Written by Ellen Bille
Jul 24, 2010 at 08:00 PM
ImageLegendary vocalist Robert Plant graced the stage of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands Saturday night amidst the threatening fury of a Texas storm.  No doubt many fans who had tickets to see Plant two years ago when his show was cancelled due to Hurricane Ike were in this audience tonight, watchful and worried that this show’s fate would be the same.  Amazingly, the lightening streaked sky and thunderous storm skirted the Pavilion site and wreaked havoc elsewhere.

A bona fide member of Britain’s Rock Royalty via Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy emerged onto the stage and began what would be a memorable performance of his current musical evolution.  Once again Plant is back with a smooth semi-country Americana rhythm and blues sound, but perhaps this time more mysterious and edgy.  The songs are filled with anticipation, always awaiting that singular primal cry, unforgettable and synonymous with the era from which it sprang.

The seeds of Plant’s new band, ‘Band of Joy’ were sown in the 1960’s when he and future Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham were in a band of the same name, the explanation of which is best described by Plant himself from his website, where he states:

“In the Band of Joy, when I was seventeen, I was playing everybody else’s stuff and moving it around, and it’s kind of …time to reinvoke that attitude and sentiment”.

ImagePlant and the Band of Joy performed songs by Townes Van Zandt, Wilco, The Weavers, Richard Thompson, and the Louvin Brothers, as well as numbers from Plant’s catalog spanning from the Led Zeppelin days up to the present.

Robert Plant, now in his ‘60’s, still sports his famous long, curly blond locks.  His face is worn with lines of age that suggest a well lived life, but he still has the pipes to give forth those long and haunting vocal emanations for which he is famous the world over.

Band of Joy features some of Nashville’s premier musicians including guitarist / producer Buddy Miller, who worked with Plant and Alison Krauss on their Grammy award winning 2009 CD ‘Raising Sand’.  Patty Griffin also highlights the music with some amazing vocals and duets with Plant.

As he continues to explore and embrace the roots of America’s song book, Robert Plant lends his extraordinary vocals to them in a unique and intriguing way.  A bit surprising for me was Plant’s reworked Led Zeppelin numbers.  Misty Mountain Hop, Tangerine, Gallows Pole and Houses of the Holy were almost unrecognizable when first started, but Plant masterfully pulled each one back enough to its original sound to encompass the old as he showcased the new as if completing a circle.  Although Plant didn’t need to include any of his legacy library in the set, I believe he still knows on which side his original muffin was buttered.

The entire set list from this incredible performance is listed below.

Down to the Sea
Angel Dance
House of Cards
Please Read the Letter
Misty Mountain Hop
Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go
Rich Woman
12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
Satisfied Mind
Move On Up in Glory
Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down
Central 209
In the Mood
Houses of the Holy
Over the Hills and Far Away
Tall Cool One
Gallows Pole

Harm’s Swift Way
Thank You
Rock and Roll