Robert, Jezz & Co
Jezz Woodroffe's Synth Design series takes a break this month — Chris Goosen reports on what's been keeping him busy!
The new band has the inventive talents of Jezz Woodroffe — keyboards, Robbie Blunt — guitar, Paul Martinez — bass guitar, and no lesser person than the amazing Phil Collins doing the drumming for the tour. Bob Mayo, who was not on the albums, is playing additional guitars and keyboards, bringing an extra sound to the live performance.
The lively, enthusiastic Robert Plant performed a wide variety of songs with emotion and sincerity, showing true professionalism in integrating creatively the vocals with the overall sound. The crowd never did sit on their seats, they were standing on them from the beginning, so the atmosphere was just as it should be for a great show in the metropolis of New York.
Above the stage, octopus-like arms with independent movement gyrated with the beat, each arm about 50ft long and with hundreds of lights capable of changing colour through the spectrum and of turning through 360 degrees. All this is computer-linked and controlled from a central mixing desk in the auditorium.
The Madison Square Gardens gig marks the halfway stage of Robert Plant's United States and Canadian tour. The tour takes in 25 major cities and an expected total audience of something like a quarter of a million people.
The momentum is building up since Robert's new career as a solo artist began with the release of "Pictures at Eleven", in June '83. Many golden discs have been collected for both albums, from all over the world. All the songs have been written by Robert in collaboration with the members of his new band — he has a determination not to play any of the Led Zeppelin material, out of a sense of fairness to his new band. Whereas it would be great to see him do some of his old classics, there is no holding progress and that means new material and perfection to Plant; this is 1983!
This man with this band behind him can shape the sound of things to come for some time. Jezz Woodroffe is a most talented keyboard player; Plant is fortunate to have his skills and understanding in the use of music's most exciting equipment. The synths — including Roland Jupiter 8's and SH-101, Korg Poly 61 and Yamaha Electric Grand Piano — are given the space they deserve in this new era. Jezz has a great future in writing new material.
The United States Tour will finish in mid October and they will be back in this country with some concerts scheduled for the United Kingdom in the winter. Robert Plant, with a highly talented band behind him, is well and truly back in the most exciting way — great to see him!
Music Review by Chris Goosen
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