During his genre-hopping career, Robert Plant has pulled off more unpredictable moves than Garry Kasparov. Even so, Plant’s epic version of Willie Dixon’s Spoonful stuns the crowd inside an aerodrome-size tent on the Boston waterfront.
It begins with pulsating trip-hop keyboards, plunges through the feedback wormhole of a backwards guitar solo, and emerges into an ethereal interlude featuring the one-string African violin of Juldeh Camara.
“We’re English guys, and a Gambian, messing with American music,” says Plant. “We’re crucifying it!”
This is not your grandfather’s blues, even though The SSS are fronted by a 67-year-old. Tonight’s set-list focuses on Plant’s excellent Lullaby And…The Ceaseless Roar album, but it also includes leftfield reworkings of Crawling King Snake and Howlin’ Wolf’s No Place To Go. The latter segues into Led Zeppelin’s Dazed And Confused, its bassline slowed down for doomier effect.
Zep tunes abound. The Lemon Song shifts gears faster than a Formula One driver. During the clavinet-driven funk of Trampled Underfoot, Plant emits a lengthy wail that probably registers Force 12 on the Beaufort scale. Even more thrilling? A tender version of *The Rain Song *that mists thousands of eyes. An encore of In My Time Of Dying is fitting. The iconic singer has come full circle to where he started in 1968: reinterpreting black American music in a fresh way.