Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters in Prospect Park

This past weekend was amazing! On Saturday I went to see/hear Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters in Prospect Park (as the title suggests heh). The opening band was Phosphorescent and musician/producer/friend James and I were marveling at how uninspired their performance was…are you too cool to be into what you’re doing? You are opening for Robert Plant for christsakes!! You know…from Led Zeppelin! Are you kidding me?? Maybe the guy was sick or injured but he really just seemed unmoved and the band was not really interacting, each in their own fantastic bubble. Play means interact people! For those of us who would just about kill to be on such an amazing bill Phosphorescent’s non-performance really felt like a slap in the face. So once that was over….and don’t get me wrong the last tune they played was more together than the others and cooked a little more. But once that was over and the show began it was awesome!
In addition to Robert Plant, The Sensational Space Shifters’ lineup includes Justin Adams, Guitar (Tinariwen, Sinead O’Connor), John Baggot, Keyboards, Loops, Synthesizers (Massive Attack), Billy Fuller, Bass (Beak>, Massive Attack, Portishead), Liam “Skin” Tyson, Guitar (of The La’s offshoot Cast), Juldeh Camara (African violin), and Dave Smith, Drums.
Liam “Skin” Tyson came out and began the show with a beautiful almost flamenco intro to “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”. I thought it was Robert Plant playing at first (they look a little alike) but then he came out and started singing. Robert Plant is the quintessential frontman, he was charming, engaged, in great voice, in fact he had (maybe) better control than when he was younger! He couldn’t hit some of those high screaming notes from his days of yore but that was fine. Dancing and kicking the mic-stand around in true rock-god form and yet he was able to make fun of himself, and his age. He had a whole series of hand gestures accompanying most of the songs. Towards the end of the concert he encouraged the audience using the American Sign Language sign for applause. Justin Adams was amazing, he was clearly psyched to be sharing the stage with Plant, full of jumpy dancing energy. Adams reminded me of Joe Strummer a little bit, that much energy and he made big gestures indicating changes in the music. One of my favorite moments was when Justin Adams and Liam “Skin” Tyson played Going to California (see below). And Plant played back and forth with his band, improvised vocal jabs which were repeated back to him in guitar lines….either to keep it interesting or to keep everybody on their toes….but I really think it was in the interest of play! Juldeh Camara was not on stage the entire time and sort of a guest but his African violin made perfect sense with roots-rock and blues of Led Zeppelin. Really just a great show!!

The Setlist:
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
(Joan Baez cover)
In the Mood
Tin Pan Valley
Spoonful
(Charley Patton cover)
Black Dog
(Led Zeppelin song)
Another Tribe
Going to California
(Led Zeppelin song)
The Enchanter
(with “I’m Free Now” outro)
Four Sticks
(Led Zeppelin song)
Friends
(Led Zeppelin song)
Funny in My Mind (Fixin’ to Die)
What Is and What Should Never Be
(Led Zeppelin song)
Whole Lotta Love (with Who Do You Love medley
(Led Zeppelin song) (“Hoochie Coochie Man” introduction)
Encore:
Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down
(Traditional cover)
Rock and Roll
(Led Zeppelin song)

Have a great week humans! Support live music! Farewell to Maxwells!

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