Robert Plant and his Band of Joy were musically on fire Thursday night at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino but the venue was lacking.
From beginning to end Plant, whose timeless voice has matured but retained its bite, and his group energetically tore though its and others material.
Unfortunately, and this happens when any act with electric guitars comes to the Highland casino, the venue isn’t made for heavier or more complex rock acts like Plant’s.
This problem came up when I watched alternative rock’s Stone Temple Pilots previously but not hip-hop artist Drake or even R & B’s Usher.
The combination of an enclosed, generic room with speakers that don’t separate an artist’s vocals from the music being performed and the odd bingo styled chairs not built for a concert performance make for a challenging experience.
But seeing strong performances that included Led Zeppelin songs like “Black Dog,” to a cover of Richard and Linda Thompson’s “House of Cards” and Buddy Miller’s “Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go” and a stand-out performance from Patty Griffin make reviewing the show accurately tough.
Plant’s performance overall made up for the venue’s deficiencies but with ticket prices ranging from more than $100 to $80 for the show and a nearly sell-out crowd you’d wish the casino’s owners would reinvest some of the money in the performance venue outside of two large screens on both sides of the stage.
After Plant started with a terrific bluegrass reinterpretation of Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” the group went into a good variety of songs like “Down to the Sea,” “Angel Dance,” “House of Cards,” “How Many Times Have You Heard Someone Say” with Darrell Scott, “Silver Rider,” “Black Country Woman,” “In The Mood” and “Please Read the Letter” and others.