The Led Zeppelin frontman never takes the obvious or easy route at his shows, avoiding traditional versions of Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits. This was especially true at a benefit concert last night in New York City.
Plant was headlining the third annual “Love Rocks” concert: a benefit for the New York charity, God’s Love We Deliver, an organization that cooks and home delivers medically tailored meals for people living with severe illness in the New York City metropolitan area, for free. The bill also featured the first performance of Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson since their breakup in 2016, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Buddy Guy, Sheryl Crow, Grace Potter, Jimmie Vaughan, Mavis Staples, Taj Majal, former New York Yankee Bernie Williams (who is a great guitar player!) and Mavis Staples, along with younger artists including Hozier, Lukas Nelson (son of Willie), Larkin Poe and Marcus King, along with comedians Bill Murray and Martin Short.
After a few hours of performances, Plant hit the stage, accompanied only by six backing singers and guitarist Larry Campbell (a former member of Bob Dylan’s Band) for a mostly acapella version of Elvis Presley’s “Don’t.” He was then joined by the house band, led by former Late Show With David Letterman bassist Will Lee (and which included his former boss, Paul Shaffer) along with Texas blues legend Jimmie Vaughan for another Elvis song, “A Mess of Blues.”
He was then joined by Sheryl Crow as he veered towards more familar territory, playing “Rich Woman,” from his 2007 album with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand (with Crow taking Krauss’s vocals in the song). Finally, he entered the Led Zeppelin catalog, as he and Crow did a spaghetti western/rockabilly take on “Black Dog.” (simliar to the version that he used to do when singer/songwriter Patty Griffin was in his band). It begs the question: could there be a Robert Plant/Sheryl Crow collaboration in the future?
Crow then left the stage and Plant did a pretty straight ahead version of the Zeppelin classic “Thank You.” After that, he was joined by the Wilson sisters, Potter, Majal and Nelson for a rollicking take on the early rock and roll classic, “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” Finally, the rest of the artists joined him as he led them through a take on Dave Mason’s Traffic hit “Feelin’ Alright.”
Plant will hit the road in Europe with his own band in June and July. He’s rumored to be playing the Woodstock 2019 festival this summer, but that has not yet been confirmed.
— Brian Ives