Robert Plant Closes Tour at Celebrate Brooklyn

July 29th, 2013

Robert Plant/Phosphorescent – Prospect Park Bandshell – July 27, 2013

The Prospect Park Bandshell was crawling with concertgoers of all ages on Saturday night. The anticipation for the double bill of Phosphorescent and Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters was palpable. Phosphorescent, with their melancholic storytelling and rich instrumental arrangements, played first. Their music is wonderfully suited for the outdoors, and the band’s set unfolded with songs spanning frontman Matthew Houck’s catalog, which includes five full-length albums and an EP since his solo debut in 2003. The crowd idled, mesmerized by poignant lyrics, Houck’s country-twanged crooning and the sense of peaceful passion the set conveyed. Crowd favorites included “Los Angeles” and Houck’s most recent hit, “Song for Zula.”

As the fireflies began to hover in the trees and night fell, we readied ourselves for Plant and his band to take the stage. I noticed a few people already had their lighters out and ready to wave. As soon as the stage was set with a trove of instruments and the lights dimmed, the crowd began to clap and cheer, swaying in awestruck bliss as Plant played an acoustic opening number. The spectacle and sound once his band joined him was sensational.

Justin Adams, John Baggott, Juldeh Camara, Billy Fuller, Liam “Skin” Tyson and Dave Smith, all stars in their own right, accompanied Plant. The deep talent onstage contributed a variety of instruments and sounds to the mix while covering old blues tunes like “Spoonful” and “Fixin’ to Die” and reinterpreting such Zeppelin classics as “Black Dog” and “Going to California.” Plant entertained with his signature mercurial disposition and amusing banter between songs, assuring the audience he’d “be back real soon.” But witnessing the last show of the band’s extensive worldwide tour was a special experience. And while Robert Plant has had a remarkably successful career, his work with the Sensational Space Shifters is some of his very best. —Schuyler Rooth