at The Icehall, Helsinki, Finland, April 15, 2005

The man still most known for his days in Led Zeppelin is about to release his second album with Strange Sensation and the tour promoting this upcoming release brought him to Finland for a second time during his solo years. The tour for his previous critically acclaimed release, Dreamland, brought them to Finland the first time. This go around, the venue for the show was the old Icehall, not famous for its intimate atmosphere that Plant shows are more accustomed to these days. Sadly, only a handful of people showed up to see this living legend, and probably due to poor ticket sales the set played was shorter than it has been on this tour so far. Possibly the rest of the fans chose to go to the second show that took place the next day in a club in Tampere.

The intro tape to the Plant’s set was some sort of tribal chant that lasted several minutes. The band took to their instruments first before Mr. Plant calmly walked to his microphone from behind the drum set where he was seen waiting. The jam-packed and percussion heavy “No Quarter” started the surprisingly Zeppelin rich set. “Shine It All Around,” the new single and a song that can be downloaded from Plant’s official net site followed. The audience roared when the familiar “Black Dog” started. By now, it was clear that Plant wasn’t in a talking mood, but was here just to perform the songs. Another new song, “Freedom Fries,” got a small introduction stating that the band was going to be playing a couple of new songs. It was also clear that this time around the whole set was going to rock and was closer to the mood of the other Zeppelin songs that were aired in the set. Judging by the new songs played tonight, the upcoming new album Mighty Rearrenger is going back to the rock roots of Plant. “Darkness, Darkness” was the only older song played tonight, not counting Zeppelin tunes.

Both “Mighty Rearrenger” and “All the King’s Horses” were cut from the set, and instead the band moved straight into the acoustic version of “That’s The Way.” This introduced the stand-up bass, played by the “new guy” Billy Fueller, who seemed to be right at home on the stage sporting a look of a run-away Bee Gee with his 70’s style dress code, with a low buttoned shirt and all. His style did not, however, look out place in this mixed-up bunch of highly talented players. Guitarist Justin Adams was seen dancing along at most every turn in a style similar to Peter Gabriel and other World Music performers. The lead guitarist, Skin, looked like a crazed hippie whose only obsession in life is his guitar, and boy could he play that thing. John Baggot looked like a bizarre doctor, mixing up his musical potions behind his laboratory of keyboards and soundboards. Clive, the drummer, was the gentle giant behind his drum kit, providing the back beat to this colorful and extremely talented bunch. And Robert… what a sight! Could someone please explain how can a man of his age still possess that much sex appeal and charisma? Plant seemed to have the audience eating out of his hand from the get go, and all he had to do to get the audience to sing along was to give a look that pointed that it’s your turn to sing now. Just like a tree whose age can be counted by the circles inside, so are the lines on Roberts face, which makes the man even more charismatic and impressive. Plant was wearing a pair of cool looking cowboy boots that were admired by a couple of guys in the front row. The much rockier side of the set kept Robert on his feet the whole time doing his familiar Far-East influenced dance routines.

The encore opener, “Baby, I’m Gonna Leave You,” showcased Skin’s guitar wizardry with a smashing solo on acoustic guitar. Another new song, “Enchanter,” followed before the sneaky Blues intro for the classic “Whole Lotta Love” was aired, and the audience went nuts. Then it was time for the band to take their bows and thank the audience for coming.

The whole evening gave a mixed bag of feelings. No small talk, no band introduction, and hardly any song introductions gave an absent-minded feeling to the whole set. Playing a set that was comprised of half brand new songs, still waiting to be released, and half old Zeppelin tunes was a bit strange. Granted, the new songs seemed to be much more in the vein of the old Zeppelin songs in their feeling, and thus created more of an atmosphere, but playing a couple more songs from the his last solo album would have given the fans a stronger feeling of belonging. There is still that legendary, sensationally sensual voice that Plant still carries… which surely will always be worthy of any admission price.

Setlist: No Quarter/ Shine All Around/ Black Dog/ Freedom Fries/ Darkness, Darkness/ That’s The Way/ The Pan Alley/ Takamba/ Gallows Pole/ Levee Breaks// Baby I’m Gonna Leave You/ The Enchanter/ WLL


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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