Thursday, December 01, 2005

Concert Review: Robin Trower, The Junction, Cambridge - 8 November 2005


It was a ‘Fine Day’ and a ‘Fine Night’. After attending gigs on the first leg of the ‘Living Out Of Time’ tour, it was great to see the set list for the second leg had been changed by Robin. This impacted on two levels: Robin, Dave, Pete and Davey appeared revitalised by the new set; and the crowd were noticeably jubilant to be given the opportunity to hear diverse songs from Robin’s extensive back catalogue. No 'Alethea', 'The Fool and Me', 'Take What You Need (From Me)', 'Over You', 'Blue For Soul', 'Living out of time', 'I want to take you with me', 'Back It Up', 'Rock Me Baby' . . . As the saying goes, ‘you can’t have everything'.

From the opening number it was patent the volume level was 10 and rising, as evidenced by the opening chord sequence of "Twice Removed From Yesterday". It was great to see this song performed live and with such power. The acoustics of the venue were problematic; causing reverberation difficulties not helpful to the band, or audience. The band really took off during the next song "Hannah" (the sound more evenly balanced) Robin playing in his usual passionate and emotional manner, supported by Dave’s strong bass lines, great drumming from Pete, and incredible vocals from Davey.

Following "Roads to Freedom" the opening chord of "Fine Day" took the concert to a new level. It has got to be one of the best songs Robin has written; the heavier sound and rhythm ‘live’ transcends the recorded version which I feel is on the softer side. Robin’s guitar playing reached new heights of emotion and soulfulness during the lead breaks in this song. I felt exhausted when it finished! A true gem.

I was surprised how good "Victims of the Fury" sounded; a great version – stronger rhythm, emotion and Robin using the wah pedal to great affect during the chorus and leads. Next was "Too Rolling Stoned" and the band was really in sync. Robin using his arsenal of techniques to great affect: string bends, use of feedback and tremolo arm, arpeggios, long sustained notes - which have to be seen and heard ‘live’ to be believed.

Other ‘highlights’ were "Another Time Another Place" showing Davey’s vocal prowess at its finest, with Robin’s guitar fill-ins enhancing the mood of the song; and a scorching version of "Little Bit of Sympathy".

The band left the stage to thunderous applause and shouts for ‘more’ from numerous hoarse voices in the crowd including myself, my brother, John K., John Waters and Martin Hughes. The encores included "Lady Love" and "Daydream". I must confess the version of "Daydream" was, for myself and my brother, the superlative song on the night on account of Robin’s guitar playing (at times amazing and truly emotional), the outstanding sound and bass playing of Dave, the pure drumming dexterity of Pete, augmented by Davey’s superb vocals. Spellbinding.

Robin & Ronnie post gig

Finally, it was great meeting up with John and Martin at the concert, and for drinks and conversation back at the hotel with Pete Thompson and Dave Bronze. Great night. Don’t forget the ‘WASP’ joke. Thanks to Robin, Dave, Pete and Davey for being so understanding in the presence of over zealous fans, and listening to our ‘ramblings’ with straight faces. Also, Laurie Brace and Steve Russell for their thoughtfulness and overall contribution to the sound at the gig.

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