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WOMEX Event Gateshead

30 October 2005 3,340 views No Comment

Set-List:
Tin Pan Valley, Shine It All Around, Black Dog, Freedom Fries, 7 x 7 Is?, If I Ever Get Lucky, Going To California, Another Tribe, Thank You, Hey Joe, Four Sticks, Gallows Pole
Encores, The Enchanter, Boogie Chillin into Whole Lotta Love


Reviews:
This from Russell Cherrington
I have looked forward to this gig all summer, Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation at the beautiful Sage music complex on Gateshead Marina. This venue is simply stunning and the acoustics are superb. Although the venue worked for the band it proved to be the oddest setting for the audience and proved more than a little frustrating for Robert and the band during the course of the evening.

The lights go down at 20.50 and we get The Girls remix of Shine It All Around, the stage is red and the audience shouts then listens as it thunders out of the PA.
Tin Pan Valley now opens the show, funny and interesting at the same time, as always the room erupts and Robert prowls out from behind the keyboards. He looks fit and very healthy as he moves to take centre stage. Wearing all black and with slightly longer hair. Only a few make to stand but nervously sit back down as everyone else remains seated. Robert makes gestures during the up tempo bits as if he wants people on their feet. It doesn’t happen.

Next up, Shine It All Around, normally a crowd pleaser, Robert dances and looks his audience in the eye but they remain seated. He looks a little frustrated, but this is probably the best front-man around so if anyone can do it he can, right? No! More or less everyone remains seated.

We get some amazing Plantisms about the first time he visited Gateshead to see Roy Harper in a youth club, well you just had to, says Robert.

If anything was going to tip the balance of a seated gig it has got to be a Zeppelin number. So Black Dog is given the Strange Sensation Rearrangement. It sounds awesome, Clive Deamer is playing like a monster, Plant is digging it, so he tries to get the audience up, no luck and what could be worse for him? He tries to get the masses to sing the uuuhhh uuuhh line and they manage a mouse of a sound. Robert stops the gig dead and tells the audience that’s ‘fucking shit’, because yes it was fucking shit. He starts again and thank the lord the place comes a little to life.

Before Freedom Fries, Robert shows his distain for President Blair. The band launch into the song with conviction and passion, they play out of their skins; it sounds breath taking in this venue. So when the song finishes Robert says during the applause he must have won a Cracker Jack pencil, you have to laugh because it now looks like no one is going to get up to dance, only the odd person stands to applaud between song but soon sits down again.

Love’s Seven and Seven Is? Comes next, it sounds powerful and passionate, Robert sings the words of one of his favorite artists like he means it and it really does sound out of this world in this room.

The Strange Sensation play a knock you dead version of If I Ever Get Lucky, when Robert holds the note you know the voice is still there in all its glory, it all stunning, I don’t think you can say a bad word about this band, they are all amazing and it looks like fun too. Robert cracks up when Justin makes a comment between songs.

Going To California makes a welcome return to the set, this song is heaven for me, I love it each time the band play it and it is always a highlight. It was sad to have the horrible sounds from Skins guitar, sounded like a couple of things just were clashing between his guitar and monitors. Still Robert sang with passion and it really does take you there.

The semi acoustic feel continued with Another Tribe, very delicate and beautiful, it had no sound problems and was probably the best I have heard it sound live in this room. When it finished Robert made comments about Newcastle, The City Hall and burnt Broccoli. Classic Plant, someone should write a book on these.

A relatively faithful Thank You is simply breathtaking; wow as good as I have ever heard it including the UnLedded version. A classic song, from another time, close to many peoples heart. Still Robert uses this to make fun of his potential of going back to The Sweet or The Eagles and he remarks that he will not be doing Smoke on the Water tonight.

Robert introduces Hey Joe by telling us about meeting up with Brian Johnson from AC/DC and Paul Rogers from Queen, I mean Bad Company and Free, never mind The Firm. Of how they all share a love of old 1960’s and beyond Rock N Roll before launching into a free form reading of Hey Joe, this version has everything in the soup, it is bluesed up, jazzed up, psychedelic and ultimately breaks into Hendrix’s interpretation before taking you back through it’s long history. The band get something of a chance to almost solo and I am sure they loved playing it.

We are back to classic Zep with Four Sticks, very cool and very alive. You just have to go to one of the shows to hear the power in Roberts voice, the beauty in the music and they way it all sounds so now, even though we know some of these songs are 35 years old.

So we finish the set proper with simply the best version of Gallows Pole you will ever hear. The Sensation’s Rearrangement of this number is a genius, although I feel like anything this band does is shared and true to the nature of what they have set out to do. It is still grooving in my head as I think of it, making me want to buy tickets for the December shows.

In fairness to the crowd they are motivated to stand as the song finishes and Robert says goodnight, the band are called back on by the crowd. As we have come to expect The Enchanter hypnotizes us with its beauty and I can see the people who have sat back down want to dance, the woman are moving in their seats, Robert is charming them to move.

So it goes without that one thing and one thing only is going to do this, going to take the roof off this gem in the crown of the north east. Way down inside, w we get the start of Boogie Chillin, slow and easy before the monster that is the riff to end all riffs. Whole Lotta Love explodes and the place responds, Robert smiles he knew we had it in us to un-conform to the setting, we stand, we dance, we have this in our blood.

Nothing can describe how awesome this song is in 2005, it is a beast of a riff and the band has fun, you would have to be a poe faced old git not to, really, wouldn’t you?

Robert and the band take their bows and Robert leaves by saying it is amazing to play there, but next time they will have to take the seats out. Nuff Said!!!
Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation 10 Gateshead Sage 4 no contest, next time we really need to be free and dance and enjoy the music, maybe we need some burnt Broccoli to help us along, hey Robert?

 

This from Mick Scullion
Bit of an odd evening this, standard set
Splendid and dramatic opening with Tin Pan Valley, Robert in fine voice and look to match.. Early on it seemed as if the restrained reaction of the crowd irritated him a bit and I thought it got to him, to be fair it was very quiet-in fact deathly would be an apt description. By the time Whole Lotta Love came around everyone obligingly stood up and all ended well.

High points for me, the aforementioned Tin Pan Valley, Thank You, California and an outstanding re-working of Gallows Pole, I also loved Seven and Seven is. The band – Robert the voice gets better. I also thought Skin has made massive leaps forward since the Dreamland tour and has forged a great bond with the rythmn section. The performance as a whole was very tight and polished

Low points-It didnt excite me, dont feel the set has moved much since Dreamland or the delivery of the songs- I also didnt enjoy what I felt was a crucifixion of Black Dog.

Overall I think Strange Sensation would have been better left as a one album project and I’ll be surprised if there is a third

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