.

Robert Plant Plays Intimate Club Gig

Showcase of Plant's rootsy recent sound includes solo material and revitalized Led Zeppelin classics

September 14, 2010 2:14 PM ET

Robert Plant played a rare club show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom Sunday night, backed by the group behind his rootsy new project, Band of Joy (named after his mid-Sixties psychedelic-blues outfit). In a 100-minute set performed before less than a thousand fans, Plant presented solo material and several revitalized Led Zeppelin classics, retooling many with an ethereal, reverb-heavy sound.

The group emerged a few minutes past 9 p.m. and played “Monkey,” a dark, eerie track off Band of Joy, which was cut in Nashville. Plant, who wore a partly unbuttoned blue shirt and tight jeans, was chatty and playful. He introduced “Please Read the Letter” — co-written with Jimmy Page — as “a song written a couple hundred years ago by a very ubiquitous couple.” During “Down to the Sea,” he repeated the phrase “when I get older” many times, playing with the phrasing, then making bug eyes, like he’d just realized he’s 62.

The singer was in fine form playing Zep classics, especially with his innovative takes on “Misty Mountain Hop” (less guitar-centered) and a mellow, steel-driven “Houses of the Holy.” “Rock and Roll” featured a raucous rockabilly-style solo from producer-guitarist Buddy Miller; the main set climaxed with “Gallows Pole,” built around Darrell Scott’s ragged banjo.

All the band’s members got a share of the spotlight. When Miller sang the heavy blues shuffle “Somewhere Trouble Don't Go,” Plant slid behind vocalist Patty Griffin, and played bluesy harmonica. Darrell Scott took center stage for an acoustic, soulful take on the country classic “Satisfied Mind.” And the band finished with the gospel traditional “I Bid You Goodnight,” which unfolded with nearly every member taking a verse, an appropriately intimate end to the evening.

Before that, as the group came onstage for their encore, Plant took a moment to reflect on his newfound passion for old-time and country music: “There are many things I’ve learned in the last few years. I thought I knew about American music. All the British guys, we spend time staring into Mississippi in a crystal ball, but we miss the mountains of Tennessee, the plains of Texas. Now, I've found a new place to look."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com