Watch Robert Plant Revives ‘Stairway to Heaven’ After 16 Years of Not Playing It Live
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Legendary musician Robert Plant graced the stage with a rare performance of Led Zeppelin’s timeless classic, “Stairway to Heaven,” during a charity benefit in Oxfordshire, England on Saturday night. The event was organized by Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor, who is bravely battling stage 4 colon cancer, with all proceeds going to the Cancer Awareness Trust.
Plant’s performance was a musical journey through some of Led Zeppelin’s most cherished tunes, including soulful renditions of “Thank You” and “Black Dog,” along with Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.” However, it was the unexpected revival of “Stairway to Heaven” that stole the spotlight and captured the hearts of the audience. Backed by Taylor and several other talented performers of the night, Plant passionately delivered the 1971 classic, much to the delight of the attendees.
This memorable performance marked a significant moment in Plant’s musical history.
According to Setlist.fm, the last known time Plant performed “Stairway to Heaven” was at Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion, making this recent rendition a truly rare and special occasion.
As the song reached its climax, Taylor, clearly moved by the experience, humorously remarked, “Bet I enjoyed that more than him,” alluding to Plant’s complicated relationship with the track. Plant, in his typical charismatic manner, acknowledged the digital age we live in, knowing that the performance would be seen by many. He dedicated his rendition to Taylor, the Cancer Awareness Trust, and his former band Led Zeppelin, stating, “wherever they are.”
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“Stairway to Heaven” has always been a complex song for Plant.
Despite its status as one of the most beloved rock songs in history, Plant had expressed dissatisfaction with it in the past. He famously admitted his distaste for the song but had a change of heart after witnessing Heart’s moving rendition at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors. In 2019, he praised the song’s construction while remaining critical of his own contributions, describing it as a “beautiful piece” but expressing uncertainty about the lyrics and vocals.
In a recent interview, Plant revealed feeling “estranged” from “Stairway to Heaven,” highlighting his evolution as an artist. Regardless of his personal feelings, Plant’s recent performance breathed new life into the iconic track, reminding us all of the enduring power of music to connect, inspire, and transcend the passage of time.
Watch the performance below: