Rock and Roll God. Voice in my head for over 40 years. I may in fact have the same hair.
The absolute highlight of the Cheap Seats tour is the Robert Plant concert. I love Robert Plant and I always have.
This was our first outdoor concert this year and there was some concern about the heat and whether or not it would rain. I didn’t care as long as I could hear Robert Plant sing live.
The day after the Dylan concert I was thinking back to a conversation the night before about Robert Plant playing in a small venue in Cary this summer. I thought about it all night following Dylan and most of the next day. Sitting at Starbucks getting ready for work, I decided to just see how much it would be, what date is was and where exactly it would be. The tickets were cheap – under $60. I clicked BUY and as soon as I got in my car, there he was, Robert Plant on the radio. It was meant to be.
Booth Amphitheater in Cary, NC is a sweet place to settle in for a musical evening. It seems like it’s set in a neighborhood next to an office park, but when you get to the gates of the amphitheater, you feel like you are entering a magical forest with a clearing that contains a stage, some seating and a lawn.
We got to Booth crazy early – didn’t know where we were going, knew it would be general admission and I was so stinking excited to experience Robert Plant. We got a decent parking space and got in line early (first 25 people) so we got to sit/stand and soak up the outdoor concert culture in Cary.
Because the opening band was The Pixies, the crowd was diverse in age and musical taste. No worries for me because I like both The Pixies and Robert Plant. I had actually forgotten that The Pixies were playing and was delighted to realize that they would be part of our evening.
The excitement grew as we lined up closer for our free treat for being early (coozie sleeves for our upcoming beers), bag check and ticket scanning when the gates opened. Mental note: ALWAYS get there early – this isn’t so bad and I like the excitement and anticipation.
The gates opened and our plan was that Jon would forge ahead quickly and get the best lawn seat he could get with views of the stage. I hobbled along behind him. I’ve been nursing a chronic injury for the last year that makes it difficult most days to walk. I hobbled along the path through the woods. Chalk drawings greeted us as we got closer to the clearing. Just past the concession stands the grassy lawn opened up in front of the amphitheater. Jon was waving from seats centered on the second row of the grass seats and had set up our chairs. People started filling in beside us and behind us.
It was a beautiful night, but hot. About 100 degrees – no fooling. I didn’t mind. I was so excited to be there (a bit on the geeky side of excited).
The Pixies opened – great energy and well loved by the crowd. It was fun to hear the music and watch the people at the concert. Being on the lawn with a sidewalk in front of us, we got to see just about everyone walking by. Not a grumpy, bitchy person to be found. It was truly a happy place.
Jon and I got beers for our new coozies and settled in. Jon wasn’t familiar with The Pixies, but he enjoyed them and is interested in hearing more of their music.
They played a long setlist.
And then it was time. The rock god and legend was going on next. There was a pause for set changes. The sun was dipping down and it was getting more comfortable. And then there he was…Robert Plant.
Now in my mind he is still the young rock god with the golden voice. In reality, he has aged, but he still has that signature mane of hair and the coolness that is Robert Plant. He wore an emerald green silk shirt that shone on the stage in front of the dark backdrop of the Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar cover art. He spoke with the audience – which after Bob Dylan’s reclusive presence was startling and welcomed. He sounds like he sings if that makes any sense.
He warned us that he was bringing some old tunes as well as some new ones. The audience roared with approval. I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes (don’t worry, my husband knows and approves of my deep reverence for all things Led Zep – especially Robert Plant).
It was surreal to hear him speaking. He joked with the audience and told everyone to “put down your fucking phones.” I laughed as I was holding up my phone desperately trying to get a decent picture of him. This was the best I could do and I kinda like the blurry quality of the shot – like he’s an energy form and not quite human. He is energy – the sound of his voice shifts me into a different gear on a soul level.
He’s still got it. At 66, Robert Plant still has rock and roll god energy – moving on the stage in his signature cool way and belting out the music with the same golden voice – granted a few years older – but still amazing.
He didn’t do any of the songs he did in the Alison Krauss collaboration – it would have been AMAZING if she popped out and did a few numbers with him. But that was OK. I was really interested in the new songs and so very, very grateful for the old songs.
It’s clear that he holds American Blues music near and dear. Led Zeppelin took the blues to a deeper throb than the Rolling Stones. It’s perfect that he has landed in Austin, TX in this chapter of his life.
It was religious for me. I know that sounds weird, but there it is. His voice stirs my soul and fuels my given energy. For the 2 hours I was pain free, worry free and in a place far from life’s rugged edges. He had that effect on my in my troubled teens.
The Wanton Song (Led Zeppelin song)
Turn It Up
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin song)
Spoonful (Willie Dixon cover)
The Thrill Is Gone (Roy Hawkins cover)
Trampled Under Foot (Led Zeppelin song)
No Place to Go / Dazed and Confused (Howlin’ Wolf / Jake Holmes & Led Zeppelin)
Little Maggie ([traditional] cover)
The Lemon Song (Led Zeppelin song)
Fixin’ to Die (Bukka White cover)
I Just Want to Make Love to You / Whole Lotta Love / Who Do You Love? / Whole Lotta Love
Encore: Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin song)
The view from the cheap seats was amazing! There he was 100 feet in front of us. His band of young English musicians were acceptable stand ins for Led Zep. The only thing better would have been Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones playing with him.
I hear Led Zeppelin all the time on the radio. Now I have a newer appreciation for that voice, that golden voice. It’s real. It’s bigger than Led Zeppelin 4 and all the songs I first memorized. It’s real and it’s still here. And I’m still here.
It’s a standing order in my house that when I die, the period of mourning will be when all the Led Zeppelin songs have been played one more time.