plant@Newcastle O2 Academy, November 18 2014

How could you? Why would you? How can you manage to mess up the sound when you are in the presence of one of the last remaining Gods of rock? With murmurings of discontent throughout the audience following each fresh, horrible screech from Plant’s mic, last night was perhaps one for the Academy’s sound team to leave off their CV. 

Despite repeated problems with the sound, Plant powered through and gave a breathtaking performance, displaying exquisite showmanship and exhibiting his charming nature in the process. Plant was, as you’d expect the former Led Zeppelin frontman to be, the commanding focal point of the show, with all eyes fixed purely on him. Take nothing away from the Sensational Spaceshifters – they are a fantastically talented group of musicians and musicians who are more than worthy of their position in the presence of one of rock’s great survivors – but Plant’s authority on stage just captivates audiences and steals any attention that may be elsewhere directed.

Despite the quality of his latest release, this is a man that gives the people what they want, throwing in plently of Zeppelin classics throughout. Right from the opening with Friends, Plant’s vocal range shimmered, showing he has the power to fill every corner with his whispers, before bellowing and screaming those bigger notes. This is a man who really can do it all.

With plenty of atmosphere coming from the tambourines, banjos, fiddles and additional stage drums, the African folk vibe flowed like a Celtic family get together. This beautiful mix came across most prominently during Little Maggie and Rainbow, two fantasically upbeat tracks from Lullaby and The Ceaseless Hour.

When the moment everyone was waiting for, Whole Lotta Love, finally arrived, the place exploded with pure joy. With smiles painted across the faces of the masses as they roared out each word, Plant owned the stage with his hired hands. While nothing will ever come close to Zeppelin, this is the best we’re going to get for now.

Adam Keys