He went to the land of the ice and snow, and under the midday sun let the hot track flow. For the first time since 1996, Robert Plant performed Led Zeppelin’s classic “Immigrant Song” during a recent concert in Iceland, the very country that inspired the song.
While Plant has often rearranged Zeppelin cuts during his solo sets and concerts alongside the Sensational Space Shifters, he hadn’t sung “Immigrant Song” since 1996 while he was on the road with Jimmy Page. That finally changed that last week during his set at Reykjavik’s Secret Solstice festival. The choice to dust off the number was an ode to Iceland itself inspiring the song. Plant and Page wrote the track after Led Zeppelin first toured Iceland in 1970. In the 2009 documentary Led Zeppelin Dazed and Confused, Plant is quoted as saying (via Blabbermouth),
“We were invited to play a concert in Reykjavik and the day before we arrived all the civil servants went on strike and the gig was going to be canceled. The university prepared a concert hall for us and it was phenomenal. The response from the kids was remarkable and we had a great time. ‘Immigrant Song’ was about that trip and it was the opening track on the album that was intended to be incredibly different.”
As Plant tears into the trimmed down version of the Led Zeppelin III single, you can hear why he’s maybe stayed away from it lately. The 70-year-old can’t quite get the high notes on the wailing “ah-ah ah”s, and lacks his past sturdiness on the verses. He nails that falsetto on the bridge, though, and even if it wasn’t a peak performance, hearing Robert Plant belt out “Immigrant Song” nearly 50 years after it was originally released is still damn epic.
“Thank you culture, way back, for the inspiration,” Plant said to the Icelandic audience after finishing the short rendition.