TVD Live Shots: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss with JD McPherson at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 6/11

A delighted crowd packed Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland Saturday night to see Robert Plant and Alison Krauss “raise the roof” during a set that showcased the magical pairing of the two music legends.

You might argue it was long overdue. Plant and Krauss first collaborated in 2007, which resulted in the successful Raising Sand. Only in 2021 did we get a follow-up, Raise the Roof, released in November. The setlist drew from the new album and threw in some covers.

Of course, these covers included some Led Zeppelin. Over the years, the retooled, folk rock/country version of “Rock and Roll” has grown on me and I’ve come to appreciate hearing it live. However, this setlist also included two of my all-time favorite Zeppelin songs, “When the Levee Breaks,” which gave guitarist JD McPherson the opportunity to take the spotlight, and “The Battle of Evermore.” I daresay that Krauss’ angelic but powerful vocals on “The Battle of Evermore” rivaled Sandy Denny’s original recording in 1971. I’m not ashamed to admit that it brought a tear to my eye and was what finally got the mostly grey-haired audience on its feet Saturday night.

For his part, the Robert Plant of 2022 is matured and subdued, but there are hints of rock’s Golden God of the past, which manifest these days as the occasional familiar hand gesture, hip thrust, or “ooh yeah.” Mostly he is a lovely, harmonizing, on-stage partner for Krauss. The two elevate and improve upon material they cover together. Live, the duo is supported by an incredible backing band wielding instruments that include mandolin, fiddle, and stand-up bass. It really is magical to witness.

JD McPherson plays double duty on this tour, as lead guitar for Krauss and Plant and as support act. I’m happy to report that I am a massive fan of the former middle school teacher from Oklahoma. My desire to catch this tour was driven as much by McPherson as it was Plant and Krauss. In a tight 30-minute set, he gave the crowd a sampling of his rockabilly sound, which included some of my favorite tunes of his: “Lucky Penny,” “Head Over Heels,” and a fun version of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.” McPherson has appeared in the DC area several times but it’s been several years since we last saw him here, with the last appearance being in 2017 as support for Chris Isaak. We’re overdue for another headlining show—please come back soon!

A quick word about Merriweather Post Pavilion. I’m ashamed to admit that it had been several years since I’d last visited the outdoor venue; I’d forgotten how lovely it is. Saturday afternoon, I received an invitation to attend an unveiling ceremony of some new artwork on the grounds, three new sculptures created by French anamorphic artist Bernard Pras.

The sculptures depict artists that have appeared at Merriweather Post Pavilion over the years: Miles Davis, Dolly Parton, and, relevant to Saturday’s show, Robert Plant. The artwork is incredible. In creating his sculptures, Pras used recycled items acquired in Maryland, most of which were gathered from a local recycling center. If you find yourself at the venue, wander around to the “backyard” area and have a look. You’re guaranteed to say “oh wow” many times. The photos included here were provided by I.M.P.

The Raising the Roof tour wraps up this U.S. leg at Bonnaroo on June 16 before relaunching in the UK on June 24 to spend much of the summer in Europe, with the last date there on July 20, in Berlin. In August the tour comes back to the U.S. for West Coast dates.

JD McPHERSON

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Setlist
Rich Woman
Quattro (World Drifts In)
Fortune Teller
The Price of Love
Rock and Roll
Please Read the Letter
Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson
High and Lonesome
Last Kind Words Blues
You Led Me to The Wrong
Play Video
Trouble With My Lover
Go Your Way
It Don’t Bother Me
Leave My Woman Alone
The Battle of Evermore
When the Levee Breaks
Gone Gone Gone

Encore
Stick With Me Baby
Can’t Let Go
Somebody Was Watching Over Me

JD McPherson Setlist
Bossy
Lust for Life
North Side Gal
Precious
Head Over Heels
On the Lips
Lucky Penny
Let the Good Times Roll

SCULPTURE PHOTOS: JORDAN GROBE

This entry was posted in TVD Washington, DC. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text