Any true fan knows that weather will not stand in the way of an anticipated rock show where she has fantastic seats. This was the case last night when my friend Stephanie and I traveled in sleet to the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA.
The blue Toyota barreled forward into the sleet of the night with the shield of bluesy, hard riffs of Zep II.
Favorites from this album include: See all.
But really, I love the golden overtones of “Thank You.” The electric organ melted the sleet assaulting my windshield and created a lovely glow in my face.
Steph and I also share a favorite “Ramble On” in which we were fortunate enough to see at the show. The first riffs of this launched me out of my chair and into goofy-white-girl-dance mode.
My hometown radio station said it was illegal to cut “Heartbreaker” and “Living Loving Maid (She’s just a woman)” into two tracks and I whole-heartedly agree. You simply can’t interrupt the flow of these two.
As the weather got more harsh, the Toyota found its sway to the more calm and folk-infused tones of Plant and Krauss’ (Allison, that is) 2007 collaboration, Raising Sand.
By the time we arrived at the Tower, we were hungry and dodging painful sleet that was bouncing off rooftops and onto our heads. We found comfort in the Waterford Inn, a quaint pub where I felt compelled to have fish and chips. Everyone we’d run into that night, it seemed, was from Britain, so it only seemed appropriate to order it.
The food was excellent and the atmosphere lured us into feeling like we were in a movie. We were a wee bit late for the opener, the North Mississippi All-Stars but they rocked out well, with a southern/bluesy rock vibe.
During intermission, a young dude in a Zep tee (the one with the logo for Led Zeppelin’s record label, Swan Song. It’s Apollo, not an angel, devil, Icarus or Daedalus. It is adapted from a 19th century drawing by William Rimmer called “Evening, Fall of Day”) was groovy out like it was the days of the Grateful Dead. He lightened the atmosphere, and I briefly wondered if anyone else was going to stand up and groove.
Grooving is a must at shows like these. I didn’t have to worry long because as soon as the lights went down, the cheering erupted and people were instantly on their feet, clapping and screaming. Steph, beside me, had an almost Beatle-mania reaction when the “Tall, Cool One” sauntered out onto stage and opened with “Angel Dance” a Los Lobos cover.
The next two hours were filled with swaying, screaming, jumping, singing, dancing and rocking out. Patty Griffin was phenomenal. The other members helped shine it all around, too. The blending of Plant’s vocals and steel guitar was a delight to the ears.
Current members of Band of Joy are:
Marco Giovino – percussion
Patty Griffin – vocals and guitar
Byron House – bass
Buddy Miller – guitar and vocals
Darrell Scott – vocals, mandolin, guitar, accordion, pedal, lap steel and banjo
Robert Plant – lead vocals
Some old spirituals made their way into the line up, like a sampling of “Twelve Gates to the City / Wade in the Water /,” and the Grateful Dead’s “We Bid You Goodnight” which Plant led the crowd in a percussive clapping and swaying that made you feel like you were at a spirited church. Music is church, is it not?
The evening was filled with joy, a whole band of it. If you can get out and see this tour, Steph and I highly recommend it. I’m sure the swaying dude in the Swan Song shirt would agree.
The rest of the evening was filled with prayer, a playlist of “Priory of Brion” and a lot of skidding, shoveling, swearing and finally, blissful gratitude. In the words of Steph, quoting Robert: “Music, sweet music. What you do to us.”
And yes, weather and all, we’d do it all over again. And again. The joy ride on.
*and thanks to Stephanie for help with the facts and events and chronology of this post…”And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.” *