Boogie with Percy

It’s a day of unusual bills.  Nineteen years ago today, having discovered that our preferred Portland date would put us in competition with a bigtime local act, we opt instead to open for Everclear (the Dandy Warhols play first), and the less said about that, the better.  In 2006, we participated in a benefit for the ailing Arthur Lee at the Beacon Theater, headlined by Robert Plant, and also including Ryan Adams, Ian Hunter, Nils Lofgren, and Garland Jeffreys.  Where to begin?  There were lots of empty seats, which was weird because you had to figure that Robert Plant on his own could sell the room out easily, but apparently no amount of pre-show publicity could convey that he was playing a full set–and what a set!  Love’s Johnny Echols sat in with him on some (if not all, the memory’s a bit hazy) of the five Love songs Plant included; his lead guitar on “A House Is Not a Motel” was especially spine-tingling.  There were also a bunch of Led Zeppelin songs and a duet with Ian Hunter on “When Will I Be Loved.”  If I’m reading your mind correctly, you’re thinking “Wow, Robert Plant must’ve played a lot of tambourine that night.”  And you’re half right–he would have, had he remembered to bring one.  Instead he was forced to borrow Georgia’s.  At the end of the evening (and it was a long evening that came after a long afternoon), the tambourine was nowhere to be found on stage.  It took some doing but Georgia was finally granted an audience with Robert Plant, who in her telling was clad only in a towel, having (presumably)  just emerged from the shower.   He had brought the tambourine with him, for safekeeping, he claimed, though you’ll never convince me he wasn’t hoping to go back to England with a souvenir of the night he played with Yo La Tengo.  Our five-song set began with Love’s “A Message to Pretty,” included “Luci Baines” (recorded by Lee and Echols in their days as the American Four, and concluded with us backing Johnny Echols singing “Signed D.C.