By Christopher Scapelliti
Robert Plant performed Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” for the first time without former bandmate Jimmy Page on Tuesday, March 14.
The performance took place when Plant made an appearance at violinist Nigel Kennedy’s concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The gala event was billed as Nigel Kennedy and Friends and featured classical performers, making Plant’s appearance a peculiar, but welcome, event of the evening.
Plant preceded his performance by explaining that he met Kennedy in the early Nineties when Plant was making his solo album Fate of Nations. The singer had recruited a group of Indian musicians to perform on the song “Calling to You” but was unhappy with what he heard. Kennedy was brought in to contribute to the music, and “this guy saved our lives,” Plant said. “I don’t know whether this is payback or what.”
The version of “Kashmir” that Plant presented on Tuesday night was unique from Led Zeppelin’s original, which appeared on their 1975 album, Physical Graffiti. The performance featured a symphony and classical Indian musicians and opened with a droning intro, over which Plant quietly sang, before the song kicked into full gear about two minutes in. Plant is known to have last performed “Kashmir” at Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion at London's O2 Arena.
His performance at the Royal Albert Hall opened with a rendition of the rock and roll classic “Hey Joe,” included below as an audio file. Plant originally covered the song on his 2002 album, Dreamland, his first with his group Strange Sensation.