At 5pm on a Friday, the Banjo Stage at the park was full. It was clear from listening to everyone navigating around that they were there to see Plant, who just happened to be playing with some girl, and some other guy, even though those other people are quite good in their own regard. Many were there because this is the closest they will come to seeing Zeppelin.
Standing on a slope behind a sea of people, I see his hair. The man may have aged, but those unmistakable goldilocks make it impossible to miss him, even from far away.
The success of this unlikely pair is hard to deny once you hear Alison Krauss’ voice. Beyond taking up the high end on vocals that Plant can no longer achieve, she made those in the audience who didn’t know her ask who she was. People may be turned off from going to this festival because of the term Bluegrass, but what it really means to me is beautiful harmonies. And that was not just delivered by Plant and Krauss, but also by the instruments wielded by Burnett and Co.
The setlist was a mix of tracks from their album, as well as reimagined Zeppelin and covers the fit the bluegrass theme. During ‘Black Dog’, you could almost hear the audience willing for it to be sped up to it’s original form. But during the first few notes of ‘The Battle of Evermore’, the audience rumbled with glee, a collective “ahhh” spread like a wave through the crowd. Their take on ‘Nothing’, a Townes Van Zandt piece, was also a crowd pleaser.
I normally don’t like festivals, but the caliber of these artists, the vibe of the music, and the fact that it is free will always bring me back to this one. Having Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, and T Bone Burnett start my weekend reminds me that I’m lucky to live in SF.
Leave My Woman Alone
Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us
Through the Morning, Through the Night
Goodbye and So Long to You
In the Mood
Black Country Woman
Down to the River to Pray
The Battle of Evermore
Please Read the Letter
Gone Gone Gone
“Living out the days and nights in absolute fearNever knowing when and where thethreat of the undead draws nearThoughts of…
“Now, listen up She’s a razor sharp If she don’t get her way She’ll slice you apart Now she’s a…
“Oh, they should have knownNot to play with the powers of HellSome people have lost their waySome people have lost…
“I’m the walking dudeI can see all the worldTwist your minds with fearI’m the man with the powerAmong the living,…
“And I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad The dreams in which I’m dying Are…
“The sparkle in your eyes Keeps me alive And the sparkle in your eyes Keeps me alive, keeps me alive…
“It’s early morning, the sun comes out Last night was shaking and pretty loud My cat is purring, it scratches…
“We hold each other closer, as we shift to overdrive And everything goes rushing by, with every nerve alive We…
“I could talk about my world How you brought about ruin I could talk about your greed If you want…
“Always lived, very quiet lifeI ain’t never did no wrongNow I know that life without youHas been too lonely too…