ROBERT PLANT VISITS DENVER, BRINGS BAND TO ROCKMOUNT
By Steve Weil
The day was over as I drove home from work. The phone rang, and Heidi said: "Can you come back to Rockmount? Robert Plant is in the store!"
I spun the car around. Its not everyday that LED ZEPPELIN is in the building!
No mistaking the smiling man with the lion's mane. His first words were: "I am so excited to be in here!"
That made it easy for us mere mortals to walk over and introduce ourselves.
He tried on several shirts and a leather jacket, and took them to the counter. We talked about history and literature. His prose and manner were amusing, without pretense, and refreshing. This man is a gentleman.
He said he had been coming to Denver for over 40 years, adding that the city has come a long way. Then he said he played here on December 26, 1968. Incredulous, I asked how he could remember the date. He said, "because it was my opening concert on my first US tour." Heidi mentioned she was 13 years old and went to the concert. (Led Zeppelin started the tour as the opening act for Vanilla Fudge & Iron Butterfly, but according to Jimmy Page, by the time they reached San Francisco, they had eclipsed the headline acts.)
He kindly invited us to the concert at the Fillmore, which was mind blowing.
When we met again the next day, Robert mentioned he had studied to become a chartered accountant. At the concert later, he mentioned he had figured out it had been 16,718 days since the first time he played Denver. He brought the band with him and was like the friend you take shopping to give advice. He helped pick hat #1842 for Juldeh Camara (who plays a West African lute, the kologo), and a charcoal wool flannel shirt for Justin Adams (on guitar), among others. He paid close attention to all the details, enjoyed some banter. Later it occurred to me he really is a numbers man.
At the after-party, I talked to two band members who live in Bristol, England, where I went to college. John Baggot is from Bristol and wore vintage Rockmount black shirt No. 640 while playing keyboard. (Later he picked up a new black leather shirt, among others.) During the party Robert asked me what time we open Sunday. I replied "whatever time you need." All said, he visited three times. It won't be the same tomorrow.
It's a rare moment to meet someone famous and successful, particularly a rock star, who remains, friendly, gracious and grounded.