Sunday, April 20, 2008

Robert Plant begins U.S. tour with Alison Krauss

Here is the first professional review I've seen from the tour by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, reprinted from the Louisville Courier.

Palace concert was fit for royalty
By Jeffrey Lee Puckett
April 19, 2008

As their impeccable band swung into "Rich Woman" with an easy flourish, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss took the stage Saturday night at the Louisville Palace to the first of several standing ovations.

Plant, still the god king of rock 'n' roll, strolled out with a quietly confident swagger, his hair in that tangle of curls so familiar to Led Zeppelin fans. Krauss looked like she was headed to a prom in her pink dress, maybe one with "Stairway to Heaven" as its theme.

And when they began singing, it was clear they still felt the chemistry so evident on their "Raising Sand" album, his well-traveled yowl blending perfectly with her pristine voice. There were a few goose bumps, and not the last.

This was the first night of the "Raising Sand" tour but both the singers and the band sounded fully warmed up. Krauss didn't hit a bad note all night, almost flaunting her perfect pitch, and the band, led by T Bone Burnett, was nearly flawless. Plant was Plant, and that was plenty.

Krauss and Plant performed nearly all of "Raising Sand," a handful of Led Zeppelin classics and a couple of songs associated with Krauss' solo career. They also threw in a George Jones cover just because they could.

As expected, the Zeppelin songs drew a huge response -- one guy screamed "Led Zeppelin rules!" barely five minutes into the show -- but they weren't the highlights (although "Black Dog," with the world's spookiest banjo, was pretty amazing).

"Fortune Teller" was better, with drummer Jay Bellerose exploding the song from the inside out, and Krauss broke every heart in the place with "Through the Morning, Through the Night." "Killing the Blues" and "Trampled Rose" were also contenders.

But the most unexpected song might have also been the night's finest. Krauss, backed by Plant, Buddy Miller and Stuart Duncan, soared through an a capella version of "Down to the River to Pray," from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," that was so beautiful it sucked the air out of the room.

Everyone who went back for Sunday's second sold-out show should be so lucky.

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