Five of the 11 tracks on Robert Plant's first DVD, Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation (Rounder/Zoe), are new performances of old Led Zeppelin songs. But this set isn't nearly as safe or nostalgic as the track list would suggest. Captured live in 2005 for PBS's Soundstage, Plant and a band of musicians whose rsums include Portishead, Massive Attack, and Jah Wobble approach those sacred cows the way Led Zeppelin once approached the blues. They open with a world-music reinvention of "No Quarter," with Plant singing the opening verse accompanied only by the sound of exotic percussion. And when it does kick in, the guitar work is slinkier, more Middle Eastern-sounding. "Black Dog" is funkier, almost hip-hop-flavored. "Whole Lotta Love" eventually kicks in the way it's meant to, but it starts off slow and dirty, getting in touch with its roots in the blues. And when it breaks down in the middle, it's more like Santana as filtered through the electronic textures of, well, Portishead than old Led Zeppelin. As for the solo material, it holds up more than fine, from the haunting psychedelic blues of "The Enchanter" to the "Crunge"-worthy math-garage swagger of "Freedom Fries."
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