Rock magic unearthed as Plant dazzles his fans

MICHAEL Searwood, of South Launceston, first saw Led Zeppelin live in 1972 at the Subiaco Oval in Perth.

``I think it was the last concert played at Subiaco because of how loud it was,'' Mr Searwood said.

``I hope he's as loud tonight!''

Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant's concert last night didn't disappoint his fans as his music thundered far beyond the outskirts of Launceston's Silverdome when he and band The Sensational Shapeshifters performed to an almost sell-out audience.

Plant and his band opened with Led Zeppelin guitar-heavy hit Friends then immediately dipped into more recent solo song Tin Pan Valley, a heavy electro-tune with dark lyrics.

The switch between styles set the tone for the evening as Plant wowed audiences with his musical flexibility and still-pristine voice.

One audience member was so moved she asked the singer to take his top off.

Many Led Zeppelin songs were given a blues-style makeover - Black Dog, for example, benefited from Gambian musician Juldeh Camara playing the kologo.

The audience of young and older continually responded with wild claps and cheers, many singing along.

``It's really splendid to be in this part of the planet,'' a smiling Plant told the crowd.

Opening act The Blind Boys of Alabama lead vocalist Jimmy Carter poked fun at his band's support-act status. ``Did y'all know we were coming tonight?'' he asked the audience.

Maxine Butwell, of Ravenswood, and Pat Feeley, of Newstead, said the Blind Boys were the people they had come to see.

``I just love their music, I've always followed them,'' Ms Feeley said.

Robert Plant performs at Launceston's Silverdome last night.  Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

Robert Plant performs at Launceston's Silverdome last night. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON