Robert Plant live at the Waterfront Valletta...
So many of the old classic rockers (and by that we mean the folks dominating FM radio in the late 60s and 70s—and for that matter, now) choose to rest on their success, to simply parrot their past triumphs on record and wallow in the past in concert. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, if you still enjoy playing the old stuff, and it comes through in your performance, who's to say you shouldn't play it? But it leaves an artist, no matter how great, in the uncomfortable position of being a nostalgia act and let’s face it, artistically irrelevant in the contemporary music landscape.
Robert Plant, who shall forever have the title "former Led Zeppelin front man" attached to his name, despite having not been in that band since 1980, is not one of those artists. A fascination with world music, especially that found in Northern Africa and the Middle East, that dates back to his Zeppelin days has ensured a degree of adventurousness not often found in so-called "heritage artists." Likewise, his devotion to the acid folk and psychedelic rock of the 60s gives him a wider range of influences from which to draw besides the heavy blues and early metal with which he's most closely identified. Last night, the 18th of July he brought this intrepid spirit to the Valetta Waterfront for what my opinion had to be one of the best concerts, after last year's Roger Waters's.
The still-youthful blond singer and his latest band Strange Sensation were in fine form. And it is amazing the way he can still hit those high notes with the same power he possessed years ago. By contrasting his patented shrieks and howls with the soulful chant he's developed for his solo career, he's proved himself one of the most interesting and versatile vocalists of any rock era, but I didn’t feel he was at his peak here.
Of course, Plant sprinkled in some Zeppelin tunes as well, and the crowd greeted the bluesy electric drones and it is these tunes that put the majority of the crowd into a state of bliss and in my opinion there is much more then Zeppelin’s melodies to discover and it’s quite a regret that the concert didn’t last so long and in my opinion after being so energetic left so much more to be desired from such a versatile super star.
Luckily the backing band which regretfully I don’t know their name, where really out of this world, with a female lead singer who had something supernatural in her voice which took the spectators on a magical journey giving each song a personal and individual interpretation using the raw energy of hugely talented backing musicians and the spontaneity was an extraordinary collaboration and in my opinion it was that what made the evening memorable, so that might have been the reason why somehow I felt a little disappointed after Plant’s show since most probably I was expecting more from an artist that I have always adored.