Every couple of years guitar legend Robin Trower makes a stop in Nippertown, and the audiences come out to hear him play in The Egg’s big 1,000-seat Hart Theatre. And every couple of years they leave after the concert extremely happy and contented.
Well, because at 66 years old, Trower remains the consummate touring and recording professional, and though he made his musical mark in the 1970s, he still puts out interesting and musically relevant rock albums that transcend musical fads and spotlight his prodigious guitar abilities.
No, he’s never been the fastest or the loudest player, but not unlike the all-time greats – Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton – it only takes one or two notes to know it’s Robin Trower because of his signature guitar sound.
Kicking off an over hour-and-a-half performance with “Confessin Midnight,” Trower’s fat guitar drones and screams effortlessly drove crowd-pleasers “Lady Love,” “Day of the Eagle,” “Too Rolling Stoned,” “Little Bit of Sympathy” and the tour-de-force title cut of his multi-platinum-selling 1974 album “Bridge Of Sighs,” into the audience’s orgasmic applause and ovations.
Lead singer Davey Pattison’s voice isn’t James Dewer’s when it comes to the classic cuts, but the ex-Gamma frontman (back then with guitarist Ronnie Montrose) nails down the nuances and passion within those songs, and he makes the newer material very much his own.
Ending the night with “Not Inside – Outside,” from the band’s latest album, “The Playful Heart,” guitar wizard Trower pulled out the last classic gem from his song bag, “Daydream” from his solo debut, “Twice Removed From Yesterday,” and let it shine brightly with a long and soulful solo that brought the show to a thunderous close.
The opening group was a last-minute pick-up quartet formed and spearheaded by former teenage guitar prodigy Matt Mirabile. Many might remember him from the popular electric-blues outfit he co-led with vocalist Alison Jacobs.
Soliciting the services of regional vocal legend Tommy Love, Mirabile put him to good use on a handful of explosive guitar and vocal driven tunes ranging from Cream’s “Strange Brew” to Hendrix’s “If 6 was 9.” When Love sings, he has the uncanny ability to sound like Robert Plant, Jack Bruce or a half-a-dozen legendary singers from the ’60s and ’70s. The stand-out anthem by the band was Jeff Beck’s “Blues Deluxe,” where Love nailed the Rod Stewart vocals and Mirabile captured the blues energy of Beck’s guitar sound.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Shawn Stone’s review at Metroland
Excerpt from David Singer’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Trower is not predictable. He is original. He doesn’t travel far in his solos, nor are they long, but they are packed tightly. He is not counting on worn-out licks, because there are no patterns, just amalgamations of notes that seem arbitrarily snatched at that moment. And his solos end without conclusion, without warning – he doesn’t even look up, he just stops playing. It’s different and it’s always been cool. That’s why Trower still packs a theater of mostly men, likely many of them guitarists.”