Went to see Robert Plant at the Royal Albert Hall last night, with the illustrious and glorious Belle Lettre!
I've not seen Robert now for (I think) 7 years. I thought I'd better pop along and see the old bugger.... you never know these days when you may not get another chance.
Firstly, the sound was absolutely outstanding - the best I've heard from a rock band at the RAH (which is prone to terrible echo/reverb). It simply wasn't there last night and, especially for Planty, the sound was very distinct and clear.
Robert himself was in very fine voice - when he stuck to his range. Very clear and much more listenable than on some other occasions, where he's coated his vocals with so many treatments you can barely hear what's him and what's effect. And he looked really really well, which is lovely to report.
The band are really very good - I like the new drummer and they've gelled quickly. They're energetic and go to some nice places. There is one exception however - I'm afraid I can't be doing with Seth Lakeman and the violin.... on many occasions last night I found his contributions unnecessary, and out of context. I also think it leads the band into very much one (two, three or four) 'hoedowns" that I absolutely could do without.
The highlights for me were a really gorgeous "That's The Way" , a great "Rainbow" (from Lullably And The Ceaseless Roar) and a very elegant "What Is And What Should Never Be"..... some of the tracks off the last two albums didn't work, in my eyes, but the crowd seemed to love them so....
All in all I'm really glad I went. And I'm really happy that Robert himself looked and sounded so well. But, much like the "Carry Fire" album , I'm not sure he/they have anything really new to say - it's very much treading water in some places... as he himself jokingly said (when referring to the old blues maestros) "They just kept going round and round, playing the same old fucking songs... sound familiar?!".....
But overall, a very good gig.
And you don't want to hear the fiasco I had getting to London in the first place, trust me....
PS - The guest appearance of Chrissie Hynde for "Bluebirds Over The Mountain" was really cool.
PPS - That the price of that was a rendition of The Pretenders "2000 Miles" with Robert singing along, clearly completely oblivious to the horrible song, was not.