Review - Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters @ the Fox Theater (2/28/18)

Kevin Keating
I had high expectations for this show at the Fox Theater last night in Oakland. I've never seen Robert Plant before -- in any incarnation -- and this was a chance to see him with the Sensational Space Shifters in a relatively intimate venue. For sure, this was a bucket-item for me, and better yet, I absolutely love the new album, Carry Fire (iTunes). Personally speaking though, living on the peninsula makes it difficult to get up to Oakland for a mid-week show, but again, this was Robert Plant and I couldn't miss it! We arrived and found parking near the Fox with about 10 minutes to go before the opener, Seth Lakeman, was set to go on at 8pm. But as we walked up to the venue, the line to enter wrapped around the building and down the block. It was incredible! I'd never seen the line that long for a Fox show, and I've been to a number of sold out shows there in the past. Needless to say, it took 40 minutes to get into the venue, so we missed the opener, but still made it in time for Robert Plant.

Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters hit the stage promptly at 9pm and opened with a track off the new album, "New World..." They only played a couple more off the album, including the title track, "Carry Fire". I originally thought he'd play at least one or two more from the new album, but considering the wealth of content he had to dig from, I guess it made sense that he only played a few from the new album. That said, this definitely wasn't a Led Zeppelin greatest hits show -- far from it!

The band played a few Zeppelin hits, but overall, this was a fairly subdued affair and the crowd wasn't feeding the band any energy -- which was disappointing, but at the same time, I was wondering to myself if the audience was in stunned silence that we were there witnessing an absolute rock legend. This was a quiet audience, but again, Plant and company weren't exactly playing the higher tempo hits either. The audience did come alive for the few Zeppelin hits they did play, but at times, I swear I could hear a pin drop it was so quiet in the theater.

That said, Robert Plant at 69 sounded phenomenal. And his backing band, the Sensational Space Shifters were in top form. The band consisted of Liam Tyson (guitar), Justin Adams (guitar), Billy Fuller (bass), John Baggott (keyboards), Dave Smith (drums), and Juldeh Camara (fiddle).

By far the best moment of the night was the closing number/medley of "Whole Lotta Love" which I've included below. As you'll see, even Plant asks the audience for some love.

In the end, it was an amazing experience to see Plant, but I only wish the Oakland crowd gave back a little more to an incredibly deserving legend on his second to last US show before leaving for Australia.

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Robert Plant Setlist The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA, USA 2018, Carry Fire

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