Robin Trower - LIVE: Shepherd's Bush Empire, London 2015

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Something's About To Change Tour
April 11 (21:15 - 22:35)
Capacity 2000

Although blues veteran Robin Trower has a brand new album out in the shape of Something's About To Change, and its cover adorned the tour t-shirts, his live activities are more of an anniversary celebration than a regular album tour as he turned 70 years old just a month before the run started.

English hot property Joanne Shaw Taylor, still apparently unable to pronounce hard consonants, provided the high-profile support, drawing a big reception from the capacity all-seated crowd. Her 45-minutes on stage and seven songs seemed brief, but within that she managed to touch upon all four of her albums at least once each, giving the unfamiliar a good taste of her material. The tour is likely to be a success for her if the crowd response here was anything to go by.

But as good as that response was, it was half-hearted compared to what greeted Robin Trower when he strolled onto the stage with a beaming smile across his face. What followed for the next 80 minutes was a veritable masterclass in blues guitar. Trower is the kind of player who can be classed alongside the established greats as one of those capable of getting the purest tone from an electric guitar.

Sensibly leaving the majority of the vocals to the much more capable Richard Watts on bass, only taking lead for the heavier See My Life from 2013's Roots And Branches, and Something's About To Change, - strangely the only song to come from the new disc - his focus, and therefore the audiences, was almost entirely on note-perfect-even-when-improvised guitar playing, and the wilder solos sent his fans into hysteria without exception.

With a setlist drawing heavily from 1974's Bridge of Sighs, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, Robin and his band were able to pack in so many crowd-favourites just from that album there was barely room for any from other discs. While that meant the set held no surprises, it did make for a consistently high standard of material, which every fan in the room lapped up.

Trower is not a flashy guitar player, but plays in a way that is riveting to watch, and with probably his most coherent band line-up for decades, seeing him live is nothing short of a joy.

“ a veritable masterclass in blues guitar ”

Joanne Shaw Taylor setlist: Mud Honey / Just Another Word / Watch 'em Burn / Jealousy / Jump That Train / Tried, Tested & True / Tied & Bound

Robin Trower setlist: 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 // Too Rolling Stoned / For Earth Below

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2015, Blues, Gigs,

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