In the same year that For Earth Below hit the UK Top 30 album chart, Derby County were English football champions. Since that time, the Rams have struggled to keep their hands on the silverware. Just as memories of more recent Wembley glory under Billy Davies had started to fade, the team and the City are on the up. There’s the fabulous new QUAD arts centre with its cinema, gallery, café and workshop space and three live performance venues accessible from the one stop shop that is Derby Live. The Darwin Suite hosts the Robin Trower Band tonight, by my reckoning; it’s our hero’s first-ever solo show in Derby.
It seems Laurie and Guy have had quite a day already. A mix-up at the venue has seen the boys phoning round for a PA
barely three hours before the show is due to start. Crisis averted, Guy is sounding rather chipper about tonight’s gig, mentioning two special factors.
“You’re in for a pleasant surprise when you walk in there! Robin’s only gone and replaced one of the 2 x 12s with a 4 x 12! You should hear
the difference it makes! I reckon that’ll stay on stage for the rest of the tour.”
This is swiftly followed by
“Robin’s going to love it tonight, very much his type of room. Quite a ‘wet’ sound and that’s great.” Roll on showtime!
Bravery beyond belief from the support band with some ambitious tribute tunes. There’s some lively and impressive bass playing but I fear some of
the covers have seen Better Days. Apparently, Chantel MacGregor plays a mean Daydream but, in deference to the headline act, the number is dropped tonight
The Darwin Suite is packed to the gunnels as Pete, Glenn, Robin and Davey walk on to polite applause. C’mon Derby! I am in my usual spot,
stage front, to the right, Glenn straight ahead.
As it has done at every show on this tour, Somebody Calling shifts up the gears up several notches. Instantly, blank faces are transformed. Big, brash, beaming smiles abound throughout the room. Bang. crash, wallop. Standing right next to the PA, the sound of Pete’s snare cuts like a knife. Wow! From polite, quiet, respect, the home ground becomes more vocal. Cmon, we are Derby, super Derby (aren’t we?).
“I’m afraid you can’t use that camera in here” says an in-house customer service operative person. To my left and further back, mobile phones take aim toward the stage throughout Bridge of Sighs as Robin sets out on another spellbinding voyage.
The one hour and ten-minute show to Little Bit of Sympathy flows quickly but the home crowd has been well and truly won over. Ahead of the final whistle, I must head out of the stadium, pride parked back in the heart. Farther on up the road, another show and the Brian Clough Way beckon.