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Plant's Roots Wows Womad Crowd:

There may have been doubters after Robert Plant's London Forum show, but the crowd at Womad certainly got it, and the Sensational Space Shifters responded with a show of controlled dynamism and power.

Patty Griffin was absent for this show (she had commitments in the US), and there were new Space Shifter set list additions of The Enchanter and Down To The Sea. Overall the show was closer in feel to the Strange Sensation era.

Plant prowled the stage, relaxed and at home, wearing the same striped shirt as seen at the Forum and a black hoodie for the first few songs, his hair tied back in a ponytail.

Fears that he has lost his "Plantness" were utterly unfounded as he connected with the crowd, cracking jokes about Peter Gabriel being a cheat at tennis and how they were going to play Gallows Pole Hawkwind style.

Fires were burning hot at the heat of the show, with blasts of rock conjuring up the golden god days of old, particularly on Tin Pan Valley where Plant's vocals stretched effortlessly into upper register.

The set was tempered with the type of reworked versions of Zep classics fans should have come to expect by now: moody, dark psychedelia replacing the strut and theremin of yore.

There were plenty of smiles and lots of eye contact between Robert, Justin and Skin in particular as the band realised it was all working. They returned for an unexpected encore of Gallows Pole after it was announced proceedings were over.

As the band bid farewell to the ecstatic crowd, Robert summed it all up... "Ain't it great to have fun."

Indeed it is – and was...

Simon Cadman for TBL/Web


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