"Very good choice." Oh yes, even Robert Plant's responses hit the back of the net this evening. You wanna tell Plant you love him while he's introducing the next song? Go ahead. He'll remind you just how fine a decision you've made. And Robert Plant knows a thing or two about smart decisions. After all, the former Led Zeppelin ringleader is said to have turned down millions to get the old band back together. But Plant is no nostalgia man.
Sure, a handful of Zeppelin tunes pop up as he and the Sensational Space Shifters (a cracking name for a cracking band) deliver a glorious set of eclectic sounds and styles, from rock and blues to country, folk and African music. But Plant (below) and his men are all about reinvention.
How many other rock stars grow old with such dignity, class and grace? As a singer, Plant (66) remains one of the sharpest (and coolest) in the business; a bearded wizard of melody with a voice that is in extraordinarily healthy shape. In short, he's still got it. Tonight, all six members of the Space Shifters dig deep. In the superlative Justin Adams and Liam Tyson, Plant's got himself two of the most dexterous six-string players he's ever worked with, and they truly are sensational.
A flawless display of impeccable musicianship, wondrous stagecraft and astonishing teamwork, Plant's men cut through riveting traditional numbers (Little Maggie), prodigious, instrumental breakdowns (Turn It Up) and mesmerising re-workings (Zeppelin's Going to California). Oh, and the always reliable Whole Lotta Love has never sounded better. Plant could easily fill arenas with Page. Instead, he continues to challenge himself, both as a musician and as a performer. The smile on his face says it all. Very good choice, indeed. HHHHH