The Greek Theater in Berkeley was packed all the way back to the woodchips behind the lawn Friday night for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. It was an enjoyable two-hour show despite it being hoodie weather; a blanket of fog obscured the Campanile in the distance for most of the concert. Plant and Krauss opened the show with the first track from their Raising Sand album, “Rich Woman.” They quickly answered the question of whether they’d be performing any Zeppelin songs with their third number, a re-arranged bluegrass version of “Black Dog” featuring banjo and violin. The highlight of the night for Zep fans, though, was the rousing rendition of “The Battle of Evermore,” the greatest mandolin-driven rock song ever. It was perhaps the Zeppelin song best suited for Krauss, who provided the tune’s high-pitched backup vocals. Plant may be in his 60s, but he’s still effortlessly cool: Whenever he pulled out one of his classic stage moves like the mic-stand twirls, the crowd went nuts.
At one point, Plant left the stage for a while and let Krauss have the spotlight; her solo bits included the lovely “Down to the River to Pray” from the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother Where Art Thou? The duo finished their main set with “Gone Gone Gone,” but, as concert-goers know, they weren’t “really gone” after they took their bows and left the stage. The band returned for a three-song encore capped by the gentle “Your Long Journey.”
And, in case you were wondering: No, we don’t know if Plant and Krauss are doing it. --Will Harper