Austin Live Music Experience For The Ages: Patty Griffin & “Her Driver,” Mr. Robert Plant

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During these recent times, when it’s often difficult to make sense of the goings on in the world, to understand the senseless acts carried out by the sick, and to find solace and piece of mind, I turn to the unbridled power of music…even better, live music. In light of last Friday’s tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the glorious gift of music offered up much-needed aural therapy, once again, last night here in Austin.

Never one to understate how unbelievably fortunate I am, thanks to the incredible generosity of a new friend, I was one of roughly 200 people lucky enough to attend a “concert for the ages” at the legendary Continental Club on South Congress. That being the so-called double bill of Patty Griffin and “her driver,” who you might know by another name…Mr. Robert Plant, Griffin’ s recently dubbed husband and now current Austin resident.

Needless to say, the entire experience last night was simply unbelievable…like the karma Gods were truly with me. From the parking spot opening up for me literally right in front of the venue to my friend nabbing the very first two spots in line to get in to the outrageously brilliant live show, itself. WOW.

Last night’s show was the second of two performances dreamt up, organized and put on by Patty, “her driver” and the band, featuring bassist Glenn Fukunaga, drummer Donny Wynn and guitarist David Pulkingham. Both shows, which sold out in mere minutes, benefiting causes close to Patty and Robert’s heart – the first, a benefit for close friend, Michael Fracasso, a fellow musician recently injured and unable to perform and the second, a benefit for the Health Alliance For Austin Musicians, aka HAAM.

To kick off the memorable night, the uber-talented Ms. Griffin came out on stage on her own, performing a few cuts from her new, upcoming album,  along with classics that included “Chief” and “No Bad News.” After about half an hour of greatness, Patty was joined on stage by Mr. Plant and the rest of the band. The gang, who remained incredibly jovial and social with the crowd throughout the night, performed a few other Patty tunes – some well-known hits like “Cold As It Gets” and some new including, “Ohio,” but then busted into the Plant and Zeppelin repertoire  that everyone was waiting for.

With the stellar backing band, Patty and Plant barreled into “In The Mood,” “Thank You,” “What Is and What Should Never Be” and Tim Buckley’s magnificent “Song of the Siren.” Mixing humor and priceless stories, Mr. Plant was nothing short of awesome. Not to disappoint, the night continued with excellent performances of “Going To California,” Band of Joy’s “Angel Dance,” a rousing and amazing version of “Ramble On,” followed by the perfect encore of “Black Dog” to finish.

All in all, a night I will never forget. One of the most amazing live events I’ve witnessed and could ever imagine. The opportunity to catch these two music legends playing together in the intimate and phenomenal setting like the Continental Club was just about more than I can even express. Simply fantastic. Thanks to Patty, Robert, the band, the venue and my new friend, Liz Lyons Atherton, for helping share the healing powers of live music with me last night.

Enjoy the pics. Happy listening, y’all!

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