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Robert Plant cemented his legendary status at The Palais Theatre

Robert Plant’s signature mop of curls may be grey, but he’s still the same rockstar the world fell in love with in the ‘60s. Defying the laws of time with a voice that has barely changed over the past 40 years, Plant is a testament to the fact that rock’n’roll never dies. 

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Lewis Nixon

Assuming their positions onstage and tearing straight into a ferocious rendition of Led Zeppelin classic ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters set the tone for the evening straight off the bat. Following up with ‘The May Queen’ from the band’s latest album, Carry Fire, the set was certain not to be a one-note affair.

The band continued to pull out an assortment of tracks from Plant’s solo career including ‘Mighty Rearranger’, ‘All the King’s Horses’ and ‘Carry Fire’, Zeppelin tracks ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’ and ‘Going to California’ and a few covers including the 1920’s hit ‘Little Maggie’, for good measure.

Decades of experience as a performer and a reputation for his charismatic presence were evident in every facet of the performance, be it his quick wit when replying to shouting audience members – such as the woman who yelled for Plant to take his shirt off, to which he replied “at this time of night? I’m not fucking doing that” – to the way he simply exuded a level of confidence and comfort on the stage.

Plant’s humility shone through as he often drifted to the fringes of the stage while his bandmates took over and he simply watched on in awe, clapping and dancing from the sidelines. Despite being 69 years old, his body never stopped moving to the rhythm. Though he never danced as a man trying to maintain a rock’n’roll persona or someone trying to grasp onto their youth, but as someone who is genuinely passionate about the music they make and can’t help but feel it with their entire body.

The Sensational Space Shifters are no Led Zeppelin, and they’re not trying to be. Rather than trying to live up to the band’s iconic legacy, they put their own spin on Zeppelin classics such as ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ and ‘Bring It On Home’, never deviating too far from the original but still injecting their own sound. The Sensational Space Shifters proved they are a tight unit too, producing an absolutely flawless sound teeming with guitar, drum and violin solos and showcasing their dexterity with an electric lute, mandolin, double bass and a fiddle all appearing throughout the performance.

The crowd ate up every minute of it, Plant could’ve sung ‘Happy Birthday’ and the audience would have thought it was genius. Everyone was completely consumed by the energy in the room, with ‘Please Read The Letter’ creating a singalong effect whilst ‘Gallows Pole’ had everyone on their feet dancing and ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’, complete with an exceptional acoustic guitar solo, earning the band a standing ovation.

Finishing with a bluesy rendition of ‘Misty Mountain Hop’, it felt like finishing a good meal – everyone was full and satisfied – though nobody was refusing dessert, which was served on a platter when the band re-emerged with a medley of ‘Bring It On Home’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’.

There were several moments throughout the evening where Plant’s face would erupt in an immense smile or he would let out a sly wink or laugh to a bandmate, and it was truly heart-warming to see someone so in love with what they do after so many years. If one thing is for certain, Robert Plant is and will always be a rock god.

Highlight: The setlist was the perfect balance of Plant’s solo career and Zeppelin tracks.

Lowlight: Waiting in line for 45 minutes at the merch desk.

Crowd favourite: ‘Gallow’s Pole’.