Now in its 6th year, BluesFest has become one of the musical highlights of the year as it takes over the o2 Arena. Having played host to a stunning list of icons including Steely Dan, Chic, Jamie Cullum and Elvis Costello, the festival is growing every year and now the Friday 26th date boasts performances from world-renowned singers Robert Plant and Van Morrison.
Globally known for his expansive catalogue of hits, including ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and ‘Moondance’, Van Morrison’s reputation and legacy through his soul influenced music is not to be frowned at. In almost equal measure, experimental, jazzy-folk albums full of 10 minute improvised jams and stream of consciousness lyrics can be found across dotted amongst the rest of his career. These releases have often divided his audience, but albums such as ‘Astral Weeks’ have still found their way into the collections of many a fan. There has never really been a lull in the multi-instrumentalist’s output, with 39th album having been released this April, and regular attention grabbing gigs filling his off-days. Van Morrison has played at more BluesFest’s than he hasn’t, often alongside guests such as Tom Jones and Jeff Beck, so this show will be like a homecoming for the Irishman.
Robert Plant’s career is one of the few in music that could be considered even more impressive than Van Morrison’s. From redefining the sound of music with Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut in 1969, to releasing the bluesy-folk ‘Carry Fire’ in 2017, Plant’s vocal abilities have been heard around the world. Voted the best lead singer of all time in a 2011 Rolling Stone poll, his vocals range from the husky, lower register his solo records often employ, to the piercing shrieks that his Led Zeppelin output famed him for, with this virtuosity taking centre stage in hits such as ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ and ‘Ramble On’. Plant hasn’t appeared at BluesFest since its conception at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013 (though you can read my review of his 2017 return to the iconic venue here).
With careers spanning over 50 years, both Robert Plant and Van Morrison have a lot of performance experience under their respective belts. BluesFest 2018 will finally bring the two heavyweights together for an inspirational night of music, where hearing ‘Moondance’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ sung by the stunning showmen who penned them will be an expected occurrence.
Look out for GIGsoup’s review of Robert Plant and Van Morrison’s October 26th show.