Review of July 16, 2010 Tulsa, OK
Originally appeared on tulsaworld.com
By JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Robert Plant dressed for comfort in a dark tee, relaxed dungarees and pointed leather cowboy boots. But this was no casual affair.
The legendary singer and songman’s concert Friday night at the Brady Theater in Tulsa was his first here in half a decade, and the sold-out audience was ready for him.
“Welcome to the first intergalactical tour of the Band of Joy,” Plant yelled after bowing low to a standing, screaming crowd. “At least the first tour since the first half of the last century.”
Plant’s U.S. tour with his band started this week – the first official outing for the English band in more than 40 years. He and bandmate John Bonham went on to join Led Zeppelin in the late ‘60s.
Plant’s Friday set was an adept blend of the American roots he’s explored so thoroughly for nearly half a century. There was blues and country and bluegrass and rockabilly (boy, was there) and gospel and straight-up rock, all helmed by his agile trademark vocals.
His set was fitted with harmonica, five supporting musicians and, yes, even a washboard. Tunes included the new and classic, from the ‘70s Zep standard “Rock and Roll,” ‘80s solo hit “Tall Cool One” to “Rich Woman” from the Grammy-winning 2007 album “Raising Sand” and Band of Joy’s debut of “Angel Dance.”
He erupted into laughter early in the set, as he witnessed recognition — and ecstasy — wash over he crowd after the beginning bars of the Led Zeppelin oldie “Misty Mountain Hop.”
Band of Joy featured the down-home inspiration of Patty Griffin on vocals; the unrivaled rockabilly and surf-guitar of Buddy Miller, versatile former Sun Studio musician Byron House on stand-up bass, Darrel Scott played everything from pedal steel guitar to banjo and Marco Giovino ruled the drum kit.
Band of Joy happily ripped through some six new tunes from its upcoming studio album, including “House of Cards,” “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” “Central Two O Nine.”
A highlight of Friday night’s show, they performed a gospel-esque medley including “Twelve Gates to the City” and “Wade in the Water.”
The band emblazoned its distinctive iron brand on each tune performed, including “Gallows Pole,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Down to the Sea,” “Rich Woman,” “Thank You,” “Houses of the Holy,” “Please Read the Letter” and more.
Shimmering surf-rock vibrato, doghouse-style bass and honky-tonk slide guitar glimmered with emotional intensity.
Griffin - Plant’s vocal His Girl Friday - complimented and counterbalanced his distinctive vocals, adding richness and texture and depth. At times, he seemed a little tipsy in the wake of her charm.
A misfire at “All The King’s Men” even earned the 61-year-old a round of applause, as Plant rebooted the tune from the top and laughed it off. The capacity crowd was pleasantly ornery, whooping and feeding into — and from – the band.
Opening act the North Mississippi Allstars Duo LuCo (brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson) rumbled and wailed through a set of up-tempo, bluesy, rocky, jam-infused Americana — the pair as drummer-keyboardist and guitarist, mixing vocal harmonies with finger slide and staccato rhythm.