “Calling to You” and “Tall Cool One” were also great to hear…never heard them performed live before, and I thought that the arrangements worked VERY well with this band, and the crowd seemed to like them as well.
For the Zep numbers, I still like “Four Sticks” in its Eastern arrangement, and felt that it was one of the highlights of the evening. That song just really gets me going for some reason. While I thought that the crowd was really into the show, it wasn’t until we hit some of the radio-friendly Zep tunes that they REALLY came alive and it was obvious how docile and reserved they really were during the other tunes. I don’t know it it was the music, the crowd, or the fact that people were up to their ankles in perspiration. It was a strange evening because people just seemed completely zapped and drained of energy before Plant even hit the stage. Who knows what the deal was??? Anyway, “Going to California” was amazingly beautiful and “vibey”, but Whole Lotta Love completely sent the crown into a frenzy! Since I usually get to these shows early and am dead-center in one of the first few rows, it was really interesting to be able to watch the crowd from my lofty vantage point. People were literally throwing themselves to and frow, bopping up and down, swaying back and forth!!! It reminded me of the scenes in the Peanuts TV specials where the kids dance around, flailing their arms and legs all over the place! The only major bummer was “Celebration Day”. This is one of my favorite Zep songs, and I thought that the band just butchered it! You simply can’t turn every old Zeppelin song into a rambling Egyptian number. It was an inaudible mess and was completely void of anything resembling a groove…it had no energy or passion at all.
Overall, while it was definitely not the moving and spiritual experience that the Chicago show was last year, I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I would encourage and recommend everyone to check out this tour, as Robert is singing well and seems genuinely happy to be doing what he’s doing.

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