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Friday, July 11, 2008

Concert Junkie: Finally Reviews Plant/Krauss at the Greek in LA

I realize it has been a while since I've posted on here, and I do have a reason. I've been traveling. One of the cities I recently ventured to was Los Angeles. This was my third time on the west coast and second time in the City of Angels. Why was this time different than last time? Well, my brother has never been to CA, so my friend and I decided why not show him some good, fun sites, such as Griffith Observatory, the Pacific Coast Highway(PCH), Santa Monica mountains along the PCH, Hollywood, Mt. WILSON, Manhattan Beach, and Back to the Future and E.T. sites. Of course, other than playing tour guide, I fulfilled my role as the ultimate Concert Junkie by going to the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss concert at the picturesque Greek Theater.

I am sad to report that cameras were strictly prohibited the night of the show. I didn't see a single flash go off, but then again, I'm sure more people were recording video clips than snapping photos. Plus, cell phone cameras suck. They can't capture certain moments too well. So I hope my descriptions lend as an aid to your imagination.

The Greek Theater is nestled in the wood land of Griffith Park, which is in the same area as Griffith Observatory. The theater itself has won awards and it has won the #1 Small Outdoor Venue in the country from Pollster Magazine five times in the past six years. When you sit in your seat at the Greek, you are not only facing the stage, but your eyes are also focused on some of the most beautiful mountains in the city.

Sharon Little was the opening act. Four months before the show, she was working as a waitress in Philadelphia. Now she is the opening act for one of the most legendary collaborations. Little's voice is heavenly mix of Norah Jones meets Aretha Franklin, the song "Follow that Sound" is proof. Before she dove into her song "Try," I thought it was going to be a Joplin cover. However, her whole set was 100% originals that Little and her fellow band mate Scot Sax wrote together. Little won the hearts and minds of every audience member that night with some standing ovations. Give a listen to her album Perfect Time for a Breakdown, here's a little sample:

The sun set behind the mountains before Krauss and Plant came out. The two have been wowing crowds from coast to coast, festival to festival with their sheer musical energy together. I cannot think of another great collaboration as this where Blue Grass meets Rock. The most stardom in the main spotlight Blue Grass has seen is with the O' Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack, which was produced by T. Bone Burnett who was also one of the key ingredients to this stellar mix. Besides the duo doing tunes from their award winning album Raising Sand, I knew they were going to be doing some of their own works, so I could not wait to wait to hear them tackle the Led Zeppelin tunes in their repertoire.

The set opened with Track one, "Rich Woman," which then led into "Leave my Woman alone," and the Zeppelin tune "Black Dog." With Krauss as his angelic anchor and Burnett as his six string strummer, Plant does not go into the Zeppelin style of the song, but more along the lines of if "Black Dog" was written for a blues or jazz band. Other Zeppelin highlights was "Black Country Woman" with Jimmy Page solos put to banjo and fiddle. Plus, the anticipated "Battle of Evermore." Why was "Battle of Evermore" more anticipated? Its because Zeppelin never did it in concert. It was one of those songs in their sets that was never at the forefront of their minds. To actually have a Zeppelin member perform it with an amazing soulful woman was beyond a dream to hear.

Some other highlights of their set was when Krauss sang center stage acapella to "Down to the River and Pray" with the gentlemen backing her up. Burnett also stepped forward and did some of his own songs. If you are wondering who Burnett is, he has been around as long as Bob Dylan and just as fantastic if not more.

The evening started to wind down with "Please Read the Letter" and "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)." But they greeted the crowd with three encores, "You Don't Knock," "One-Woman Man," and "Your Long Journey." To mine and my company's disappointment, there was no mini Zeppelin reunion. D'oh! Maybe there will be one on their next tour, since Plant and Krauss are going to work on a second album, due to the worldwide success of this one. I eagerly wait next endeavor with Plant and Krauss.

By Lori: who saw Plant one other time before I went to Korea in '05. His show was so moving I cried. Though this show beyond moving, it was riveting. I urge everyone to buy or download Raising Sand and Perfect Time for a Breakdown.

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