Text and photos by Arnold Goodman
Seeing Robert Plant and his latest great band, the Sensational Space Shifters, was a tremendous experience. Plant is now touring in support of his new album, lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar, a true roots record that presents the essence of his diverse musical interests. An iconoclast as well as a great artist, his performance brought together those diverse interests—English folk, blues (including covers of Bukka White’s “Fixin’ to Die” and Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want to Make Love to You”) and bluegrass (Ralph Stanley’s “Little Maggie”)—turning it all into a cohesive evening of great music. The several Led Zeppelin songs Plant performed (including “No Quarter,” “Thank You,” “Going to California,” and “Whole Lotta Love”) each came with a new and different spin. Throughout the show—backed by his multi-faceted band including Juldeh Camara on both the ritti (a one-stringed African violin) and the kologo (a two-stringed African lute)—Plant’s presentation and vocals were as great as ever.
Furthermore, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), an elegant building with great sight lines from every seat and a stage deep enough so that you’re not right on top of the music, is the best venue of its size in New York. After BAM, Plant’s tour will roll on, and anybody who has a chance to see it certainly should.
Robert Plant (who now lives in Austin, TX) is doing his part in saving American music.