Place and date: CCIB Forum Auditorium (IX/12/2023)
In order not to give all the prominence to the legendary singer of the group Led Zeppelin, the entry specified “Robert Plant presents Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian.” And the British companions were not mere assistants but main protagonists, starting with Suzi Dian, whose stage name and walkiria demeanor actually hide a Portuguese singer called Susana Guerra, who also plays accordion and electric bass. In the trio that accompanies them, percussionist Oli Jefferson and especially Tony Kelsey and Matt Worley also shine, with a wide range of acoustic and electric guitars and the decisive use of mandolins and banjo.
With these wickers they wove a remarkable concert that pivoted on themes taken from the traditional heritage, such as the initial “Gospel plow”, a spiritual of African-American origin that Bob Dylan recorded in his day. To finish setting the mood, they adapted “The cuckoo” to the bluegrass style and performed some dance steps and clapping as if they were at a country party. Some songs from Robert Plant’s solo career could not be missing. In this sense, the boogie “Let the four wind blow” served to prove that he is a much better singer than composer and that at 74 years old he is still in top shape, remembering that Apollonian ‘frontman’ who once galvanized the masses. This became very evident in the Led Zeppelin play-offs, starting with “Friends”, which made one think of that seductive hippie with golden hair, with an atmosphere between psychedelic and folk and his characteristic and unequivocal vocal phrasing. Other highly celebrated ‘Zeppelian’ moments were “The rain song” and “Four sticks”, which served to forgive him for flatly refusing to revive a group for which many fans yearn.
Plant is now not for ‘stadium rock’ but for the cult of roots; to those of the blues and those of folk”
But Plant now is not for ‘stadium rock’ but for the cult of roots; to those of blues, to which he pays tribute in “Satan your kingdom must come down”, and to those of folk, showing great vocal power in “As I roved out”. But not everything is about the popular heritage of yesteryear but he takes the opportunity to demonstrate his respect and admiration for the indie rock group Low, of which he even recalled the recent and sad death of Mimi Parker. From them they rescued no less than two songs, the sad “Everybody’s song”, with a curious arrangement in the manner of the Anatolian sound, and the unexpected “Monkey”.
The versions were abundant, among the best we can highlight the groove-filled repechage of “Out in the woods”, by the unjustly forgotten Leon Russell, with maracas and delicious vocal harmonies, an “Angel dance” by the Los Lobos group from Los Lobos dressed in jackets and a “House of cards” by Richard and Linda Thompson, emblems of British folk bathed in gospel spirituality. The ballad “It’s a beautiful day today” by Moby Grape sounded a little more nerdy, in one of the few low points of a concert that culminated with two traditional songs, a “Gallows pole” that demonstrates the influence of folklore on Led Zeppelin and the beautiful “And we bid you goodnight” – a funeral song made famous by the Grateful Dead – a cappella and adapted to Catalan, which served to underscore above all the feeling that we had before us a very living myth.