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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2006
I have been pleasently surprise with Robert Plant's work since he decided to carry on with a solo career after Led Zeppeling. He has not followed the nostalgia road trying to do do the same Zep songs over and over. He has explored his interest and vocal possibilities taking advantage of the moment. His last couple of albums, Dreamland and Mighty Rearrenger are true gems. These albums have been covered in this concert DVD.

The main let down... this concert is only a hour long. I was glued to the TV after a couple of songs and I wished it was not over while looking at the DVD menu and DVD package for secret extra bonus performances that I may have missed! I just wish some marketing genius will grant us a chance to hear and see more concert footage from Robert Plan in the future.

It is true that his voice has aged and that he does not seem to be able to hit the notes as in his 20's... but his performance does not ever tries to sell you his past but the present and he does so with an excelent band and a true and sincere performance!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2006
When are the pundits of Plant's solo career and especially the previous reviewers going to grow up and realize Robert Plant has. Zeppelin is NO more so deal with it. Once you can get past that, Robert pLant has had quite a remarkable solo career. Some may say it's been a bit uneven but overall it has been quite diverse and he's done things his way.

On to the review--All I can say is this was worth the wait. The video is stunningly clear even though I still have a conventional CRT TV and regular old DVD player, no upsampling or HDMI or fancy component video output. The filiming and editing are done just right, no quick cuts and the producer actually seems to know what's going on in the songs because he cuts to certain instruments at precisely the right time for the most impact. The audio is 2 channel PCM or 5.1 surround and the realism is striking. All the instruments, and there are many of them, are clear and can be heard thru out the mix. It's a very complex soundtrack and the engineer captures every little nuance of each tribal drum, guitar, looped sequence and spaced out electronic sound. Nothing is missing and the intruments are well placed so they can be pinpointed on stage. The only exception is the swirling electronic keyboards which come from every direction as intended.

If you haven't heard anything from his latest release which was 2005's Mighty ReArranger some of the textures and hip-hop beats of the songs might suprise you. All of the Zeppelin songs are reworked in a way that still show the roots of the song but no one is trying to imitate Jimmy Page or John Paul Jones or John Bonham, and I for one find that very refreshing. We don't need anymore hacked up Page solo's or hacked up Bonhan drum fills or hacked up John Paul Jones funky bass lines, no more amateur imitators please. Plant's days of shrieking are gone and frankly have been for years, but what he lacks in upper vocal range he makes up for in subtle nuance. There is no mistaking his voice and he sounds fresher and better than ever. All the songs are trippy, Eastern tinged Neo-Psychadelic, blues infused with complex arrangements. This is why he's managed to stay relevent all these years. Mighty ReArranger was nominated for 2 Grammy's last year.

Overall this is a must own DVD if you are into great performances as well as great sound and superb video work. Of course it's a no brainer if you are a Zeppelin or Robert Plant fan.

Gripes: Way too short; where's the rest of the concert from that night. The bottom end overall is lacking. I'd prefer a little more slam to the bass guitar and the drums are mixed a bit on the low side. Haven't found the bonus track: Girl from the North Country yet. Not listed in the liner notes and no way, it seems, to access the song.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 22, 2006
I saw THE MIGHTY REARRANGER tour in Albuquerque, at a beautiful, outdoor venue seating less than 5000 people. The show started right after a rainstorm nearly rained it out, but instead, the sky cleared and it was a fantastic night.

I agree that some of Plant's solo stuff isn't too great. I enjoyed individual songs here and there, but much was forgettable. However, to me, THE MIGHTY REARRANGER album is his strongest solo work. Not because it sounds most like Led Zep...but because the music is intricate, atmospheric and allows Plant to show off his amazing voice in a range that he can handle at his age. It's "trippy" but it's also thoughtful and lovely.

The tour showcased several songs from this album and then a number of great Led Zep covers, plus Hey Joe from Hendrix. That's it. No other "solo"work. It was a great concert, and getting to see a high-quality version of it is an exciting prospect. I'm mostly bummed that the DVD is only 66 minutes. The show I saw as more like 100 minutes, so I know some choice things will be missing.

But to me, it's worth it to recapture some of that great night, and to enjoy a really tight band (The Strange Sensation are a darn talented group of musicians) and a classic singer with enough charisma to totally blow away any weaknesses in his aging voicebox.

If you aren't familiar with THE MIGHTY REARRANGER album, start there. It's a must own, in my opinion. Then if you like it as I think you will, go for the DVD to enjoy Plant in his element...as a live performer.

(And in response to the guy who keeps updating his posts with negative comments...you might notice that I have a few hundred reviews, and they aren't all for Led Zep. I just happen to like this stuff. Sorry you don't. I'll go place my order now.)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2006
Soundstage presents

Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation DVD

Having been fortunate enough to have seen Led Zeppelin in concert as well as several Robert Plant solo excursions I was eager to watch his first ever live DVD brought to us by the wonderfully intimate PBS series, Soundstage. Robert's diminished vocal range may be reflective of his unwanted AARP card carrying status but it's his boyish charm and love of performing that keeps his fans cheering and the lemon squeezers squeezing.

Using the same Middle Eastern "soundscape" formula that worked so well for him and Jimmy Page on their "Unledded" release, "No Quarter" Robert opens up in fact with, "No Quarter" from Led Zeppelin's majestic "Houses of The Holy" album. Even though the "Unledded" release came out in 1994 the familiarity of it all makes this opener come off a bit redundant. "No Quarter" was one of Zep's greatest "head" songs and replacing the songs original spacey keyboard work and howling sound effects once again with Middle Eastern flavorings just seems repetitive. The DVD does kick into gear with the next few songs. "Shine It All Around" has a swirling stadium feel to it and the country honk verses of "Black Dog" combined with an almost exact Zeppelin replication by the band on the chorus brings this Zep classic back in a big way. "Freedom Fries" is a terrific number that once again showcases this very talented group of musicians even though the song's title should have been left on the counter at McDonalds. This remarkable quintet featuring Clive Deamer (drums), John Baggott (keyboards), Billy Fuller (bass) Skin Tyson( guitars ) and Justin Adams playing gimbri, darbouka, and guitar seem to truly understand and co-inhabit Robert's dreamy vision of this newer and more communal Zen Zeppelin. "Four Sticks" is dedicated to the late John Bonham and does the late Bonzo proud with its thundering recreation of his legendary percussion. Several other songs from Plant's 2005 release, "Mighty Rearranger" appear including "Tin Pan Valley" and "The Enchanter" but it's when Robert starts swingin' from his "Gallows Pole" is when things start to get interesting. A killer version of "Whole Lotta Love" closes out this hour long set delighting his audience with a faithful yet creative approach to this certified classic.

Robert Plant seems to have found a great balance in a life filled with extremes. His celebrity glass can no longer be looked at as half full or half empty. With a new band and an inspired vision for the future it can only be seen as a crystal clear reflection of the man himself. Where his fans can look in and where joyfully, all will be revealed...

Matt Parish
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2011
... now if only some of his fans would. The sad sacks on here who review this negatively because "It's not Zeppelin" and say the band is bad are well... just stupid really (I mean, one of them likes Megadeth FFS!). The band is talented & Robert is releasing his best material since the mid 70's RIGHT NOW. Unlike so many of his peers & contemporaries he has GROWN and his music has diversified & he is stronger for it. He doesn't wanna churn out the same tired versions of 40 year old songs & more power to him for that. I'd rather see a 60 year old man singing & playing music worthy of his & my attention than see him try to recreate the past. I saw "Not Quite Zep" at the O2 show (and in the 70's too, when they were GODS). They were good at the O2... Mighty Re-arranger, Raising Sand & Band of Joy are better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 22, 2009
I first heard Robert Plant with the Strange Sensation while at altitude on a long-haul flight between continents. The sounds of a familiar, yet exotically spiced live version of something with bluesy, casbah grooves laid over a rock foundation was being piped to the seats through the plane's in-flight entertainment system and it had a very strange affect indeed. My boredom induced decline into numbness was nicely halted and pushed aside as I was drawn to the rhythms being expertly and tightly woven into my headphones. Clearly it was rock at the core, but exactly what was this I was hearing?

There was that weaving, bobbing guitar again. I couldn't help but move to it. I was finally fully alert, but by now half the song was gone. I was not only thrilled to feel this good, but genuinely curious. Where was I going to find this gem? I was sure I just had to hear it again (and again..).

The tight band and singer built a bit of tension, paused to let the audience sing a quick few words, then cranked it tighter using a push-pull, pause then crank, pause then crank pattern. Then the band ripped into a steadily building frenzy. Robert Plant let loose with his signature wail and I knew exactly where I was.

This was the crescendo of Black Dog with Plant at the helm of a band with obvious and incredible talent. It's still hard rock in the truest sense of the words. There's no compromising on the basic drums, guitar, or keyboards. It's genuine. Added to that is enhanced bass-work and a very enjoyable and pleasant layering of complex instrumental work that makes it a fuller, richer, less austere experience. What a beautiful sound Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation have achieved. This newly refined sound carries through, in various degrees, on all of the songs on the DVD, melding the old and the new songs almost seamlessly into one continuous fabric, perfectly sequenced for the concert.

It's true that Plant is working harder to get some notes, and others he wisely doesn't attempt. But, within these known limits, he stretches it as far as it will go and very effectively at that, proving his is still the voice of a giant that is worthy of hearing. In the mesmerizing environment created by the world-class musicians that accompany him here - combined with a very well crafted film shot on a theme-set decorated with tribal carpets and given a modern edge by liberal use of lights and arrayed banks of video mood screens - there is rarely a wasted moment. Aside from the excellent sound produced, the variety and character of many of the instruments, new and old, are also a fascinating side-study, in and of themselves. Thankfully the film's editors let us see plenty of just about all of it.

I made a point of repeatedly playing many of the songs, old and new, original and remade, while I wrote this. The real surprise in all of this is that the newer versions of the old Zeppelin songs are a clear challenge to the supremacy of the originals. No small feat - even for Plant himself - but he and the band have done it!

They deserve kind thanks for taking the effort. The road chosen was definitely not the easy way out. Due to Led Zeppelin's previous success with many of these songs, they will likely not get all of the attention and credit they deserve for this Mighty Rearrangement. Nevertheless, this is an absolute masterpiece.

The performers are:

Robert Plant - Vocals

Billy Fuller - Bass
Clive Deamer - Drums
John Baggot - Keyboards
Justin Adams - Guitar, Strings, Percussion
Skin Tyson - Guitar

Top picks:
Black Dog
Whole Lotta Love
Tin Pan Valley
The Enchanter
Girl From the North Country

For those having trouble finding the bonus tracks, do nothing. Just let the DVD continue running at the end and it should soon flick back into the bonus tracks after about 20 seconds. The bonus tracks are: Hey Joe, 6:08 min. followed by Girl From the North Country, 5:39 min. Doing that is highly recommended since it has the feel of closing the somewhat short show and then getting a couple of good, long songs for an encore. Like many, I wish there was more, but they could have given me 20 songs instead of 12 and I still would have wanted more.

One of the main reasons to get this DVD, aside from the fact that it's excellent, is that there are seven songs on the DVD that are not on the Mighty Rearranger CD album. Most are very well remade versions of quality Zeppelin songs, and all range from hard-to-find to impossible-to-find elsewhere. These rare songs and versions are:

No Quarter
Black Dog
Four Sticks
Gallows Pole
Whole Lotta Love
Hey Joe
Girl From the North Country

Also on the DVD:
Shine It All Around
Freedom Fries

And finally, if you are a Zeppelin purist and you're not sure if you can live with the thought of the songs being changed at all, take a squint at YouTube and look for Black Dog. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised by what you've been missing. If so, head back here, because there's more where that came from and you are probably gonna want the whole shawarma.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2007
I am really crazy man about live Led Zeppelin and collect all concerts for long time. So every live concert Robert Plant is GREAT thing. This DVD is very important who love and like the music LD. Plant is really who run tradition of LedZep. Great sound and great picture. You must have it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I really loved this show. Mighty Rearranger is Robert's best album so far and this show is a wonderful performance (I wish I could have been there). I would have loved to have seen more on the dvd- maybe other songs/takes from other venues and a behind-the-scenes to meet the band and hear about the songwriting. Check out itunes for more live segments from the tour and a great Fresh Air interview to promote the greatest hits collection pre and post Zep.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2010
Robert's still in good voice and very refreshing arrangements to old Zep songs. Really enjoy the eastern influence to his solo work. Good HD video and audio. As is usual the backing instrumentalists are outstanding. A good addition to your concert collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2012
This was a must have after seeing this performance on tv.
great versions of classic songs as well as new compositions.
A really good band to back up this legendary performer
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