Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters performed with Sheryl Crow and folk singer Seth Lakeman on June 13, followed by Roger Daltrey performing The Who’s “Tommy” with The New York Pops on June 17.
After 50 years, Plant, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, still has his powerful vocal range, and showcased it on classics like “The Lemon Song,” “Going To California” and “Whole Lotta Love,” as well as newer numbers like “The May Queen.”
“We must all do what we can to keep the terrific music of the sixties and early seventies alive,” said Forest Hills native Glenn Lurie, who cited “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” as a showstopper. “When Robert Plant performs Led Zeppelin tunes, it brings me back to my high school days, when Zep's music was just part of growing up. His voice sounds as clear and moving as it did in 1969.”
“His voice is powerful as ever and the man is almost 70 years old,” said Sofia Monge, co-owner of Continental Photo. “It’s nice that he seeks out music from all over the world and has been influenced by it.”
Kew Gardens resident Eric Schreiber, a child of the 1970s, considers Led Zeppelin a favorite band of all-time. He said, “Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were one of the most prolific songwriting tandems in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, comparable in magnitude to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. As a solo artist, Plant has really done the delta bluesmen proud.”
Schreiber felt “The Lemon Song” was a great opener, setting the show’s tone. He continued, “’Going To California’ and ‘Gallows Pole’ were tracks from albums I wore out the grooves on while coming of age. ‘In The Mood’ from The Principle of Moments, was a prime selection from his early solo career, which didn't push his vocal cords beyond their comfort zone and sounded good. ‘Bring It On Home’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ were the perfect note to close on. I left wanting more, and as we filed towards the exit, the last encore was still playing in my head.”
As for opener Sheryl Crow, he said, “It was interesting that she had spoken with tennis legend John McEnroe who told her he first played at Forest Hills Stadium when he was nine, but meanwhile, Robert Plant mentioned he had to ask his friends if he had ever played here, since he couldn't remember.”
He compared her to Linda Ronstadt and praised her set and band.
“She still has the pipes that established her as a multi-platinum act 25 years ago,” he said.
With a career also spanning over 50 years, Daltrey continues to exude charisma and an energetic stage presence.
As lead singer of The Who, he played Forest Hills for the first time in 1971. In 2015, he returned to Forest Hills with the iconic band he co-founded.
On Sunday, Daltrey and The New York Pops united for a Father’s Day performance of The Who’s “Tommy,” the rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy.
The crowd was brought to its feet for classics such as “Pinball Wizard,” “See Me, Feel Me” and “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” The encore included “Who Are You” and “Baba O’Riley,” which featured a violin solo by virtuoso Katie Jacoby.
Stuart Haber felt the collaboration between Daltrey and The New York Pops gave an additional depth to the music.
“I saw Roger do the Tommy tour at Nassau Coliseum about six years ago and I saw The Who do it last year at Royal Albert Hall, but the orchestra made so much of the difference,” the Manhattan resident said. “It felt closer to a Broadway musical than a rock concert. For all the times I heard ‘Baba O’Riley’ live, this was the only time the violin was used and it was transcendent.”
Jane Schulyer Carucci of Forest Hills has been attending Who shows for over 30 years, including their 2015 stadium appearance.
“The New York Pops added a classical component, which is timeless,” she said.
Robert Schnell proved just that, bringing his five-year-old daughter Ishanika to her first concert. She happily danced throughout the show.
“My brother Rich turned me on to Tommy when I was 10 through the Woodstock album,” the Forest Hills resident said. “Finally, The Who’s first rock opera is performed by an orchestra.”
This is the fourth year in a row The New York Pops have played Forest Hills. Ivy Hammer and her husband Steve have made the concerts a summer tradition.
“[Daltrey] is now 74 and terrific,” she said. “He moved around the stage easily and sounded the same as in his younger days.”