opening act: The North Mississippi All-stars
The House of Blues, Boston, MA
January 25, 2011
The Opening Act: The North Mississippi All-stars: Luther and Cody Dickinson
I didn’t know much about this group other than they were good. So how were the North Mississippi Allstars – Luther and Cody Dickinson…???
Luther’s voice was amazing as was his skillful guitar playing. Cody’s drumming was pulsing and you couldn’t help but get into the groove. They played six songs, my favorite was, ‘Mean Ole Wind Die Down’. Luther’s voice was incredible – such a harmonious pace calling to the gentle winds then he would go into an intense rockin’ guitar solo, sliding and catching his mind-blowing notes on the way back – one couldn’t help but scream and egg him on in delight.
Cody brought out his boogie woogie board and played with such sheer ferocity. It was astounding, held you spellbound and craving more.
The HOB crowd loved it and them.
The Main Event: Robert Plant and the Band of Joy
It was dark until a spotlight hit the picture of a smoking circus monkey on the drum kit then Robert’s voice softly came from somewhere backstage and voila’ – out walks the Band of Joy and the music starts… “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”!
Though the song was slower and had more of a gospel/blues sound it was still a powerful and great opener. Everyone knew the words and sang along. Like a person going into battle, Robert flayed the mic stand around like a mighty sword. He had his groove-on!
“Angel Dance” was next. It was a crowd favorite and got everyone dancing. Myself included. “Down to the Sea” was next and yes Robert, “life is like a big tambourine…”! Robert stood at the edge of the stage, leaned down and asked an endearing question, “When I get older, settling down, will you come down to the sea?” – He jumped backwards and continued the merriment.
Robert still held the characteristic moves he’s always had on stage: dancing, strutting, preening. He’s very much a warm and engaging person – stopping here and there to show appreciation to the audience and give us his, always amusing, “Plantations”. Love Robert’s stories, quips and banters. A true Welsh Bard.
Patty Griffin and Robert collaborated beautifully on, “Rich Woman”. Patty’s voice was elegantly strong and precise on, “House of Cards” and, “Love Throw a Line”.
“Please Read the Letter” was next and within the first few notes most of us knew it. It was definitely not the Page/Plant version but artfully done as only Robert Plant, the mighty re-arranger, can do.
Robert appeared larger than life when he sang, “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” – it was that intense. He stood at the edge of the stage, his voice powerful yet restrained. It was otherworldly to be in the front row at that moment.
Robert’s skills on the harp were seen and heard when Buddy Miller sang, Trouble. I’d never seen him play it live so this was an absolute treat to watch him shake and wiggle around in the background.
A Led Zeppelin favorite came up next…“Tangerine”. All I can say is, WOW – beautifully done.
“Tall Cool One” was next and had everyone singing and jumping along. Great, fast song and the crowd roared with excitement.. Segue to “Ramble On”. Crowds of happy people singing along –then onto…Gallow’s Pole followed by, Silver Rider, and then the band launched into Rock and Roll!! The crowd erupted with thunderous roar with each and every song. Some may have been a bit slower than their original rock version, but it was a creation by the Mighty Rearranger and we loved all them. The band ended with a stunning and cozy a cappella of, “We Bid You Goodnight”.
This was an amazing night filled with many magical moments for me. I’ve seen Robert on all his tours through Boston (except with Krauss) and I must say Robert was in his element, shining it all around. If Robert Plant and the Band of Joy are coming to your area…GO, you won’t be disappointed.
The Venue: House of Blues:
In 1992, The House of Blues was originally located in Cambridge, MA, when it was started by Isaac Tigrett. It closed then reopened again on Lansdowne Street across from FenwayPark in Boston. Tickets are general admission or reserved seating.
FAN TIP: For general admission seating, The House of Blues has a “jump the line” policy, which is … if you eat at the restaurant, or buy something at the gift shop (must be at least $15) you get a receipt to “jump the line” early. Since the restaurant is packed before show time my advice is to purchase a t-shirt ($18) at the gift shop, it’s worth every penny. Get there early; get your receipt, secure your place in line outside and you could end up where I was… FRONT ROW!