Review: Robert Plant, Newcastle City Hall

Robert Plant.
Robert Plant.

Rock legend Robert Plant first performed at Newcastle City Hall 48 years ago, way back in 1969.

The original rock god singer, now pushing 70. returned for a date as part of his current UK tour and thrilled the capacity audience with his superb voice, which shows no signs of ageing or diminishing.

The former Led Zeppelin frontman is on the road in support of his excellent new album, Carry Fire, and he kicked off with a couple of songs from the opus, the anthemic New World and the jigging reel of The May Queen.

Backed by his brilliant band, The Sensational Space Shifters, the mercurial Plant and his cohorts have a canny way of reinterpretating Led Zep classics as they did on That’s The Way.

But this is no nostalgia show, as evidenced by the sumptuous All The King’s Horses, from his 2005 Mighty Rearranger album, and possibly the golden-voiced singer’s best vocal performance of the night.

The five-piece band has a new addition in renowned folk fiddler Seth Lakeman, who was the support act, before shining on the main set on the likes of folky Richard Thompson’s House of Cards and a furious hoedown version of Zep’s Gallows Pole.

The band’s gifted guitarists took the spotlight, with Justin Adams on the exotic title track of the new album and Skin Tyson’s brilliant acoustic guitar work on Zep’s Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.

Adams shone again on the old blues stomper Fixin’ To Die before the main set ended with Zep’s Misty Mountain Hop, showcasing Lakeman’s violin again.

National treasure Plant and his band had the crowd on their feet for the encores as they ripped though a snarling version Zep’s Lemon Song before ending with - what else? - Zep’s all-time rock anthem, A Whole Lotta Love.

A fantastic evening from a band of consummate musicians and a singer who just seems to get better with age. Rock on!