Saturday 7 December 2019

Robert Plant at The Olympia Dublin - 'blows the roof off the place'

Robert Plant performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset in June this year.
Robert Plant performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset in June this year.
John Meagher

John Meagher

It’s been seven years since Led Zeppelin got together for a one-off show in London, and there are absolutely no signs that one of the biggest rock bands of all time are going to join forces any time soon.

Judging by tonight’s wonderfully eclectic show. Robert Plant is having too much of a good time to contemplate going back on the road with Messrs Page and Jones. Now of pensionable age, he’s happy to kick out the jams - and the world music grooves - with his excellent band, the Sensational Space Shifters.

Tonight’s show centres on a batch of well-chosen Delta blues covers, some tunes inspired by the vibrant music of west Africa and a handful of Led Zeppelin numbers to sate the appetites of the hard rock lovers in the room.

As a young man, Plant possessed one of the most potent vocals in work and age has certainly been kind to that remarkable voice. Time and again, he demonstrates what a remarkable instrument it is - not least on ‘Turn It Up’ which he says was formative when he was starting off in music and the Led Zep homage to Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Nobody’s Fault but Mine’.

He’s generous with his band too, allowing each member their time in the spotlight. It helps that they’re such a virtuosic bunch, especially on the percussive ‘Rainbow’ which features five bodhran-type drums.

The high point of the night arrives in the form of a three-song medley towards the end as Plant and his band deliver the goods on ‘Just Wanna Make Love to You’, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Mona’ with the legendary riff of the middle song sounding as magnificent as ever.

One gets the sense that the Wolverhampton native prefers playing smaller rooms like this to the huge arenas he was accustomed to in his Led Zed pomp and a pulse-quickening version of ‘Rock and Roll’ blows the roof off the place.

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