Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
April 20, 2008
Opening their tour at the Louisville Palace in Louisville, Kentucky on April 20, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss gave their highly energized following an evening to remember.
Walking on the stage from opposite ends, the two met each other at the center and began the duet of "Rich Woman" from 2007’s Raising Sand. Standing side by side, Plant and Krauss were a striking pair, the tall, lanky face of Led Zeppelin next to the diminutive bluegrass superstar with the huge voice.
The third song was all it took to hold the audience tightly in their grip. A stark, roots oriented reworking of Led Zeppelin’s "Black Dog" had the sold out throng screaming the lyrics back towards the stage in unison. Returning to Raising Sand, Krauss took the spotlight to croon "Through the Morning, Through the Night" while Plant added assisting vocals from the back of the stage. A riveting take on "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us" with added touches by bandleader T. Bone Burnett gave the music an otherworldly spirit.
Plant and Burnett had a vast catalogue of Zeppelin material to choose from, and they chose to match Raising Sand‘s compositions with the country stomp of "Black Country Woman" from Zeppelin’s 1975 double album, Physical Graffiti. Krauss earned her first standing ovation by hypnotizing the Palace’s denizens with the haunting, evocative "Trampled Rose," one of Sand‘s more transporting numbers. Plant led the male backing chorus to accompany Krauss on the gospel standard, "Down to the River to Pray" from the 2000 soundtrack to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? film.
The duo reconvened on a batch of Raising Sand‘s songs including the tongue in cheek "Fortune Teller" and the rave up "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" with echo laden soloing from guitarist Buddy Miller. Burnett contributed his string picking expertise to a crowd pleasing blues-folk interpretation of Zeppelin’s "Hey Hey What Can I Do." Plant joked about his nervousness on covering "Killing the Blues" with Krauss. They delivered the laid back gem without missing a beat.
A defining brush with Townes Van Zandt’s "Nothin’" was followed by Zeppelin’s "When the Levee Breaks" wrapped inside a tribute to Bob Dylan’s "Girl From the North Country." Burnett began the opening chords to Krauss delivering the stunning "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson," which featured the atmospheric fretwork of Buddy Miller on electric guitar.
The high point of the evening arrived as Robert Plant and Alison Krauss wrapped their ethereal harmonies around a jaw dropping, classic exploration of Zeppelin’s traditional arrangement of "The Battle of Evermore." It was enough to fill everyone’s imagination, and after sufficiently time warping the fans inside the Palace, Plant and Krauss sent the multi-generational music enthusiasts out into the spring night with another dose of Raising Sand and the well-received "Please Read the Letter."