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The Guildhall Arts Centre, Gloucester, 15 April 2005


If only every town could have an Arts Centre like this!

The Guildhall, in the heart of Gloucester’s vibrant City centre retail and leisure area, offers residents and visitors alike a vast array of sensory delights.

Inside its imposing architecture, the Arts Centre has distinct gallery, cinema, live performance and ancillary bar café space (the latter, ideal for nourishing weary travellers!)

This probably makes it one of this country’s more suitable venues to welcome VIPs who have travelled thousands of miles to be here tonight!

It is a very great honour and privilege to meet Mr Steve Shail and Mr Neil Calandra. Steve, who has flown all the way from Saskatchewan, has probably done more than any other Trower fan to keep the home fires burning in the UK for our hero through the inimitable Internet site ‘Steve’s Place’. 

Neil, in England for the first time since 1993 and accompanied this time by Mrs C, hails from Long Island and is, for me, the person who has best captured our hero and his band through the lens of a camera in recent years.

He is an artist of the highest order with a stunning portfolio of images. Gentlemen, welcome! Come on, let’s see the show!

I think I heard what they were saying

It’s also great to meet fellow fan Frank from hometown Stalybridge. The people, united in music. 

The Sneakers open the show with an inspired selection of blues and classic tunes including a magic version of the Beatles’ ‘Come Together’. There’s a great atmosphere in the hall tonight and the band’s eclectic set is just the thing to get the audience nicely warmed up for the main act.

Enter our hero and the band! This is my first show since Nottingham. How things move on in just two weeks!

One of the things I have always admired about Robin Trower is that he lives for today not yesterday. The set remains unchanged but no two shows have been the same. He and the band are constantly on the prowl for new inflections and directions.

‘Too Rolling Stoned’ sees our hero really snapping the strings towards the close of his extended solo, pizzicato with a punch! Davey’s voice has never sounded better.

He’s as passionate as ever tonight in his delivery especially on the songs from the new album ‘Living out of Time’.

‘Sweet Angel’ has proved to be an outstanding live vehicle for the band on this tour, right sort of length, parked second song in, with its wholemeal minor nine verse and 5671 low-fat spread of a chorus, very tasty indeed.

The penultimate chord in the live version of this song adds a dash of spicy chilli sauce to proceedings, hot enough to make the eyes water! We simply adore it.

Our hero really has got a bad case of the blues as ‘Rise up like the sun’ from the ‘Twentieth Century Blues’ album testifies. Robin’s whole body is fused with sudden contortions tonight on the soloing for this number.

Dave and Pete have to be the best backing musicians on the entire planet, an absolute Godsend to any instrumentalist looking to create the sort of vast open soundscapes on show here.

The sheer warmth and depth of Robin’s tonal range on a number like ‘Daydream’ sends us all into spellbound heaven.

Bronzie’s lines on the instrumental passages in ‘Breathless’, the stand-out track on ‘Go My Way’ just for its joyful harmonies in the middle eight, bring a brand a new urgency to this section of the music tonight helping to make the return to the chorus riff even more grunge-tastic!

Robin has pruned the accompaniment and its timing right back on the verse and suddenly, less really is much much more. Wow!

In years past, Robin paid homage to ‘The Sound of Music’ at the end of ‘Sympathy’. Now I may have this completely wrong but on this tour that slot seems to have been overtaken by something which vaguely resembles Boyzone’s ‘No matter what’.

I’m not a 100% certain but that’s what it sounds like to me. Can anyone put me straight here?

The show is a stunning success and warmly appreciated by the audience including our visitors from the other side of the pond. Steve has been up in the gantry shooting video while Neil has grabbed a front stage spot in good range of Robin. His Nikon is crammed full with stunning colour images.

Onward, ever onward, tomorrow will be another in city dream.



This review was originally published on Steve Shail’s excellent Trower website ’Steve’s Place’. Cheers Steve!
To visit the site click on the link below.

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