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Spring 2015 UK Tour Gig Reviews: With thanks to all contributors ...

 

Photo by John Waters at Salisbury 16 Apr

2015 UK Tour: The City Hall, Salisbury 16 April 2015 by John Waters

It was pure bliss – 100% heaven! A great venue with excellent acoustics. ‘Daydream’ so moving and ‘Too Rolling Stoned’ was something else. ‘For Earth Below’ out of this world! A much deserved standing ovation for the Robin Trower Band. A most memorable gig, for sure!

 

2015 UK Tour: The Corn Exchange, Exeter 15 April 2015 by Jim Pearce

Robin never ceases to amaze. My son, Sam and I made the trip up the M5 and weren’t disappointed. Joanne opened the show with a strong set but the atmosphere went up a notch as soon as Robin and the boys took to the stage. The Corn Exchange has a wonderful sound dynamic and the sound filled every corner.

Robin played a powerful set of classics and a couple of newer numbers. I sat mesmerised at the sheer beauty and power of some absolutely wonderful guitar work. That tone and control … incredible.

Having heard these songs on a number of occasions before, I am amazed how they take on a different dimension, each time. A fantastic evening, yet another classic that will remain in the memory for a long time. And last, but by no means least, Richard and Chris deserve special mention for keeping a tight, punchy rhythm section. Roll on the next show! We can’t wait! Review by Jim Pearce.

 

Photo by Ray Cordell Crawley 14 Apr

2015 UK Tour: The Hawth, Crawley 14 April 2015

Wow! We must have the best seats in the house. We’re sitting right next to Laurie’s sound desk. Perched high up on the top row of the rear stalls at the splendid, fully-seated Hawth theatre, we’ve got a cracking view of the stage.

Joanne is sounding a little croaky as she belts out her set highlight song. It makes for an even more compelling and passionate ‘Jealousy’ tonight, the Frankie Miller classic (from the ‘Standing on the Edge’ album) like you’ve never heard it before!

Then it’s the moment us new town punters have been waiting for. Fade those house lights, cue walk-on music … the hypnotic sound of ‘Wish You Were Mine’ (from the ‘What Lies Beneath’ album), a veritable Pied Piper of a tune, if ever there was one!

The last show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, a few days earlier, is being talked about as probably the best of the tour so far. Will Robin and the band take it on up from there, tonight?

Okay so the band have had a few days off but not everything is going according to plan today. A fire on the motorway en route to the venue means not everyone can be where they want to be, when they want to (us included). Definitely a case of circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

You simply wouldn’t know it. It makes no difference. What a show! The longer Robin, Chris and Richard play, the stronger, more confident and inspired their playing becomes. It’s a truly exceptional performance. Trowerpower like I’ve not seen or heard, this time round.

‘Somebody Calling’ is one of Robin Trower’s top tunes. It’s the perfect opening number and really settles the band down with its eloquent instrumental overture. Richard’s vocals are crystal clear. He sings with great passion and there’s a really gruff quality to his voice which is just spot on for this and all the other Trower classics.

Rapturous applause from the audience at the start of ‘Daydream’ with Robin playing some really soulful lines in the sweet, albeit fairly short, outro section. Robin’s playing on ‘See My Life’, ‘Something’s About To Change’ and ‘The Turning’ is deep, dazzling and intense.

Once we get into, what I call, the home strait, Chris’ drumming becomes even more animated. His particular kick-ass approach to ‘Day of the Eagle’ really pushes the number onto another level. It’s as though he’s taking out his frustrations on that big kit of his. What’s more, Chris uses every skin, every cymbal, real crisp drumming. Tonight’s game changers are his fast fills and drum rolls. It’s the best he’s played IMHO, an absolute blinder of a set.

Finally, I’d just like to say a BIG thank you to Laurie and the crew. The sound was absolutely fantastic tonight, the most perfect mix!

America – Robin Trower is back and better than ever! What’s more this is a cracking set! If it stays this way in Tulsa and beyond, you will be truly blessed.

Set List: Somebody Calling | Rise Up Like The Sun | See My Life | Daydream | Lady Love | Something’s About To Change | Day Of The Eagle | Bridge Of Sighs | Confessin’ Midnight | The Turning | Not Outside – Inside | A Little Bit Of Sympathy. Encores: Too Rolling Stoned | For Earth Below. Review by Alan Howard. Photo by Ray Cordell.

 

Photo by John Waters SBE 11 Apr A

2015 UK Tour: Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London 11 April 2015 by John Waters

From the feedback so far, the tour has been very well received with sell out dates. Tonight, was no exception. The Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a fantastic venue and I like the acoustics here – it has a reasonable PA that suits my age!

Indeed it’s at the other end of the spectrum from when I saw Robin at one of London’s other Empires (Wembley Empire Pool). That was 1976, stadium rock at its finest with banks of Marshall amps and cabs all going through a zillion watt custom PA and the loudest concert I have ever been to. I could feel my ears splitting with sonic overload and a pain on my chest, so heavy it was hard to breathe (seriously). It didn’t put me off though (that’s what we did then) and I have remained an avid fan for 40 odd years. 

These days Robin has mellowed in the wattage department and, tonight, looked like he was using just 1x100W and 1x 50W Marshall, which seems low in comparison to 1976. He can still produce that signature sound and tone that most people can only ever dream about.

Robin is Robin. He is unique and has produced some of the best and most identifiable music that has stood the test of time. He is certainly one of the best live guitar players ever to have graced this planet and it showed tonight.

After Joanne Shaw Taylors’ cracking 45-minute warm up (red hot actually), a short interlude and much anticipation, the Robin Trower Band entered the stage at 9.15pm. Robin was handed his white custom Stratocaster. For me, there is something special about your guitar hero wielding a white maple neck strat. It sets the scene nicely. Proceedings then got off to a great start with ‘Somebody Calling’.  This track is such a grand opener, the guitar sound so evocative.

The band rocked through the set list and you could see Robin was in his element. Much credit must go to Richard Watts (bass & vocals) and Chris Taggart (drums) who laid down the groove for each track impeccably. As a rhythm section, they confidently provided a framework from which Robin could shine. They were tight but flexible enough to be accommodating. Richard Watts has such an assured and confident approach to singing and playing. It’s hard to believe that he only took up the bass at Robin’s request.

Robin played his heart out tonight with some of the most mesmerizing and fluid guitar work in the universe. A brilliant set list with something for everyone, I would say. ‘Little Bit of Sympathy’ was a stunner (I could see rows and rows of heads all banging ‘gently’ in time to the beat). ‘Daydream’ was out of this world. There were too many highlights to list but if I had to choose it would be ‘Something’s About to Change’, ‘Bridge of Sighs’ and ‘The Turning’.

An unforgettable gig tonight (ably supported by Joanne Shaw Taylor. I might add):  Shame it had to end. I could have happily continued listening into the early hours of the morning. Where Robin gets the energy from, I’ll never know but be sure the white strat man delivered the goods to London tonight.  5/5 rating!

Set List: Somebody Calling, Rise Up Like the Sun, See My Life, Daydream, Lady Love, Something’s About to Change, Day of The Eagle, Bridge of Sighs, Confessin’ Midnight, The Turning, Not Inside Outside, Little Bit of Sympathy. Encores: Too Rolling Stoned, For Earth Below. Review and photos by John Waters.

 

2015 UK Tour: The Barbican, York 8 April 2015 by Dan Allen

Robin Trower’s latest album is entitled ‘Something’s About To Change’ but fans knew what they would get from the veteran blues guitarist who has carved out a distinctive sound in a career spanning decades ... More … Review by Dan Allen.

 

Photo by Christopher Taggart - the bat cave

2015 UK Tour: The Arches, Glasgow 4 April 2015 by Ray Martin

My third trip to Glasgow to see Robin. I think it's about time he returned the favour and came over to play Belfast! I arrived in plenty of time to take in the delights of this wonderful city. Having bought the obligatory present for my daughter I decided to stop in one of the local pubs.

I found this little place with some loud music emitting from within. This will do I thought. Do you know, I can't even tell you the name of it but there was this rock combo bashing out some ac/dc and Thin Lizzy covers. Enough to set the ears drumming and the heart race a little faster - or was that the vodka and Irn Bru? :)

I was staying in a hotel just 100 yards from The Arches. It was a kip but I wasn't intent in staying too long there anyway. About 6.30 I began the long trek to The Gig...... I passed one pub "The Waterloo" and then thought. "How rude, Ray, at least have a pint." Abba, Dancing Queen was playing in the background. Finish this pint and go quickly I thought.

I was early for doors opening at 7pm so I proceeded into The Arches cafe. I spotted a few other ‘Something's About to Change’ T- shirted guys and joined their company for a few sups. We went into the gig about 7.15 and at dead on 7.30 Joanne Shaw Taylor took to the stage.

Joanne did not disappoint one bit with her set. Her take on heavy blues rock is superb. She sounds like an early Maggie Bell or Janis Joplin. And boy, can she play that Les Paul! The place was now humming with anticipation for the main act.

Bam!!!! Robin opened with a favourite of mine ‘Somebody Calling’ from the ‘In City Dreams’ album. The Arches, I believe, is a little small for Robin and the place was jam packed from door to stage. But I suppose that made the atmosphere even more electric.

The last time I heard Richard singing live with RTB was 2011 (in Glasgow again) and before that, I was at Janus Landing, Florida. I think his voice suits Robin's music perfectly and he has matured as a musician tremendously. (Can't say I didn't miss Jimmy or Davey though, especially in this city!)

Robin played ‘Something's About To Change’, the title track from the new album and I think this will remain in the set for some time to come. Awesome!

Then he did it. Those first five notes of ‘Daydream’ and I am off to another planet. Tears streaming down my face like a child who has just found out the truth about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy all at the same time.

I make no excuse for the tears. ‘Daydream’ has always had the same effect on me. The guitar, the tone, the vocals, the emotion. Just the whole bloody song, it kills me every time. However the last time I was hit so blatantly hard to the gut was Janus landing gig. Was that really 2001? Wow! Thanks to Steve Shail’s site and the liveshowhistory page. Handy reference.

All in, it goes down as another unforgettable Robin Trower experience. Fantastic! Only one downside. No meet and greet after the show. :( But I'll be back … Review by Ray Martin. B&W ‘Bat Cave’ photo by Christopher Taggart.

 

2015 UK Tour: The Arches, Glasgow 4 April 2015 by David Dalziel

I went along to see Robin at The Arches with some friends (who strangely enough went down to Fleetwood in 2005 to see Robin as we figured he may never play in Glasgow!)

This was the second time we had seen this line up-having seen them at the ABC a while back. The vocals are very good particularly on For Earth Below .It’s difficult for me to comment on Robin’s playing and the amazing sound he creates. The volume and tone and style he plays with is to me beyond comparison .

There is nobody out there playing this type of music so powerfully, yet with complete control of the volume and feedback. I just hope he and this band continue to tour in the UK .Great night and thanks to all! All the very best, David Dalziel.

 

Martin Patterson reporting from The Arches Glasgow for The Moshville Times

2015 UK Tour: The Arches, Glasgow 4 April 2015 by Martin Patterson

There’s something magical about seeing someone live for the first time that you’ve only ever seen in interviews, live footage etc…. After the short intro music Robin walks onto the stage and it’s obvious, from the crowd’s reaction, that the main event has arrived … More … Review by Martin Patterson.

 

Photo by Robert Wilson at The Sage Gateshead 3 Apr 2015

2015 UK Tour: The Sage, Gateshead 3 April 2015 photos by Robert Wilson

Some great photos of Robin and the band. Many thanks Robert!

 

Photo and review by Mick Burgess at The Sage Gateshead

2015 UK Tour: The Sage, Gateshead 3 April 2015 by Mick Burgess

Often tagged as the British Hendrix somewhat lazily by the music press, he takes the blueprint laid down by Hendrix, yet heads into a myriad of different directions in a way that makes it uniquely his own. When you hear him play you just know that it is Trower and no one else ... More … Review and photo by Mick Burgess.

 

Fantastic website ... a must for music fans

2015 UK Tour: The Live Rooms, Chester 2 April 2015 by Grahame Rhodes

Another sell-out at The Live Rooms in Chester saw British guitar legend Robin Trower -  who turned 70 last week -“ roll back the years in the company of his young rhythm section - with a dazzling 100-minutes of his amazing guitar prowess, as the heady ‘Bridge Of Sighs’ era was relived in fine style ... More

 

2015 UK Tour: The Lowry, Salford Quays 29 March by Nick Bishop

I am a big Procol Harum fan and have seen them maturing gracefully for 40 odd years. Indeed, I saw them in London last November. I kept a keen interest in Robin post-Procol and saw him two nights running at the Free Trade Hall (Manchester) in circa 1975. I always pop along to see him when he is in town and have many of his albums, now CD’s!

Last Sunday, I was mesmerised. To have such passion and energy for a man of 70. The set was short (65 minutes and a 12-minute encore) but the tempo never ceased. A sell-out 450-seater. This suits Robin’s style better. He connects so well with the audience both emotionally but literally, smiling between numbers and genuinely loving the whole evening.

The classic 70’s rockier numbers suit me better and I can’t think of many better exponents, such great guitar work on the slower numbers too! I may go to Sheffield if still tickets. Classic artist, but when will he retire? Review by Nick Bishop.

 

2015 UK Tour: The Town Hall, Birmingham 28 March by Steven Meek

I saw Robin in Birmingham on the ‘Victims’ tour in 1980. I arranged a mini bus with about 12 sixth-formers on board. 35 years on, it’s just me! Good to see RT tickets have sold really well. Enjoyed tonight’s Birmingham gig. Robin is playing as good as ever.

Would have liked to have seen some changes to the set list, not much change from the last UK and US tours. Robin has a huge catalogue of great songs that could be used although it goes without saying that you couldn't drop the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ classics. Shame only one song off the new CD. The album is really good. The current line up I really like too. Review by Steven Meek.

 

2015 UK Tour: The Town Hall, Birmingham 28 March by Karen Wilson

Photo by Karen Wilson taken in Birmingham on 28 March 2015

It was wonderful! Front row seat and my ticket signed afterwards! Best number of the night? Hard to choose. ‘For Earth Below’ was great and ‘See My Life’ was good too. But as ever, ‘Bridge of Sighs’ was so hypnotic it took me to another place. I really enjoyed ‘Confessin' Midnight’ and ‘The Turning’. Which did you like best? Feedback and photo from Karen Wilson.

 

2015 UK Tour: The Apex, Bury St Edmunds 27 March

Robin shifts things up a gear in Suffolk

Bill and Colin are not going to let me forget I totally failed to accompany them to see Robin play Hammersmith in October 1976 on the grounds I was too busy for Trower, courting my beloved and better half, the long-suffering Mrs H! As Bill and Colin remind me yet again, I missed Rustee Allen, Racing Cars, Caledonia and lots more besides that night and don’t I just know it!

Bill has been a local resident of Bury St Edmunds these last 15 years but it’s his first Trower show since Hammersmith. Colin caught Robin with me in 2010 so it’ll be interesting to get his take on Robin’s new set-up.

The Apex is an intimate, high-quality ‘every town should really have one’ arts venue located in the heart of the City centre’s impressive arc retail and leisure destination. The house is heaving tonight so it’s great to have the opportunity to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ to Alan Robinson, Laurie Brace and Al (on the merch table - BTW these latest SATC tour tees are even better than the ‘Playful’ ones)!

It’s another stunning support set from Joanne Shaw Taylor backed by the excellent Oliver Perry on drums and Tom Godlington on bass. Then it’s down to business with Robin. Chris doesn’t seem totally happy with the bottom end subs situation tonight, briefly vacating his drum stool to hug a speaker in between numbers. Thankfully, the audience is blissfully unaware of any technical glitches. Fact is, this band is on fire tonight.

Have to say, I’m taken aback! ‘Something’s About To Change’ is tonight’s stand-out track by some margin with its heavy heavy, pulsating vibe, great vocals and wild, inspired lead guitar from Robin. Richard and Chris are clearly having a ball backing Robin on this tour, their playing, understanding and touch, like that of their leader – a joy to behold. Suffice to say, Bill and Colin absolutely loved it!

Robin and the band were on top form tonight, cranking it up a notch or three, really stepping up from their performance 24 hours earlier in Lincoln. Thank you Robin, Chris, Richard, Alan, Laurie and Al! We hope to see you again sometime!

Set List: Somebody Calling | Rise Up Like The Sun | See My Life | Daydream | Lady Love | Something’s About To Change | Day Of The Eagle | Bridge Of Sighs | Confessin’ Midnight | The Turning | Not Outside – Inside | A Little Bit Of Sympathy. Encores: Too Rolling Stoned | For Earth Below. Review and photo by Alan Howard.

 

2015 UK Tour: The Engine Shed, Lincoln 26 March

It's opening night in Lincoln

The walk up to the top of Lincoln’s Steep Hill may take your breath away but the magnificent fourteenth Century Cathedral with its striking English Gothic architecture, which awaits you, is well worth the climb. Back at ground level, the Engine Shed is a gem of a venue nestling amongst the University’s striking buildings and inspired modern architecture on the City’s waterfront.

Inside Joanne Shaw Taylor and her band are opening for the Trower band tonight, the first in a series of 17 UK shows over the Easter period and beyond. Showcasing songs from her blistering new album ‘The Dirty Truth’, the highlight for me is ‘Tried Tested And True’. If Joanne had a switch on her amp for ‘soulfulness’, it would be stuck on ‘11’. The dark and moody blues of ‘Jealousy’ from Joanne’s 2012 album ‘Almost Always Never’ album shines brightly tonight too. Great set! We love it!

It’s been a while. Last UK Trower show in the UK? I’m thinking October 2011 in Cornwall? The wait is over! Fantastic how ‘Somebody Calling’ has become such an assured and perfect opener for Robin and the band!

Two great albums have filled the void of UK touring and they’re admirably represented at tonight’s show with Robin himself stepping up to the mike for ‘See My Life’ (Roots and Branches - 2013) and ‘Something’s About To Change’ (the title track of the brand new album). Bravo!

I’m loving ‘Confessin’ Midnight’ tonight. Some magical phrasing from Robin, crisp drumming from Chris and a real swagger in the vocal from Richard (not an easy song to sing). Great great set! We love it even more!

Well done guys! Wonderful first night. Wow! I am out of breath for the second time tonight. 

Set List: Somebody Calling | Rise Up Like The Sun | See My Life | Daydream | Lady Love | Something’s About To Change | Day Of The Eagle | Bridge Of Sighs | Confessin’ Midnight | The Turning | Not Outside – Inside | A Little Bit Of Sympathy. Encores: Too Rolling Stoned | For Earth Below.  Review and photo by Alan Howard.

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