Robert Plant: 7/1/1985

So if you are paying attention, you will notice that the date on the stub and the date of this show do not match up. That’s because, even though this was an indoor concert, it was postponed due to rain. If you grew up in South Florida in the 70s and 80s, you would remember the barn of a venue that was the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium, which was such a shithole that when it rained, water threatened to pour down on the stage.

The Sportatorium roof was infamous for occasionally leaking over the stage (and performers) or the audience during heavy rainfalls. Robert Plant postponed a 1985 concert for one day due to leaks in the roof, and remarked to the crowd the following night, “This is the first gig I’ve ever done that was rained out inside the building.”

(Source: Wikipedia)

We had driven out to Pembroke Pines on the Sunday, since we hadn’t heard the news about the postponement, and we were turned away along with a bunch of other concertgoers (read Sun Sentinel article about cancellation). Thankfully, there were no conflicts preventing us from returning the following night. Since this was my first time seeing Robert Plant, I would have been devastated if I had to return my ticket.

Anyway, the next day, we made the trek (again) out to the Sport-hole, and this time we were treated to an awesome performance by Plant. He was touring in support of the Shaken and Stirred album, but he also included a short Honeydrippers set, which was very cool. I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t play any Zeppelin tunes on this tour, but I guess he was trying to establish himself apart from his past. I can respect that, but it would have been cool to toss in one or two songs. But the quality of what he did play certainly made up for it, and I would see Plant perform Zep stuff at future shows, particularly when he performed with Jimmy Page.

Here’s the setlist—there was good rockin’ at midnight!

Setlist

Robert Plant

  • In the Mood
  • Pledge Pin
  • Pink and Black
  • Little by Little
  • Burning Down One Side
  • Too Loud
  • Thru’ With the Two Step
  • Other Arms
  • Messin’ With the Mekon
  • Slow Dancer

Honeydrippers

  • Rockin’ at Midnight
  • Young Boy Blues
  • Sea of Love
  • (Every Time I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone

Robert Plant

  • Like I’ve Never Been Gone
  • Easily Lead

Encore:

  • Big Log

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: 3/6/1995

Seeing Plant and Page performing together is about as close as you can get to seeing Led Zeppelin without actually seeing Zep. This tour was booked after the rock gods appeared on MTV Unplugged. When they booked a show at the Miami Arena, I immediately got tickets for my wife and I to go. And not surprising, a good number of my friends also got tickets.

The Miami Arena was fairly small as far as arenas go, so getting to see Plant and Page here was great. We had seats straight back in the lower section, but could still see really well, and the sound was good.

Rusted Root was the opening act for this show. At the time, I had not heard of them, but I was immediately impressed by their music and stage presence. They totally had the place rockin’ and did not draw any wrath from the usually intolerant South Florida music crazies.

After a break, Plant and Page took the stage. It was awesome! They totally kicked ass from the first crushing notes to the very end. They had a solid band backing them up, which included Porl Thompson from The Cure.

  • Porl Thompson — guitar, banjo
  • Nigel Eaton — hurdy-gurdy
  • Charlie Jones — bass, percussion
  • Michael Lee — drums, percussion
  • Ed Shearmur — orchestral arrangements, organ
  • Jim Sutherland — mandolin, bodhran

What can I say about seeing Plant and Page together on stage? The image was so iconic, like they stepped right out of a poster from my teenage wall and exploded into reality. The energy was tangible, and I think half the crowd was hoarse by the end of the night. They played a great mix of hard-rockin’ Zep tunes, some acoustic stuff, and even a couple covers. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to choose songs from such an amazing catalog of music. If you think about it, there is no such thing as a bad Zeppelin song. Everything that they wrote was amazing.

It’s impossible for me to pick out high points from this show. It was all one big high point. That said, “Song Remains the Same” with Page on the double-neck guitar was amazing, and “Kashmir” to end the night was perfect. Here’s the full setlist, forged from the Hammer of the Gods.

Setlist

  • Tales of Bron
  • The Wanton Song
  • Bring It On Home
  • Celebration Day
  • Thank You
  • Dancing Days
  • Shake My Tree
  • Lullaby (The Cure cover)
  • No Quarter
  • Wonderful One
  • Hey Hey What Can I Do
  • Gallows Pole
  • Hurdy-Gurdy Solo
  • Nobody’s Fault but Mine
  • The Song Remains the Same
  • Since I’ve Been Loving You
  • Friends
  • Calling to You (w Dazed And Confused / The Hunter excerpts)
  • Four Sticks
  • In the Evening
  • Black Dog
  • Kashmir

Robert Plant & the Band of Joy: 1/18/2011

Robert Plant is one of those musicians that I just have to see any time I have the opportunity, so when he announced a show at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium—a small, intimate venue—I made sure I got tickets right away.

The Band of Joy included some amazing musicians backing Plant:

  • Marco Giovino – drums, percussion, vocals
  • Patty Griffin – vocals, guitar
  • Byron House – bass
  • Buddy Miller – guitar, vocals
  • Darrell Scott – vocals, mandolin, guitar, accordion, pedals, lap steel guitar, banjo

Anyway, I went with my wife to this show, and we had pretty good seats: orchestra center. The North Mississippi Allstars opened the show, and they were good. These days, it’s always a bonus when you have a solid opening act.

Finally, Plant came out, and not surprising, he sounded great. He just has a presence about him (pun intended). He played a great mix of Zep tunes, solo stuff, and some covers. The band was tight and it was just an all-around great show.

There was a strange incident, though. As the band was finishing up, and they were all standing together in a row on stage, ready to take the collective bow, some jackass jumped up on stage to get his picture taken with Plant and the band. Plant gracefully played it down and asked if they got the picture, but I  thought it was kind of uncool. I will say that since then (now seven years), Plant has not come back to Asheville. I can only hope that it is coincidence and that he is not pissed at the city. I do hope he comes back. I would definitely go see him again.

Here is the full setlist from the show.

Setlist

  • Down to the Sea
  • House of Cards
  • Angel Dance
  • Please Read the Letter
  • Monkey
  • Twelve Gates to the City / Wade in the Water / In My Time of Dying
  • Tangerine
  • Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go
  • A Satisfied Mind
  • Move Up
  • Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down
  • Central Two-O-Nine
  • Houses of the Holy
  • Tall Cool One
  • You Can’t Buy My Love
  • Ramble On
  • Gallows Pole

Encore:

  • Harm’s Swift Way
  • Rock and Roll
  • And We Bid You Goodnight

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: 6/14/2008

PlantKrauss_6-14-08

The Rolling Stones may be the greatest rock and roll band, but Led Zeppelin embodies the mythos of rock and Robert Plant is the archetype of the rock god. So when Robert Plant booked a show in lil ol’ Asheville with Alison Krauss, I had to grab a ticket, even though I had seen Plant multiple times before. The two had recently collaborated on an album, “Raising Sand.” Then I discovered that T Bone Burnett was also part of their band, and I was really psyched. I knew this was going to be a special show.

I went with my wife and we had decent seats about halfway back on the side. The Civic Center is far from acoustically perfect, but it really didn’t matter, they still sounded incredible.

Plant and Krauss each sang some songs separately and many together. I was really impressed by how well they harmonized. Many rock singers suffer from voice damage in later years, but Plant still sounded great. He performed three Zeppelin tunes: Black Dog, Black Country Woman, and Battle of Evermore. I can honestly say that the performance of “The Battle of Evermore” was one of my most memorable moments of live music performances ever. I managed to find a YouTube recording of the performance. The quality of the video is not the greatest, but it at least gives a sense of how magical the performance was.

The Battle of Evermore – Asheville Civic Center

Overall, it was a wonderful date night with my wife. I’m fortunate to be married to someone who loves live music as much as I do.

For those of you who are interested, here is the complete setlist from the concert.


Setlist:

  • Rich Woman
  • Leave My Woman Alone
  • Black Dog
  • Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us
  • Through the Morning, Through the Night
  • It’s Goodbye and So Long to You
  • Fortune Teller
  • Black Country Woman
  • In the Mood
  • Bon Temps Rouler
  • Shut it Tight
  • Trampled Rose
  • Green Pastures
  • Down to the River to Pray
  • Killing the Blues
  • Nothin’
  • The Battle of Evermore
  • Please Read the Letter
  • Gone Gone Gone

Encore

  • Don’t Knock
  • (I’m a) One Woman Man
  • Your Long Journey

Robert Plant: 7/14/88

RobertPlant_7-14-88

This is an example of a great concert where I did not have a really great time. I was originally planning to go to this show with my then girlfriend, Julie. But something came up and she could not go. Instead, she insisted that I take her mother instead. I knew this was not a good idea, but she was insistent and I decided to give it a go.

To say I was uncomfortable is an understatement. I was certain that this woman was scrutinizing and judging me. Still, I was going to try my best to enjoy myself and the concert.

Cheap Trick was the opening act, and I do love Cheap Trick. Our seats were toward the back of the arena, but we still had a decent view of the stage. As the band tore through their set, I got more and more excited. Finally, in a fit of rock and roll enthusiasm, I stood up and screamed “California Man!” wanting to hear my favorite Cheap Trick song. My girlfriend’s mom looked at me with what seemed a blend of pity and disdain, and then said, “Do you really think they can hear you?” I felt crushed, but only for a moment, because they immediately broke in to “California Man” and vindicated me. I looked back down at the mom with a smug smile on my face.

The rest of the show was less eventful, thankfully. Robert Plant was great, as always. His set was mostly solo material, but he did perform a few Led Zeppelin tunes, the best being “Trampled Under Foot.”

Anyway, I survived the ordeal, and vowed never to make that mistake again.