Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Le Grand Rex, Paris. 13 May 2008

Concerts can usually be described in one of three ways: poor, good and excellent. Once in a while though a gig comes along that's so good that excellent doesn't do it justice. Nothing does it justice. Last night was one of those gigs. Absolutely mind-blowing. Opened with the excellent 'Rich Woman' and the gig kept on getting stronger. The three songs that Alison sang on her own early on (Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us, Through The Morning, Through The Night and Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson) was one of the best sequences of songs I've ever seen. Having never seen her live or listened to any of her own stuff I was absolutely blown away by her voice.

Plant was more than happy to shine the spotlight on her as at various times he walked off stage leaving her to sing songs on her own. When both were on stage together though, they sang some of the best stuff Ive ever heard live. 'The Battle Of Evermore' was incredible. There's a video of it below from New Orleans, but seeing it in person is a real experience. The two of them trading lines before exploding into the "Bring It Back" part was the highlight of the show for me.

That was difficult to choose when songs like 'Black Country Woman' 'Black Dog' and 'Nothin'(which was absolutely fantastic) were also played. It was interesting to see the dynamic between the two, with Plant acting the frontman, with his legendary picking up the microphone stand being a major feature. Krauss was much more reserved and not quite as comfortable as Plant during the instrumental parts. Must be mentioned how good the band were. They were fantastic with T Bone Burnett leading them magnificently. Never missed a note and each contributed some great solos.

My two criticisms of the night. One, I thought they finished one song early. They had come out for an encore which only lasted two songs and 'Stick With Me Baby' (I think that was the song, open to correction) didn't seem like the song to end it on. Looking at some past shows, they usually do a second encore, including 'When The Levee Breaks' which I would have loved to have seen. Other criticism, I had a headache from squinting from my seat in the gods to see just how good looking Alison Krauss is. Result: extremely.

It's easy to see why Plant turned down a Zeppelin reunion to do this tour. He's clearly having a great time singing songs he'd never have thought he'd be singing. (Also kudos for his attempts at French, although when he was leaving I thought he wished everybody a "bon Noël") On their own, these are two of the best live voices you're ever likely to hear. Put them together and as you'll see in the couple of videos, it's incredible. Easily in my list of top gigs I've ever seen, it's over to Bruce next week to top that.

I've run out of superlatives to use, so just take a look at the videos and see for yourself. (Can't find any videos yet from last night, if I do, I'll update the review. There was an annoying guy in front of me filming most of the show so hopefully it was for some good and he's going to post them)

The Battle Of Evermore - New Orleans

Rich Woman - Jools Holland

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree about mind blowing gig. I travelled fron Dublin to Brussels to see the show 2 days before Paris, they did 3 encores including 'Levee'.
'In the Mood' where Alison comes in with the old English folksong 'Matty Groves' was another highlight for me. It shows that Plant isn't allowing T-Bone totally run the show and was a wonderful tribute to Sandy Denny.