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Soundstage: Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation

Soundstage: Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation
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SOUNDSTAGE: ROBERT PLANT AND THE STRANGE SENSATION

Robert Plant and his backing band The Strange Sensation reel, rock and sway their way through this Sound Stage performance, covering some of his solo tunes as well as reworked Led Zeppelin classics, on this first ever music DVD from Robert Plant. The Strange Sensation was handpicked from some of the best and most varied musicians that England had to offer, from electronica to brit pop and all held together by Plant's passionate vocal wail. These classics are approached with a world music vibe that shines and carries the day, expanding the groove where the Plant and Page project left off.

The Strange Sensation has a wonderful world music sound, percussion heavy and rhythmically funky, spitting out all kinds of keyboard tricks while holding fast to a solid rock drive. The expanded-upon Zeppelin songs include No Quarter, Black Dog, Four Sticks, Gallows Pole, and a jamming version of Whole Lotta Love. Sticking with the blues/rock base and expanding them by the addition of keyboards and more percussion/hand drums than you can shake four sticks at.

The music becomes funkier and a bit spacey at times, but that's alright because it's a new take on old favorites and Plant's vocals remain the same. The drums are jazzier too yet still thunder when they should. The guitar drives are hard and heavy, while new instruments like the gimbri and darbouka only add to the rockin' cocktail that is The Strange Sensation. Whole Lotta Love, done as it should be, a long jam, is the perfect example of this band at its creative best. The entire band comes together very well here and the tune is the perfect closer for the original broadcast performance.

Tin Pan Valley and The Enchanter are the two songs where drummer Clive Deamer and keyboardist John Baggott, both from the electronica/trip-hop unit Portishead get a chance to shine and bring forth their style and brand of pop/rock. Tin Pan Valley opens with Baggott's keyboard mastery, and Deamer's steady drumming put the band in a trip-hop mood, while the guitar soars around them. The song s structure allows the band to break this vibe by kicking everything up and then bringing you back down to mellow out and chill. The drum machine soaked beat on The Enchanter takes a page right out of the Portishead book, while the sitar-esque guitar, darbouka rhythms (a Turkish conga/bongo type of drum) and Plant's echo-laden moans send this one spinning into orbit.

The bonus tracks are two old favorites made popular by Plant contemporaries Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. Hey Joe is a tune best associated with Hendrix, although not one of his originals, while Girl From The North Country was written and recorded by Dylan. Both are essentially folk tunes, one rocked up a bit more than the other. The Strange Sensation rework them yet maintain the true feel of the songs. Guitarist Skin retains the driving force on Hey Joe, meanwhile second guitarist Justin Adams picks up the gimbri (a North African lute-like string instrument) and the infused keyboard samples take the song someplace it's never been before. For Girl From The North Country bassist Billy Fuller switches to the upright bass, Adams rocks the mandolin and Baggott shows us how well he can tickle the ivories. Which all make for a wonderfully mellow closer to the show and DVD.

Robert Plant shows that he can still rock at close to sixty years of age and that his musical vision is still fresh. Plant's energy is perfectly matched by his band, who help bring his vision to life while leaving their own fingerprints on the overall sound. The sound stage audio is awesome and the camera angles give you the feeling of being right there in the mix, on stage next to the band, a wonderful place to record Robert Plant's first music DVD. --Fantasma el Rey

Statistics

Released:
October 24, 2006 (U.S.) November 6, 2006 (U.K.)

Filming Location:
WTTW Grainger Studio, Chicago, Illinois

Length:
66 mins. (81 mins. with extras)

Tracks

1. No Quarter
2. Shine It All Around
3. Black Dog
4. Freedom Fries
5. Four Sticks
6. Tin Pan Alley
7. Gallows Pole
8. The Enchanter
9. Whole Lotta Love

BONUS TRACKS
10. Hey Joe
11. Girl from the North Country
12. 29 Palms
13. Morning Dew
14. 29 Palms
15. Big Log
Quick Fact

Soundstage: Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation was filmed at WTTW Grainger Studio, Chicago, Illinois on September 16, 2005.
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History


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November 21, 1968 - Robert becomes a father to a baby girl named Carmen Jane.
November 09, 1968 - Robert marries Maureen in London. Their reception is a performance at the Roundhouse in London
November xx, 1969 - Tempers flare over Atlantic in the UK wanting to release singles
November xx, 1969 - Recording for Led Zeppelin III begins at Olympic Studios in London
November xx, 1970 - Plans are in motion for a Yardbirds reunion
November 08, 1971 - Finally after much anticipation, Untitled is released
November xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy is mixed and completed
November 10, 1972 - Led Zeppelin sell out 120,000 tickets in one day
November xx, 1973 - Initial recordings for Physical Graffiti commences at Headley Grange
November 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finalize the purchase of Headley Grange to be their new corporate headquarters
November xx, 1974 - The band makes plans and rehearses for the tenth North American tour
November xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin records Presence in a mere 18 days
November xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin book into Ezyhire Studios to rehearse new material for an upcoming tour
November 04, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same movie premieres in Europe
November xx, 1977 - Jimmy dispells rumors of Led Zeppelin’s break up
November 06, 1978 - Led Zeppelin purchase and ship new gear to Polar Studios to begin work on a new album
November 10, 1979 - Led Zeppelin and their entire entourage attend an ABBA concert
November 07, 1980 - The band meets with Peter Grant to announce the retirement of Led Zeppelin
November 29, 1999 - The RIAA announced that Led Zeppelin were only the third act in music history to achieve four or more Diamond albums, a Diamond album being awarded for accredited sales of more than 10 million units in the US.
November 01, 2007 - An announcement was made that Jimmy Page had fractured his finger on his left hand after a fall in his garden and the reunion show would be postponed to December 10, 2007.
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