"I love being in New York City during this time of year. Oh, how I've missed you!"
So confessed Robert Plant last Friday night, as he brought his band, the Sensational Space Shifters, to a sold out crowd at the Hammerstein Ballroom. There were plenty of Led Zeppelin fans in the audience, and the band didn't disappoint in giving them what they wanted to hear while cleverly mixing new songs from the band's 2014 album, lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar.
Mixing delta blues, classic rock, folk, and sounds and rhythms from North and West Africa, the music sounded fresh, and Robert's band put worldly flavors into Led Zeppelin classics like "Black Dog," "Black Country Woman," and "The Lemon Song."
Guitarists Justin Adams and Skin Tyson, drummer Dave Smith, bassist Billy Fuller, keyboardist John Baggott, and Gambian musician Juldeh Camara seamed effortlessly together and knew when to bring the room's energy up to an excited state or down to a mellow mood.
Robert Plant may be 67 years old, but the iconic frontman showed no signs of his age. At times, he commanded the stage with the presence of a lion; swinging the microphone stand and letting his voice soar. Other moments showed Plant dig deep into his soul with a more intimate feel.
Last year, there was a report that Plant allegedly turned down an $800 million dollar offer to reunite his former band. I don't blame him. Why rehash old memories and become a travelling jukebox of your songs? Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters are making fresh, new music and putting a worldly twist on the Zeppelin songs that his fans know and love. If you haven't done so already, I would strongly suggest you listen to lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar to hear how great his new band is, and to gain and understanding of Plant's influences.
For the latest music, news, and tour information on Robert Plant, check out his Zumic artist page.
All photos by Francesco Marano. © Zumic, 2015