When Robert Plant played Iceland’s Summer Solstice Festival late last month, he wrapped up his set with a truncated rendition of “Immigrant Song,” marking the first time he played any version of the Led Zeppelin classic since a 1996 Page and Plant concert. Plant often plays Zeppelin tunes at his solo shows in completely new arrangements, but as you can see from this fan-shot YouTube video, he sticks pretty close to the original even though he shaved off a few verses.
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote “Immigrant Song” when Led Zeppelin first toured Iceland in the summer of 1970. “We went to Iceland, and it made you think of Vikings and big ships,” Plant said in 1970. “And bang, there it was –‘ Immigrant Song!’” The song became the lead single from Led Zeppelin III and peaked at #16 on the Hot 100, making it their third biggest stateside hit after “Whole Lotta” and “Black Dog.” It was a regular part of their live show for a couple of years, but they dropped it in January 1973 and never played it again as a band.
Plant played it many times at his solo shows between 1988 and 1991 and occasionally on the road with Jimmy Page in 1995 and 1996, but it wasn’t a part of Led Zeppelin’s one-off reunion show at London’s 02 Arena in 2007. Plant’s ongoing solo tour is heavy on Zeppelin songs, including “When the Levee Breaks,” “Black Dog,” “Going to California” and Ramble On,” but “Immigrant Song” vanished as soon as the tour left Iceland and probably won’t return unless he comes back for another show in the “land of the ice and snow.”