From Portswood to poignancy

Pete Thompson on drums. Photo by Alan Howard


Wednesday 28 May 2008, 466 Portswood Road, Southampton SO17 3AN


Tonight’s show at The Brook is something of a pilgrimage for diehard RTB fans. Jim Pearce and son Sam have made the 300-mile round trip from Plymouth. Ronnie and John Kerrigan set out on the road from Northern Ireland at 7am. One fan has even flown in from Texas to be here, home of the Saints!


Having joined the TKC [Trower Kent Congregation] convoy at Winchester Services, I am now standing in the queue talking to John Hammond, a fellow disciple and someone I have been privileged to know, through Trower, for the best part of over 20 years. It’s Robin’s third visit to the Portsdown venue in four years and we are really looking forward to it.

Miraculously, Martin Hughes has managed to dive into The Brook, only yesterday afternoon, to catch the last remaining ticket available. Yes folks, it’s yet another sell-out show on this brief 18-date UK crusade.


Robin at The Brook. Photo by Alan Howard


John Waters and Jacky are watching Laurie and Guy completing the final preparations on stage: an aerosol spray for the microphones - here; some energy drinks for the band - there. Guy is nestling Davey’s lyric bible down onto the floor, behind his microphone stand, and switching on the altar light.

Enter Pete, Glenn, Davey and Robin into the amphitheatre to huge rapturous applause. The ground floor ‘standing room only’ and first floor balcony pews are packed out. The venue’s lighting system may be stuck on red but the sound out front is great tonight.


Glenn Letsch. Photo by Alan Howard


Once again, Davey delights with his heartfelt assignation on “No Time” – ‘why did you fight just to prove yourself right, when you knew you were wrong?’ he pleads.

“Islands”, Robin’s instrumental favourite, is a lesson in how it’s done with Glenn’s bubbling bass line providing a lilting accompaniment to the melody, edging up Pete’s lively and inspired time-keeping.

“Day of the Eagle” and ‘”Bridge of Sighs” are massive Trower hymns served up with faithful adoration tonight. The ‘holy trinity’ follows with Glenn’s hypnotic ‘Daa-de-der-de-der’ bass line in “Victims of the Fury” driving on the audience to a chorus of approval.


Pete take 2. Photo by Alan Howard


Davey gets so emotional during “Hannah”, his powerful and hard-hitting homage to his friend and countryman, the late great James Dewar.

It doesn’t get much better than this. It’s an experience of miraculous and religious proportions. For the best part of 90 minutes, we are in heaven!

This is Alan Howard reporting live and direct for ‘Steve’s Place’ from The Brook in Southampton. 28 May 2008.


Robin at Davey. Photo by Alan Howard


Click here to read Ronnie Kerrigan’s review of the show

Click here to view photos taken at the gig by Mark Smith

Return to homepage for more fan photos and reviews or click below for more reviews

Brighton No Time for farewells      Exeter Totally sold      Bilston Blistering Bilston
Glasgow Dedicated to Jimmy      London Let me hear you say YEAH!      Manchester Pride comes before a fall
Sheffield Balls of steel      Southampton From Portswood to poignancy
Stratford-Upon-Avon The play’s the thing      Birkenhead Fab Four in Birkenhead
Fleetwood Fulfillingness’ Fleetwood Finale      For more reviews visit Steve Shail’s site here!


If you have any info or comments please get in touch by e-mail.

This site, first realised in March 2005, is a howardtowers production published by Alan Howard in the UK.