Artist: Robin Trower
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Jamie McClean Band
Label: V-12 Records
The name of Robin Trower is not a secretly whispered one for those followers of the six-string legends of music and this particular performer has been doing his thing since the late sixties as an original founding member of the band Procol Harum. I’m sure you know the name offhand as the song “Whiter Shade Of Pale” has been covered by a number of bands over the years and is a part of most people’s Rock and Roll psyche. I will admit that I am a casual fan at best and could not cite many of his compositions but that is where I let my friends be the music educators and ensure that I am properly schooled in his mastery. Trower has played at the legendary Times Square venue a number of times and tonight would be the first time that I got to enjoy him live and in close quarters. Since this was going to be my first time, I had to say that I was very excited. For those who might be unfamiliar with the venue, and shame on you if this is still the case after ten years, this show was a seated one and that meant if you didn’t get a ticket early that you were very likely to be turned away at the door. Looking around it was easy to see that this was an older crowd of supporters who had clearly been fans of the man’s work for decades. That is always nice to observe. Opening the show would be the Jamie McClean band that played a healthy dose of traditional Blues and while we did not arrive early enough to see them begin, we managed to catch the last three numbers. It was enough to get an idea about them and they were rather good. Perhaps I will see them again and maybe they will even offer up a set over at the Lucille’s restaurant space which is located right next to B.B.’s main venue. Did you know that this space offers its patrons free music every night? I only wish I had the kind of life that let me just absorb that and dine out again and again but alas I do not. So where was I? Oh yes, the Trower gig.
Robin’s latest album is entitled “The Playful Heart” and it is a solid representation of his Blues aesthetic. I did some sampling of this on his official page and had to say that I enjoyed what I heard. Perhaps I can find a way to work a review of this into the main site as after all we were slowly adding the complete Rory Gallagher catalog to our narratives. One of the strongest tunes on the new release is “The Turning” and it was a surprise to find that this and only “Not Inside” would be presented from the recording. I guess that with a back repertoire like Trower’s that it is hard to compile a set that pleases everyone, but if you were one of those fans that appreciates a cornucopia of tunes that spans a number of releases then you would be a happy camper. Fans would find it interesting to learn that Trower called upon the talents of his live band to help record the latest album and that means that we would get singer Davey Pattison, drummer Pete Thompson, and bassist Glenn Letsch on point to make sure this was an exciting piece of music. I like that myself actually as one’s live band gets to bring a lot to the table sometimes and by their helping record the release there is that much more a chance for the band to be in sync with what Mr. Trower is delivering. Robin didn’t really spend a lot of time talking to the crowd and instead kept the banter to brief thank yous and hellos to NYC while all the time letting his guitar do the talking. Favorites like “Shame The Devil” were performed to excellence as was the big “hit” from his solo career of “Too Rolling Stoned”. Each of these tunes came much later in the set and being the novice of his catalogue I could not easily define where the heaviest focus was being laid. With note after note the man was really doing justice on the guitar. Saying this as a former drummer is always fun because friends wonder if I know what I am even talking about. Suffice it to say I was really breathing this in and even caught Cactus front man Jimmy Kunes milling about and chit chatting with supporters of his own work tonight. I hope that they come around soon as well since one can never enjoy too much Carmine Appice.
As the show closed out with its thirteen numbers you could sense that some people in the audience were a little disappointed at their not being any more to enjoy but let’s face it, these guys are not kids anymore and touring does take a lot out of a person. I was reminded a little of when Paul Rodgers played what amounted to a short set but in the end, thirteen songs is much better than nine or ten which some people actually deliver in concert thanks to extended jams. We had some jamming this evening but none of it seemed to sacrifice any of the tunes. I did find it a little surprising that there was no official meet and greet being held with the artist and that clearly seemed to bum out the folks who had brought LP’s and photographs from back in the day. This stuff does not always happen I am afraid but with a show that ends on the early side you cannot fault the people that think one is happening.
If Trower comes back around again I say get to the show because he is an education in the finer art of Blues Rock playing and one that you will not regret shelling out the money for. This would be a fun preamble to my attendance to the Gretsch Day that was happening in my area on Saturday. Yes I know Trower does NOT play a Gretsch, I was just thinking aloud. I do that sometimes.
1. Confessin’ Midnight
2. Lady Love
3. Somebody Calling
4. For Earth Below
5. Twice Removed
6. Day Of The Eagle
7. Bridge Of Sighs
8. Shame The Devil
9. The Turning
10. Too Rolling Stoned
11. Little Bit Of Sympathy
12. Rise Up Like The Sun
13. Not Inside – Outside
The show, like many of this kind of event, was being held at the venerated Times Square concert venue, B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, so as is my usual practice – a photograph of the venue marquee was snapped for good measure. I really love the sight of the artist name in the bright lights.
Even though they had been using some really nice posters for awhile, it was only over the course of the last year or so’s shows that I began including those images in my visual presentation for the readers online. Many people are collecting these posters and its a call back to the time when the Fillmore East and West used to have posters being coveted. Here is the one for this evenings show.
And one from a little bit of a closer vantage point. My eyes are starting to fade at distance stuff so I did this for others and me 🙂
This time around there was no real backstage scenes to speak of as Robin was getting ready in the dressing room and not hanging around with fans or media as we sometimes find happening at these NYC shows. That’s okay, he will let the guitar do all the talking for him soon enough.
The venue was packed tonight and of course was a seated show which made for some congestion if you liked to check out the sound from various parts of the room like I do. I ended up off to the side stage where Robin was positioned and used the ever trusty Panasonic Lumix to snare a couple of videos. I apologize for any shakes in the image, I had people passing by me and bumping into me a few times. Such is the price of Rock & Roll media presentation. Here is Robin doing “Shame The Devil”
I also shot one of Robin’s most popular tunes “Too Rolling Stoned” and we get some really tasty lead guitar work in this one. Talk about a song breathing its soul out to you.
I was really happy to get to see such a musician doing his thing and cannot stress enough that you all should do the same. You’ll be a happier person as result.
Official Website: http://www.trowerpower.com