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Robert Plant Triumphantly Ends U.S. Tour in Atlantic City

Robert Plant
Dave Hogan, Getty Images

Robert Plant and his Band of Joy completed the American leg of their 2011 tour with a simply incredible show Saturday night (June 25) at the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J. 

This tour marked the third straight time that the creatively restless Plant has visited our shores with an all-new band. This time around, noted producer and guitarist Buddy Miller, singer-songwriter Patty Griffin and three others helped Plant perform Led Zeppelin tracks and the diverse set of cover songs from 2010’s ‘Band of Joy’ album in a rootsy, but never polite or polished, Americana-folk rock style.

If that sounds boring, then I’ve used the wrong words. Unlike 2007’s ‘Raising Sand’ collaboration with Alison Krauss, which sounded a bit library-museum-timid on wax, the ‘Band of Joy’ record bursts with life and energy.

A January show in Pittsburgh, early in the tour, was even more revelatory. While there were still a few seams showing, Plant had clearly made the decision to step back and fully share the spotlight (as equally as possible, given his charisma), in an effort to make this band a living, breathing monster of its own.

Well, five months later, mission accomplished. The Band of Joy have truly made the songs, even Zeppelin classics such as the opening ‘Black Dog,’ their own. Some of the most exciting moments of the night were the result of group interplay, as opposed to the slightly age-diminished, but still-impressive and always tasteful vocal presence of the “Golden God.”

Miller, Griffin and guitarist Darryl Scott each got a turn at them microphone, with the latter’s ‘Satisfied Mind‘ proving a particular highlight. Plant seemed just as happy to sing backup, or thrill the crowd with a harmonica solo, as he was to share the lead on ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ or stand front and center for a subdued, churning ‘Ramble On.’

It’s hard to imagine how Plant makes artistic growth look as natural as he did at this concert. Throughout his solo career, he’s proven to have an uncanny knack for finding musicians who inspire him to continued creative success, songs that he can reinterpret in unique ways, and the taste to let things develop in their own time and manner.

We’re lucky to have Robert Plant, and you should go see him in concert every chance you get.

Watch Robert Plant and Band of Joy Perform ‘Ramble On’ in Atlantic City

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