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Welcome to the Raising Sand Revue: Robert Plant and Alison...

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10 and 11, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss performed a stunning set at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. It was an extraordinary union of two artists from very different worlds, but similar musical mindsets.

Several years ago, when I first heard that Robert Plant was going to collaborate with Alison Krauss, I initially thought it was a strange pairing. But then I quickly realized that as odd as it sounded - the lead singer of Led Zeppelin meets the beautiful queen of bluegrass and country - it was a perfect match. Both are incredible vocalists, among the best in their respective fields. They are excellent song interpreters and also restless artists, prefering musical exploration as opposed to getting locked into any one catagory. Plus, Robert has always been heavily influenced by the roots of American music (and music from around the world) and Alison is a big fan of ‘70s classic rock. With T Bone Burnett assisting with song selection and acting as their “coach”, Robert and Alison created the album Raising Sand, which was released last year.

I was at the first show on Tuesday. Sharon Little started the evening with a dull opening set, which included a lifeless cover of Billy Preston’s “That’s The Way God Planned It”.

Just a minute or so before 9:00PM, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss took the stage. The band was fronted by T Bone Burnett on guitar and vocals and also featured Buddy Miller on guitar and vocals, multi instrumentalist and vocalist Stuart Duncan, bassist Dennis Crouch and drummer Jay Bellerose. Numerous times during the show, Alison played the fiddle. Midway through the show, Robert and Alison gave the spotlight to T Bone Burnett who performed two songs, including a cover of “Bon Temps Rouler”. Robert and Alison didn’t always stay in the spotlight together. On several occasions, one would step aside, or leave the stage altogether, to let the other take the solo spotlight.

Of course, Robert and Alison performed numerous songs from Raising Sand. In fact, the show opened with “Rich Woman”. The crowd really responded to three of Robert’s songs - Led Zeppelin’s classics “Black Dog”, “The Battle Of Evermore” and “Black Country Woman” as well as his solo song “In The Mood”, which incorporated “Matty Groves”. They sprinkled many covers throughout the set, which lasted just about two full hours.

From what I have recently read, and from a comment made by Robert at the end of the show, I got the impression that this wouldn’t be the last we heard from Robert and Alison. Hopefully, that is the case, because they have so much to offer. Hopefully, this tour will be documented as a live album or film.