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Review and pictures by Alan Howard

The Gala Theatre, Durham, 25 November 2005

There really is nothing quite like seeing and hearing The Robin Trower Band playing live. It is, for me, just about the best experience on the planet! Tonight’s show at Durham’s gleaming Gala Theatre was a real treat for everyone in the house.

Robin and the band were in awesome form. The music was incredible and the audience absolutely loved it despite having to show their appreciation from the vantage point of reserved seating.

The set list on this tour, a stroke of sheer genius by Robin, has delved deeply into back catalogue with the emphasis very much on the first two studio albums and a little bit of ‘For Earth Below’ and ‘Victims of the Fury’ thrown in for good measure.

Tonight, with 11 shows under their belts on this second batch of 2005 UK dates, the band really hit the spot. They put their all into the show, playing every note effortlessly, right down to the very last semi-quaver. It was the most perfect show.

Will there be a live CD release arising from this tour to rival the rocking Ruf Records release from the first tour? We can but hope! I have absolutely no doubt that UK fans would buy such an official release were it to be made available.

‘Twice removed from yesterday’ opens the show with a loud thump and with heartbreaker ‘Hannah’ following in swift succession the stylish playing of Mr Pete Thompson on drums is very much under the spotlight.

Steve Shail tells me that dear old ‘Hannah’ is probably the one song from Robin's back catalogue that Davey Pattison has been looking forward to singing live the most.

Robin’s carefully chosen combination of songs has proved to be an extremely strong selection, not least for Davey. His vocals on ‘Hannah’, ‘Roads to Freedom’ and Robin’s sunshine rocker ‘Fine Day’ are absolutely ‘top-draw’, as Andy Gray would say!

Pete adds a magical offbeat cymbal ride on the chorus of ‘Roads to Freedom’, a sensational embellishment for this superb song. Dave Bronze, tonight trading in the traditional sound of his Fender Precision for the more expansive tones of his blue Lakland bass, gets to have most of the fun on ‘Fine Day’ with his endless fills and runs, heaven!

Dave is the main man on instrumental ‘Islands’, a song revisited from the first times he toured with Robin some twenty years back. Robin’s jazzy lead on this feelgood anthem simply knocks you back in the chair. Wow! The music has almost a cinematic feel to it, particularly so towards the end.

‘Day of the Eagle’ and ‘Bridge of Sighs’, played as one continuous number, are The Robin Trower Band’s signature tunes. Take what you need, you’ll find everything you could possibly ever want from here.

‘Rise up like the sun’ has Dave Bronze running up and down the fret board in a frenzy going the full distance while managing to introduce more notes. This blues number, faster than as heard on ‘20C Blues’, is another song which has travelled extremely well on this tour.

Little bit of Sympathy’ brings the audience to its feet. Robin's blistering lead breaks on ‘Lady Love’ and ‘Daydream’ round off proceedings to thunderous applause. Robin is soon out front meeting the fans, signing autographs and posing for photos. Thank you so much for this!

The 500 plus seater theatre looked well over 75% sold to me. Amazing when you think this tour hasn’t really had the oxygen of publicity safe for the promotional work by the venues concerned and various websites, probably all the right places but I’m sure the fans can and will do more to spread the word .

Yes folks, the Robin Trower Band are back in the UK for good and appearing at a theatre near you soon! Best wishes to Laurie and Steve for all their hard work and professionalism also to the excellent support provided by Mr Jon Amor.

One last thing, promoting the remixed ‘LOOT’ at the March and April shows was definitely a good move. On this November tour, albeit with the release of the new ‘Live’ and remixed ‘Another Days Blues’ in the offing, I think the success for many of us diehard fans was seeing and hearing this band playing the songs perfected by Robin, Jimmy, Reg and Bill. 

Sadly, it wasn’t possible for us here in the UK to see the current line-up until 2005. But, Halleluiah, thank goodness we did! I know I speak for many UK fans when I say it would be terrific for us to hear here just a few of the songs synonymous with this band’s trail-blazing tours of the USA in the mid to late 80s.

Top of my personal wish-list has to be ‘No Time’ from the ‘Passion’ record but I’m sure numbers such as ‘If forever’, ‘Over You’ and ‘Tear it up’ would all be equally very well received. Either way, it’s an absolute joy and pleasure to see Robin and this band back ‘on the road’ in the UK after all this time.

This is Alan Howard on reporting for ‘Steve’s Place’ and hoping there may be more Trower shows to come in the UK, in which case Mr Shail, you’ll just have to get back here too! 

After all these years of emailing that other correspondent, Northern Ireland’s finest Mr Ray Martin (pictured with Robin above) and following the disasters which had prevented us getting together on several previous occasions, it was a veritable joy to meet up with him.

Cheers Ray, ‘twas a great night. Greetings also to two other true ‘Trowerheads’ David Smith and Tom Connor. Gentlemen, keep in touch, see you next time!

Thanks also to everyone who gave me such a hard time on this tour about my website and the fact that I’ve failed to keep it updated.

This ticking off is both entirely justified and much needed so I promise to and will do better in the future!

In the meantime folks, least we forget, all hail Steve Shail!

This report first appeared on Steve Shail’s excellent Trower tribute site ‘Steve’s Place’. Click below for the link.

More reviews from Trower’s 2005 UK Tours

Southsea   Manchester   Bilston   Sheffield   Nottingham  
London    Gloucester   Southampton   Deal
Brighton   Cambridge   Glasgow   Aberdeen   Birkenhead
Dartford   Durham homepage   News archive   Meet the band
Fans photo gallery Spring 2006 UK Tour   Autumn 2005 UK Tour
   Spring 2005 UK Tour   Albums   Songs   Press / Interview archive
What the fans say Useful links   Steve Shail’s Trower Site

This site is a production realised in the UK, March 2005.
Published by Alan Howard. Contributions and comments welcome by email