MOORHEAD — In the 1970s, Robert Plant was one of the biggest rock stars, the voice behind Led Zeppelin. His long, curly hair, bare chest and powerful howls helped write the textbook for what an arena rock frontman would look and sound like.
After the group disbanded in 1980, the singer set aside hard rock to explore pop and world music until the late 1990s when Plant and Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page reunited for a couple of albums and tours. (The duo played the Fargodome in 1998.)
Despite hefty offers to formally reunite Zeppelin in recent years, Plant has refused, leading to a new beef with his old friend, Page.
While he may not perform as Led Zeppelin, the singer is enjoying pulling out a handful of the band's songs to play on his current tour with The Sensational Space Shifters.
Here’s a look at some Zeppelin songs fans may hear when he plays Moorhead's Bluestem Amphitheater on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
'What Is and What Should Never Be'
Plant has been opening shows with this tune from the group’s second album, fitting since it was one of the first for which the singer got partial songwriting credits.
A perfect example of how the group combined the blues and rock when it came out in 1971, The Sensational Space Shifters have toned it down a little bit, making it more of a “blues stomp,” according to a recent concert review in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
‘The Battle of Evermore’
It seems only natural that the folk-driven Sensational Space Shifters would dust this one off as it’s inspired by old English folk tunes and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The only Zeppelin tune to feature a guest vocalist, expect Sandy Denny’s part in the duet to be sung by guest singer Lillie Mae, who locals might remember from when she played with Jack White at the Fargo Theatre in 2015.
‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’
While the song was written by folk singer Anne Bredon and first covered by Joan Baez in 1962, Plant put his own signature on the song with his plaintive vocals in 1969.
‘When the Levee Breaks’
Written by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929, Zeppelin put its own spin on the blues tune, thanks in part to John Bonham’s thunderous drumming. The Space Shifters have put their own stamp with Lillie Mae’s fiddle taking front and center.
Another traditional folk song Zeppelin refreshed, a natural for The Sensational Space Shifters to take for a spin.
‘Going to California’
The acoustic ballad was a steady part of Zeppelin’s acoustic sets and should fit in nicely with the current string lineup.
‘The Immigrant Song’
This one may be a long shot, but Plant played it earlier this summer in Iceland, which inspired the howling rocker.
Another tune partially inspired by Tolkien, Plant has been using this as a show closer.
If you go
What: Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25
Where: Bluestem Amphitheater, 801 50th Ave. S., Moorhead
Info: Tickets range from $45 to $125; https://jadepresents.com or 866-300-8300