Been a long time since “Rock and Roll,” and time has given Robert Plant a chance to change up the Led Zeppelin classic a bit as he hits the road, currently paired with country-bluegrass singer Alison Krauss. The pair showcased their slightly reworked version of the Led Zeppelin fan favorite during the Wednesday (June 1) tour kickoff at Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, New York.
While the original was a pulse-pounding assault powered by John Bonham’s opening drums and Jimmy Page’s driving guitar licks, the Plant-Krauss version plays to the strengths of their current band, which includes a fiddle player, guitarists, a stand-up bassist and a steady shuffling drum beat. It may not have the aggressiveness of the original, but the reworking fits well within the style of music that Plant and Krauss are pursuing. The song now serves as more of a duet with both Plant and Krauss singing in unison for a good portion of the track. And it feels more rooted in the ’50s style of early rock ‘n’ roll that likely served as a bit of an influence in the original.
“Rock and Roll” first appeared on the 1971 Led Zeppelin IV album, being released as a single early in the following year. Though not a huge charting single (it peaked at No. 47 on the Billboard Hot 100), the song’s impact remains through today. It’s been chose as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
Plant and Krauss First united on record in 2007 and toured together into 2009, but the “Raise the Roof” tour is giving the pair their first chance to play together since those initial shows wrapped 13 years ago.
In addition to their own material and the “Rock and Roll” cover, the pair also worked in Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore,” “When the Levee Breaks” and the Page/Plant collaboration “Please Read This Letter” as a nod to Plant’s past. There also appeared to be some shared love of The Everly Brothers, as they took on cover of “Gone Gone Gone” and “Stick With Me Baby” over the course of the night’s setlist.
Plant and Krauss are currently on the road with support from JD McPherson. See all their upcoming dates and get ticketing info here.