- Robert Plant & the Band of Joy - Live from the Artists Den
Sorry Led Zeppelin fans but as long as Robert Plant continues to have fun reinventing his past rather than be enslaved by it, your desire for a reunion tour remains on hold. This time he performs with Band of Joy at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium for a taping of PBS’ “Live from the Artists Den.” Direct from the broadcast, the 77-minute concert features re-workings of six Zeppelin tunes, solo material and spots that focus on his BoJ musical collaborators Patti Griffin, Buddy Miller and Darrell Scott. The thrills are immediate with a nearly unrecognizable “Black Dog” that grooves in a manner befitting their location. The five-piece band, named after Plant’s pre-Zep outfit, combines acoustic, electric and roots sounds into a powerful gumbo that leaves enough space between the notes that you can walk through them. Miller is solid throughout, Griffin works as a strong onstage foil for this material and multi-instrumentalist Scott tackles the Jimmy Page role with solos on pedal steel that, in this format, feel just right. Highlights include “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” where gospel links with simmering Delta blues, “Down to the Sea,” which mates roots rock with the Middle Eastern influences heard on Page Plant’s “No Quarter” album, “Ramble On,” which features some classic Plant wails as well as a wink and a smile to the sold out crowd after the Lord of the Rings referenced line – “In the darkest depths of Mordor.” It concludes with “Rock and Roll,” which sounds as if it was an outtake from the Honeydrippers sessions. The only regret about “Live from the Artists Den” is the lack of additional material that showcases this grouping’s travels among American roots territories through a legendary Brit’s hippie folk sensibilities.