Robert Plant Alison Krauss in Berkeley
Update 6/28: You can read my complete review here.
Just got back from a chilly night at Berkeley Greek Theatre, watching Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and their amazing band, led by T Bone Burnett. The combo played for two hours, including nearly all of the Sand album, reworkings of Led Zeppelin and Plant solo material, some old country and gospel, and even a couple of Burnett numbers. The band? Wow. For the tour they assembled a bunch of Nashville cats, including the city finest fiddler, Stuart Duncan whoalso showed his mastery of guitar, banjo and mandolin and guitar ace Buddy Miller. And there was the bluegrass novice, the old English dude from Led Zeppelin, gamely pitching in on trios and quartets alongside folks who have been doing it their entire lives. And having a blast, apparently. Crazy. I really enjoyed it. Sure, it is not like any previous work for Plant, but having seen him live for 20 years now, it has to be one of the best tours. 1995 with Jimmy Page was killer, especially the first half of the show where they did mostly Zep stuff.
Alison is a strong vocalist and excellent muscisian. T Bone put a class act together with this group. They are on top of their game.
Check out my video on YouTube where I gave Robert Plant a souvenoir at the Knoxville show. Look for SireBonham
I was there, lawn, sliding down the steep, slippery hill. Great sound, brrrr eerilly foggy/chilly/damp. I was hoping for a Robert Plant show, but he was promoting Allison and band. Robert recent show have been a dissapointment, since 2003, too mellowdramatic, and not the right direction for him. Geez could we at least have some HONEYDRIPPERS if no rock show exists. I loved the Gospel, bluegrass, folk,. hard to say, but it was cool. I just starting to appreciate the Bro where art thou sound Robert Plant singing gospel? Who would guessed! Allison has a great voice, especially live! She was kinda stiff/bland on personality, and all the energy/dancing was left to Plant. The T bone songs should been left off the set list. I had hoped for at least a Love encore, in some re mixed form ,but alas, no. I had hoped the show would have more energy, Plant band Sensations was a snooze fest also. I can only dream that Plant will reunite and tour with Zeppelin. Heck he got more solo albums than Zep albums! the mood was a real treat, as was Country Woman and To THE RIVER to Pray still think the Indian girl sang Of Evermore better (Shoreline live) than Allison, Allison got a better voice, she just did get into the song at all. Where were the Plant tunes? It was a Allison, T Bone ,band show, with Plant as a special guest. I paid for Plant, it was a weird, show, ok too but not worth my money! 2 1/2 out of 5 stars. Gee no one really stood up, it was a laid back low energy show. No dancing, really.
Phenomenal show. The musicians craft and passion, their joy in performing these beautiful songs, delighted me. I twice saw Led Zeppelin in their prime (1973 and 1975), and was amazed guitars and bass and drums and voice in a thunderous symphony. I a huge fan of Zeppelin, and started listening to Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin Wolf, and Willie Dixon because they were the sources who inspired Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. And then I heard Hank Williams and Bill Monroe and Leadbelly and Willie Guthrie it all folk and blues and country. And then a few years ago I saw and heard the Coming Down from the Mountain tour, a selection of bluegrass, country and folk musicians who performed on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, including Allison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, and Ralph Stanley. And they amazed me in a totally different way. Allison, Emmylou, and Patty Loveless sang a haunting version of to the River to Pray that stilled the entire audience, it was so pure and piercing. Music so good it almost takes your breath away. To hear Allison perform the same song with Robert Plant,
Buddy Miller, and Stuart Duncan accompanying her, was another kind of joy. Four voices blending to create magic in an auditorium filled with swirling fog, with Allison crystalline tone cutting through the fog and rising to the top of the auditorium. Chilling. Her climbing the scales voice on Tom Waits Rose gave me goose pimples all over (it wasn the fog and wind). Astonishing. All of us smiled and shook our heads in wonderment. The whole show was like that. T Bone Burnett re imagining of Zeppelin Country Woman and Dog was inspired and humorous (especially Plant line, hey, mama, why you treat me mean? But that all right, I know your sister, too. Allison and Robert were slyly playful on both numbers. I anticipated of Evermore, as I loved it since first hearing it over 35 years ago and being entranced by Sandy Denny ethereal voice. At first, sounded not quite right, but it built into a showstopper as Allison and Robert unleashed the power of their voices on the chorus. The audience erupted. Their insights, their love of this music, their great sense of humor all come through. Plus, Allison wonderfully mimics Robert English accent. That same sense of joy and camaraderie came through on stage. An utter triumph, with much credit to T Bone and the outstanding musicians every one of them: Buddy Miller, Stuart Duncan, Dennis Crouch, and Jay Bellerose. (By the way, I also loved the two songs T Bone performed. I would have liked to hear more of him.) But I was very happy to have Allison and Robert return to the stage. They channeled and controlled their voices to serve the songs and to bend and blend into the musical notes and phrases coming out all around them not an easy thing to do for voices so powerful and unique, and probably counter intuitive. But they weaved everything together in the service of the songs. An inspired alchemy and I eagerly await their next album. If you love music, in its many forms and incarnations, you will love this show. Blues, country, folk, bluegrass, and rock woven into a new sonic tapestry. It a gift to anyone who hears it.
A couple of thoughts on the comments above.
The tour was promoting the record and the various musical styles supported on that record. The musicians, Krause and Plant were all having a ball and if anyone came to see a Zep or standard Plant show they were bound to be disappointed. That being said, the song selection was terrific and the mix was great. If you like American roots music then it was a treat from start to finish.
I saw them the next night in Tahoe and it was equally good.
As to Zep in 09 don hold your breath. I love to see them as well but it appears that there is a second Krause record in the works and Plant isn in any rush to get back to crank up the mighty Zep. Breathe easy. He in good shape and should make it to a Zep reunion just not for a while. Enjoy the ride.
just touching base about the show, as robert plant and alison krauss are two of my favorites because the led zeppelin songs are some of the best ever written and because alison krauss is everything my long lost high school friend martha (martie) erwin and her band should be. she has so much more class in her singing choices and in her presence. i hear people points that the concert focused on alison in that she performed alone a lot, but no one has really focused on the absolutely lovely harmonizing those two are capable of. it stunning to hear them together, and it a perfect age for robert plant to do it, as he mellowed with time and is expanding his music and exploring other traditions. i admire him so much for stepping outside of himself and being in a duo, and still a very charismatic one. we had a great drunken guy behind us who kept chanting god because he still is! people who want him not to age or change are just being narrow. he is aging beautifully, and i love their voices together. so glad to hear there will be another album. i hope there a live album, because the performances went beyond and extended the album. lovely!! alison is a smart, extremely talented and lucky woman to be able to record, tour and perform with one of the greatest musicians alive (in my opinion the greatest)!
I was there. The show was AWESOME!! Those complaining about it not being enough were just uninformed and clearly did not buy or listen to Rasing Sand. BTW the show was billed as Alison Krause AND Robert Plant w/T Bone Burnett. Given that exactly what were the complainers expecting?
The quality musicianship displayed by all was unmatched and the simpatico between Alison and Robert was amazing! Particularly during Nothin when they were clearly baiting each other, pushing each other musically. That kind of musical relationship is rare and such a wonderful experience to see/hear.
My husband is a walking encyclopedia of Zeppelin Plan factoids. He was ecstatic to hear The Battle of Evermore and In the Mood. His take, being the last word in Plant/Zeppelin fans. was entirely positive. Robert was kind enough to let out they are making another record together! Can wait.
Dyno myte show last Fri in Berkeley historic Greek Theatre featuring Alison Krauss, Robert Plant, their killer Nashville Cats backing band! Provided a great tonal template into Americana musical folklore. Watched the show with friends from Sactown who caught them in New Orleans several months earlier. show was during the afternoon). We were also diggin bein able to breathe fog scrubbed fresh air, after a week worth of smoke inhalation! All in all a tribute to real Nashville music its evolving contributions. Dug how Stuart Duncan emulated Jimmy Page on his fiddle during Dog Nice to know Robert Plant ego isn so fragile that he demands his star shine centre stage through out the evening proceedings! Rather, he was as complementary as to be expected from a British sonic squire, albeit a legendary one! Krauss was in excellent voice, exemplary on fiddle as well! She still seems a bit in awe of sharing the stage with Plant, though, which is quite understandable considering his sizable shadow! Only thang bunk about the show were all them damn youngsters constantly blabbing throughout the evenings festivities! Unlike us auldsters, who gazed in rapt attention; swingin when appropriate!!
I went to it and was horribly let down. Robert Plant is one of the greatest rockers of all time and he was horribly drowned out by a bunch of twangy banjo and agonizingly slow beats. Black Dog? Battle of Evermore? They are easily my two favorite Zeppelin songs, and with Krauss adding her annoying twang to it, just made me want to pull a Linda Blair and vomit everywhere. And on top of that, I believe the ticket said Plant AND Alison Krauss not the other way around. He got one solo song and she got like four. Rip off.