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The Plan
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April 14th. Two days before tickets for Borgata Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City are going on sale, my better half and I decide to try for it. We always talk about going away for at least a day, but talk is all we do. My beloved works too much and too hard. Taking time off is a problem and other things get in a way. So we both decided Robert Plant and The Strange Sensation would be a good reason to try and go for it. April 16th tickets go on sale, and to my surprise ticketmaster did not let me down! I was amazed, looked like we had good seats too. Called the hotel made reservation for a suite. We need a bathtub, we don't have one so this would be a nice luxury. A little expensive, but my last "vacation" trip was ten years ago. So everything was set, only one thing I was concerned about, the check in time was at 5 PM, kind of wanted to get a bit of rest before the show, but that's ok we'll make do. There were few kinks to work out but I was very excited! Come May, Robert and the band were out and about in New York to promote the new album, they were playing live on a couple of night time chat shows and I must say I was a bit disappointed, there was no Skin. I was aware of different circumstances for his absence but him being back with the band for the tour would be the icing on the cake. One of the interviews, Robert did during this time I particularly liked, Charlie Rose. Now this is an example of a fine journalist. But as always I am getting off the subject. Sorry...

A week before June 19th. we are experiencing a heat wave, I am getting very worried. We have a four legged, furry child who just like her mommy doesn't deal with heat well, and she was never left alone for the whole night, eek. Try to get a baby sitter on such a short notice is very hard. So I worry. Two days before our trip the heat broke YES!
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The Trip
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June 19th. We wake up early, bag was packed and we are on our way. It is a beautiful Sunday morning in New York City. Catch a cab to the Bus Terminal, get the tickets and there is a bus. We didn't have to wait but the bus to my surprise was packed, a very nice gentleman let us have his seat so we can have two seats together. The bus ride was very nice, once you pass all these smelly factories in a Garden State.

We arrive to Atlantic City 2 hours later, to one of the hotels and they give us $50 to play with, that was cool and on the way to catch a cab while trying to find an exit we gamble that money away. Fast and painless!

It was about 7 minute cab ride to the Borgata Hotel. It looked amazing from the outside, but when we walked in, inside was just as grand. First line of the morning, to check in. We wait a while all these bells and whistles sounds come out from the Casino, hmmm amusement park for the biddies. Our turn, we check in and no waiting for the room, it was ready for us. wOOhOO! The concierge gives us our keys to the room on 42nd Floor, (42 is indeed the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything), there is no wait for the elevator, and it has a TV in it, "Finding Nemo" is playing too cool. We proceed down a very long hall, at the end of it a nice private area, we walk into our room. Oh my, this is just something else, when they say floor to ceiling windows,they don't lie.
Atlantic City view from the window. The suite is larger than our whole apartment, it is so comfortable, and just incredibly attractive!

We go downstairs, grab something to eat and a very large beer at the Gypsy bar, look around and locate The Ballroom. Off to gamble a little. Neither one of us are much into it, but little slots never hurt anyone. Got boring really fast, back upstairs to enjoy the view and rest for a bit. It was all so amazing, like a dream, and this is before the show.

It is like time is standing still. Short rest later, back downstairs and back to the slots, boy this was a good idea since I win everything we lost from before and then some! By this time there are a lot more Led Zeppelin, Page-Plant tour t-shirts in the place, and by the time we left the Casino, man oh man. It seems like all of Jersey's Zep community was there. While making our way back upstairs for a minute, it was very difficult to walk through this big crowd.
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Before The Show
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7:30 PM - Speedy elevator downstairs. As we come out, we see Clive (sporting his new beard, very nicely I must add) speaking to the security person at the private entrance, and he seems a touch frantic. Poor guy gets his information and takes off like a bat out of hell. He is spotted by other concert goers, and followed right away. But he is so fast, so fast no one could catch him. It was amusing to watch this tall dude trying to run after him.

Ballroom-2,400 people, sold out. We grab a drink and proceed to our seats. Not bad at all. Oh joy Skin is back with the band, and we are seating on that side. Next to us seating a lovely family of five. It is so cool to see parents bringing
their young kids to the show,I am sure they will always remember this.

8 PM-Opening band, once again "The Soundtrack of Our Lives". They really are fun and their songs are catchy. I feel really bad for them, this crowd didn't not want to see or hear them. Jersey people work hard and they party even harder. By the time TSOOL came out on stage, the audience were half way to the drinking coma while shouting insults at the band. Of course the band probably is used to it, and they are professionals. They finish their seven song set and with the middle finger in the air, they leave the stage. I don't really blame them for that.
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The Show
Part 1

A little after 9 PM (not sure what time exactly), the insence is lit, which is my cue of Robert and Sensation are about enter the stage. The lights go dim, the band takes their places and the hunting sound of drums begin to play. Robert Plant and Clive Deamer Borgata Hotel Atlantic CityTum, Tum-Tum,Tum No Quarter, and I for one like this version very much. The sound of acoustic guitar and back up vocals, just great.

I don't think this venue was meant to be for live performances, it just seem like a meeting hall, so the sound is not the best I've heard in the past, but nonetheless the hair on the back of my neck shiver.

(I can't figure out how they do this night after night in front of all these people.) Robert looks glorious, full of energy and in fine voice with a very stylish beard. At first it was hard to get use to it, but it grew on me. Justin Adams, moving about the stage as independent from his legs, while playing a whole array of instruments. A lot of fun.
Skin, what can I possibly say about my favorite guitar player, he is so incredibly amazing to watch. He seems to be a lot more animated. Maybe this rest he was taking last month energized him even more than before. Clive Deamer and Billy Fuller, are excellent rhythm section. John Baggott completes this ensemble with classical, psychedelic and North African sound. Robert Plant Borgata Hotel Atlantic CityThe lights are a lot to be desired, there were no cameras allowed, but I take it as no SLR-cameras, so I take my little digital which is far from great for shooting in these kind of conditions. In the darkness with no flash (I don't want to blind the band after all) I try to shoot as many shots as I can in hopes few of them come out. This time it isn't working for me at all , the band is in constant motion which is great to watch but not great to try and capture. Even though people are sitting down for some new songs which gives me a very nice view of the whole band. So I shoot some and put the camera away, and now I can really enjoy the show. And what a great show it is! How can they possibly get better? Like This.

                              [ Part 2 ]


The Show
Part 2

[RANT] What the hell is behind this bullshit with cell phones? This young lady behind us is calling up her mother-in-law every time Robert mentions Mississippi, starts screaming into the bloody phone, and to everyone around her. Her voice is extremely squeaky and annoying as hell. She is loud, really loud. Sometime at night I can still hear her voice. (just kidding of course). I do understand she was three sheets to the wind, but shut the hell up![/RANT]

Highlights for me has to be, Shine It All Around, When The Levee Breaks (I really enjoy back up vocals, and Billy's bass taping),Skin and Robert Plant in Borgata Hotel Atlantic City Tin Pan Valley, Mighty Rearranger, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (oh to watch Skin picking them strings with such grace and intricacy), The Enchanter (I especially love the part towards the end when Robert sings "I am Free!",
very magical for that moment makes me forget reality). Also I must mention Robert's harp playing, it is bloody amazing. Robert Plant Borgata Hotel Atlantic CityI love when the band starts to play one of the older tunes, it takes audiences few minutes to get the tune... It almost like, wait for it, wait for it and all of a sudden AH! this is such and such song. The arms go up in the air, people start jumping, dancing out of rythm, singing, some were crying. Also I am pleasantly surprised and happy how well some of the new songs received.

2,400 people sing the last chorus, the band plays their last chords to Whole Lotta Love. It is over. Robert thanks the people and wishes us a good night. Marvelous show, a lot of fun, great musicianship. Thank you Robert and The Strange Sensation!
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After The Show & Beyond
We make our way out, and now you really see different people and generations. Thinking about going out for a drink, but decide against it, way too crowded. So we retire to our room, and order room service. Really good food and really great beer! Must be the price... I sit and watch the night sky of the city and reflecting on this amazing night, it all feels like a dream!
Atlantic City at night.
4AM-I can't sleep, too bad too, this has to be the most comfortable bed and the softest sheets. So I stay in bed and watch the sun rise, as the words "I AM FREE!" keep playing in my head.

In the morning we have our leftover beers and take one more walk around the hotel, and check out! Bus ride is pleasant enough and two hours later, we are back in New York City. Next week two more shows!
[ The Plan ] [ The Trip ] [ Before The Show ] [ The Show ] [ After The Show And Beyond ]

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