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Wembley Empire Pool, 5 March 1976
as reviewed by Brian Harrigan for ‘Melody Maker’

There ain’t nothing like Robin Trower at full blast, backed by his bassist Jimmy Dewar and drummer Bill Lordan. Even in the cavernous Wembley Empire Pool, they thundered like a three-man blitzkrieg.

Quite what it was like in the first 20 rows or so, one shuddered to imagine, but at least the folks way back heard it all beautifully, even if the trio looked the size of m
arionettes.

But, even visually – and the Empire is a prime problem for this aspect of any rock concert – the Trower Band succeeded thanks to a classy, inventive and sympathetic lights set-up operated by Poco’s backroom boffins.  

Obviously the music was the main point, and at the beginning one wondered if Trower was going to stumble at this high point in his British career.

He’d never pulled an 8,000 plus audience off on his own back in Britain and he seemed to be so anxious to get things just so that he nearly blew it through nervousness.

But within 15 minutes Trower was in control, and he proceeded to cleave the audience to him with a very excellent version of ‘Bridge of Sighs’ and then a great version of ‘Sailing’, decidedly uptempo, but well within the bounds of good taste.

At this stage Trower was in his element, but Lordan seemed to be having a little trouble with the sound of his drums – nothing overly serious, but there was a lack of his normal crispness, which was perhaps due more to the wide-open spaces of the Pool than anything.

Dewar, meanwhile, was performing in his usual steady manner. Never too complex, he chose to combine his role to underpinning Trower; but vocally he was in excellent form, with his gravel-ly, sub-Joe Cocker voice raunching out across the hall.

The band hit new peaks with a quartet of all-time favourites – ‘Too rolling stoned’, ‘Daydream’, ‘Alethea’ and ‘Little bit of sympathy’. They were running in top gear now, Trower coaxing forth lines of impressive complexity.

He closed the show at this point and at last the audience snapped sufficiently out of what seemed to be a massive daze to call for an encore. Trower obliged with the climatic ‘Rock me Baby’, which spilled all over the place – raunchy, rocking and a perfect climax. The man and his band have style aplenty, attack by the ton, and skill to spare. What a pleasure they were to listen to. Let’s have ‘em back here soon.

Brian Harrigan, Melody Maker
 

Ed notes:

I remember this was a great show. We were seated in the ground floor aisles in front of the stage about halfway down the hall but had a great view. Yes, there were some technical hitches on the night. I remember Robin having problems with his pedal board.

At one point, he introduced us to his effects guru who came on stage to try and sort out the glitches. Whatever the problem was it wasn’t solved so we didn’t get the previously mentioned rendition of ‘The fool and me’. Funny how we British tend to have a habit of remembering all the negative bits!

Yes, it was very loud that night. Back in those days, the definition of a good show was ringing in your ears for two or three days afterwards. Thank goodness, things have moved on. Credit goes to John Miles and his band who did a great job warming up the audience for Robin, Jimmy and Bill with a stunning set of thoughtful rockers.
 

robintrowerlive.co.uk homepage   News archive   Meet the band
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   Spring 2005 UK Tour   Albums   Songs   Press / Interview archive
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This site is a howardtowers.com production realised in the UK, March 2005.
Published by Alan Howard. Contributions and comments welcome by email