Recommended: Plant & Krauss, China

The Gipsy Kings perform at Chautauqua in Boulder on August 31 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Tim Van Schmidt | New SCENE


The summer of 1972 — 50 years ago — was golden for me as far as live music is concerned.

Living in LA at the time, in just the space of a couple of months, I got to see Joe Cocker (with opener Stevie Wonder), The Rolling Stones (on their “Exile on Main Street” tour), The Grateful Dead (their first show in the US after their legendary Europe ’72 tour), John Mayall (recording the live album “Moving On” at the Whisky A Go Go), Procol Harum (with a little known opening band, The Eagles), Three Dog Night, Jesus Christ Superstar, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Leon Russell, and Ike and Tina Turner (from a front row seat, Tina Turner performing not more than 10 feet away right in front of me).

Ziggy Marley opens for Jack Johnson at Fiddler’s Green on August 31 and September 1 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

But the best of all was Led Zeppelin. It was just a massive, loud, huge slice of the best of the band. Don’t just take my word for it. A healthy chunk of that show ended up being released on the triple CD set “How the West Was Won” and in the liner notes, guitarist Jimmy Page simply said, “This is Led Zeppelin at its best”.

In 1995, I got to see another great Led Zeppelin show. Well, it wasn’t LZ, but Page and vocalist Robert Plant were touring with a supporting rock band, a symphony orchestra, and an Egyptian ensemble, updating Led Zeppelin classics with awesome results. Lightning struck twice in Denver and I photographed both shows.

Cirque du Soleil brings their show OVO to the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland August 26-28 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

I’ve seen Plant several times as a solo artist and they have been good shows too, but seeing him with his original partner Page — and the band that made them famous — was awesome.

Now, here it is 2022 and I’m excited to be seeing Plant again, but with another one of his great musical partners — Alison Krauss — on September 1 at Red Rocks.

Krauss and Plant struck gold with their 2007 collaborative album “Raising Sand”, produced by T Bone Burnett, which earned them accolades and awards with savory vocal harmonies and folksy, countrified music. The trio came back together to record their 2021 release, “Raising the Roof”, and now Plant and Krauss are on a full tour together.

See One World, One Sky at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

This isn’t Led Zeppelin, but a whole different animal, and they should sound REALLY good in the Red Rocks environs. Find out more about Krauss and Plant at their site, Opening the show at Red Rocks: JD McPherson.

China: A recent visit to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery afforded the opportunity to see “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure” in the Dome Theater. OK, so Sesame Street was a little after my time, but it was cute nonetheless.

But what particularly inspired me was the introduction of a character from China. In the course of the short movie, Big Bird, Elmo, and Hu Hu Zhu not only take an imaginary trip to the moon but also propose the idea that people in America and people in China were seeing the very same North Star in the sky. They went so far as to call it “the friendship star”.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss play Red Rocks on September 1 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

I think US President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping of China should get outside some night soon and do a little stargazing. Maybe the “friendship star” might inspire them too.

Learn more about China by visiting the Global Village Museum in Fort Collins. Their current exhibit in the Main Gallery is “Visions of Rural China: Harvests, Families and Fairs”, now through September 24.

Visit “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.

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