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Concert Review: Robin Trower in San Diego

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I have been a Robin Trower fan for many years. From the time I was about eight years old, I was listening to Bridge of Sighs and all subsequent albums my older sister picked up. By the time I was in high school, I was bumming albums from friends or exchanging albums with them. Whatever worked. My friends and I were [mostly] teenagers (we always had present a contingent much older than we were, though), we were partying, and Trower's music was perfect for the after-midnight activities we got into. We'd be out in the boonies or at the beach, cars circled around, the occasional bonfire flickering and flaring, and there would be lots of great music, Trower included.

So how was it I'd never seen him in concert until I hit 40? Time, money, opportunity… whatever. The fact is, it just didn't happen. Until July 24, 2006. And there I was, front and center for most of the show.

In a way, I'm glad I hadn't seen Robin Trower until now. At 61, he's comfortable being himself, playing for the fun of it, and enjoying what he's doing. He has nothing to prove to the masses anymore. He's made a name for himself and he's earned the respect of many, serving as inspiration to far more guitarists than most of his peers. And you know what? He can still make your heart pound, feet move, hips sway, head bob, and bring tears to your eyes as he performs "Spellbound."

That's what I was, spellbound. Robin Trower had the entire crowd right where he wanted us, hanging on to each and every note.

The one word that keeps coming to mind when I think of this particular show is "Wow!"

After, I was talking with friends, some of whom I know through Blues Lovers, and some new friends I'd made right on the spot. One of them had opened for Trower a few times in the past. Pretty cool. Then someone mentioned how other friends thought Trower was too "rock and roll" and not at all blues. Wha-a-a-a?? Robin has some of the deepest British blues I've ever heard. Haven't they listened to "Go My Way" or "Too Rolling Stoned"? No matter. Those of us gathered shook our heads at the sheer ignorance of the under-educated and then nodded as we thought about the music we'd just heard. It was, quite simply, the best of British blues.

Davey Pattison (vocals), Dave Bronze (bass), and Pete Thompson (drums) were absolutely perfect. They were all obviously having a good time, not just because they were sharing the stage with Robin, but really having fun because it's what they love doing. Again, "Wow!"

You can bet I won't hesitate to see him again. Not on your life.

Robin Trower

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About Joan Hunt

  • SFC SKI

    Some of the best players form the ’70’s are still out touring in small venues, and definitely worth seeing. Thanks for the review, I wish I weren’t so far off the tour circuit right now. Can democracy take root in a land without rock and roll?

  • Martin

    Right on! Bridge of Sighs is Trower’s greatest work and one of the most powerful records in rock history. I’ve played it over and over for thirty years and it sounds just as fresh as ever today. Moody, powerful, expertly-played rock supported by some of the greatest vocals (Jim Dewar, R.I.P) ever recorded. Just as intense in the slower moments (Bridge of Sighs, About to Begin) as in the sledgehammer guitar attacks (Day of the Eagle, Lady Love), Trower displays utter mastery and control over his effects-laden instrument while unleashing a stunning set of songs. The comparisons to Hendrix are common; this is probably because no guitar player other than Hendrix ever made a noise as big and expressive as what can be heard here. If you are a fan of hard rock with depth and power, Bridge of Sighs must be a cornerstone of your collection and should resonate in your soul forever. “Trower Live” (1975) is equally awesome which features the stunning “Daydream” (referred to in the above review as “Spellbound”, a recurring lyric in the song).

  • http://www.psychedelicmooj.com/audio.html Psychedelic Mooj

    Robin Trower is a true inspiration to many guitarist, including myself. My band, Psychedelic Mooj, was very fortunate to open his show in Tempe, AZ on 09/24/2006. Thank you Robin! We will never forget the gig.

  • Hogue Daddy

    Been about Robin Trower for many many years and at 59 still listening to him make me wonder what Jimi Hendricks would have evolved into. Surely the cleanest expression of true guitar mastery, Robin should be a mandatory listen for anyone contemplating picking up even their very first axe.
    We need more rather than less of this devotee of the fine art of making people feel your pain.