Following Raising Sand, Plant’s Grammy-laden collaboration with Alison Krauss, looked a tall order on paper and, while 2009’s Band Of Joy revisited some of the touchstones, it showed the singer delving further into the world of Americana while simultaneously nodding to his own illustrious past. There’s an even stronger sense of history on this live show based on the record, not least because of the inclusion of some choice Led Zep oldies.
The crack band, led by musical director/guitarist Buddy Miller and his trusty multi-instrumentalist sidekick Darrell Scott, relish up-ending Rock And Roll into a barroom rockabilly chug, while the latter’s pedal steel brings a prairie wail to Houses Of The Holy. However, the backbone of the gig, filmed in Plant’s adopted home of Nashville for a US cable show of the same name, is the Band Of Joy material: the spooky swirl of Richard Thompson’s House Of Cards, and the entrancing Eastern psych of Los Lobos’ Angel Dance.
Plant has rarely been in better voice, tackling the Zep material in a lower register than on the original recordings and immersing himself in the bluesy tones of Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go and Cindy I’ll Marry You Someday. Patty Griffin provides the perfect female vocal foil, not as bright in the spotlight as Krauss, but bringing an essential counter-weave to the rich tapestry of the whole.