Robert Plant – Treat Her Right (Wardour-001)

 Treat Her Right (Wardour-001)

Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – December 13th, 1983

Disc 1: In The Mood, Pledge Pin, Messin’ With The Mekon, Worse Than Detroit, Thru’ With The Two Step, Other Arms, Horizontal Departure (incl. Lively Up Yourself), Moonlight In Samosa

Disc 2: Wreckless Love, member introduction, Slow Dancer, Like I’ve Never Been Gone, Burning Down One Side, Big Log, Stranger Here…Than Over There, Treat Her Right

Wardour’s inaugural release is a previously unknown soundboard recording from Robert Plant’s first solo tour of the UK at the end of 1983. The tape used is excellent sounding albeit cold soundboard recording with very little hiss and no distortion present. The instruments and vocals are balanced with Plant’s stage announcements sounding faint with the audience sounding almost non-existent. It’s very similar to the Genesis soundboards released on Sirene last August. It sounds almost as if the band was in the studio rather than live.

Robert Plant’s solo career has been very strange. The early 80’s saw Plant being very conscious to not trade off on past glories and to forge his own sound. The first three LPs, Pictures At Eleven, Principle Of Moments and Shaken And Stirred have been called the most complicated pop music written at the time. The numbers were closer to tone poems rather than catchy pop ditties.

These albums sound like Robert Plant bringing prog-rock into the 80’s. Since 1988 and his discovery of the hook, he has gradually regressed to his past, first by recording with Jimmy Page and finally now, with both POB and Strange Sensation, placing emphasis upon 1960’s cover tunes and trying to find the “west coast vibe”. My analysis sounds pretentious but if you think about it you can see it. Treat Her Right is Plant as his most adventurous and interesting.

The concert is the second at the Hammersmith Odeon on the UK tour. It contains the best from his first two LPs. But the focus is obviously the encore where Jimmy Page joins the band for a short jam. The results are interesting with Robbie Blunt providing rhythm and Page improvising high above the rest of the band.

The audience’s reaction is typically ecstatic as it should be. But the encore performance shouldn’t overshadow the rest of the set. Blunt’s solo on “Thru’ With The Two Step” is very good and I really love Plant’s use of the keyboards. They’re never intrusive and add lots of dramatic tension. I would definitely recommend this release. It came out last September and is limited to three hundred copies (as most of the Wardour/Sirene, et al releases).

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