Robert Plant - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Mon 18 Oct 2010 (4 stars)

Singer's 'other band' create intimate experience mixing Americana with Led Zep

Robert Plant - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Mon 18 Oct 2010

It’s impossible to ignore Robert Plant’s illustrious past with his ‘other band’ but tonight belongs to The Band of Joy. He may have reprised the name of his 1966 folk rock group but the current incarnation is very much an Americana outfit. Unsurprisingly Plant can call on an enviable selection of fantastic musicians including guitarist Buddy Miller, vocalist Patty Griffin and banjo/pedal steel/mandolin/guitar multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott.

When he does revisit the songs that made him famous there’s a crackle of electricity through the audience, even in these countrified versions they’re still spellbinding. We get mellower takes on ‘Houses of the Holy’, ‘Misty Mountain Hop’, ‘Tangerine’ and ‘Gallows Pole’ (only ‘Rock’n’Roll’ gets the full rock treatment); the new translations suiting Plant’s current vocal range. At the age of 62 his voice could never be as powerful as before but now there’s a rich, lived-in quality. It’s all brought to an informal close with a cover of The Incredible String Band’s ‘A Very Cellular Song’ a fitting end to a night that even in the grand surrounds of the Usher Hall felt like an intimate experience.


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