Robert Plant held back the rains last night at Forest Hills Stadium for a memorable performance with the Sensational Space Shifters. The ageless and ever-evolving Plant will turn 70 later this year, continuing to move forward with new music and updated takes on classic Led Zeppelin tunes. Plant and the Space Shifters came into being in 2013 and have released two albums, 2014’s Lullaby and . . . The Ceaseless Roar and last year’s Carry Fire. Like their mystic front man, the band draws on global roots, with West African rhythms, Eastern strings and hard-rocking guitar that stands up to Jimmy Page’s original riffs that made Zeppelin’s music the powerhouse of its day.

Clouds and light rain lingered over New York since early morning, but the skies began to brighten by the time tour mate Sheryl Crow was ready to open. Crow performed an upbeat set of familiar hits and paid proper homage. “Robert Plant is an architect of everything we do,” she said. Then, as the sun went down, Plant and crew took the stage, wasting no time setting a bluesy tone with "The Lemon Song." From the Space Shifters’ first album, “Turn It Up” did just that, showcasing guitarists Justin Adams and Liam Tyson. Shifting to acoustic guitars, the pair supported Plant on “Going to California” and a rousing “Gallows Pole.” From his 2007 collaboration with Alison Krauss, Plant sang “Please Read the Letter,” another reminder of just how varied his career has been. Alternating between old and new, “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” from Zeppelin’s first album was followed by “The May Queen” (no relation to “Stairway”) from the current Carry Fire.

Due to local noise restrictions, the show had a hard stop of 10 pm, but no one went home disappointed after encores of “I’m in the Mood for a Melody” and “Whole Lotta Love.” Plant’s legendary pipes are still capable of scaling heights, and the Sensational Space Shifters are an impressive collection of multi-instrumentalists more than capable of living up to one of rock’s most enduring legacies.

Forest Hills Stadium is also a venerable venue. Home to the U.S. Tennis Open until 1978, its musical legacy includes The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and local boys Simon and Garfunkel. After a long hiatus as a performance space, it now offers an impressive lineup of concerts during the summer months. Upcoming shows will feature Roger Daltrey, Arctic Monkeys, Van Morrison and Willie Nelson, David Byrne and The National.

Pictures from the show are in the gallery above and Robert Plant's setlist is below.


SETLIST: Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters @ Forest Hills Stadium 6/13/2018 (via)
The Lemon Song (Led Zeppelin song)
Turn It Up
The May Queen
Going to California (Led Zeppelin song)
Please Read the Letter (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss cover)
Gallows Pole ([traditional] cover)
Carry Fire
Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You (Joan Baez cover)
Little Maggie ([traditional] cover)
Fixin' to Die (Bukka White cover)

In the Mood
Bring It On Home / Whole Lotta Love / Santianna / Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin song)


photos by Lou Montesano

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