Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Celebrity Theatre
Date: Thursday May 2nd, 2019
Tour: Coming Closer To The Day
A lot is being said about the great guitarists today. We even have special tours that are just to showcase the fine talents of these guitarists, including G3 and Generation Axe. But we really need to step back and look at some of the great guitarists that came before these new comers. If you remember the sixties and early 70s, then you will remember Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and of course Robin Trower. I first heard of Robin Trower when he was the lead guitarist for Procol Harum. Then in the 70s he started his solo career. In 1974 he produced probably one of the greatest classic rock/blues albums, Bridge of Sighs.
Robin was joined by bass player Richard Watts and drummer Chris Taggart. For most of the songs, Richard took over lead singing responsibility since Robin was concentrating on the incredible guitar playing. For the most part, the show was a 90-minute guitar clinic with Robin showing us just how a guitar can be played and what remarkable sounds can be produced by a truly phenomenal artist.
The show starts with one of the most iconic rock guitar riffs as they play “Too Rolling Stoned”. There are just some opening guitar riffs that when you hear it you totally recognize the song and artist. That is how “Too Rolling Stoned” starts as Robin pulls the incredible sound from his guitar. This tour is to promote his newest album, Coming Closer To The Day which was just released on March 22 of this year. This tour is also a celebration of Robin Trower’s career and music. The majority of the show consisted of songs from Bridge Of Sighs. Another iconic opening riff is the start of “Day of The Eagle”. As Robin was finishing the final cords of “Day of The Eagle” he slid into “Bridge of Sighs”. They ended the main set with “Little Bit Of Sympathy”. After a short break they came back for a 2 song encore of “Rise Up Like the Sun” and “For Earth Below”.
I felt like Wayne and Garth (Saturday Night Live) when they said, “We Are Not Worthy”. Seeing and hearing Robin as he played made me realize I could only ever be a midget in the presence of this guitar giant no matter how hard I practiced. Seeing how he made his Fender Stratocaster sing was just awe-inspiring and very humbling. If you are a true rock guitar enthusiast or just someone that wants to see one of the best guitarists around today, then you really owe it to yourself to see Robin Trower.
A friend challenged me to create a list of my favorite 100 albums. The rules were, you must like at least ½ of the songs on the album. It can not be a greatest hit album. Live albums are OK. And you must have listened to it in the last 3 years. I thought it would be a piece of cake. To this day (10 years later) I still only have about 75 albums on my list. But Robin Trower’s Bridge Of Sighs is in the top 10 on my list. Try it and just see how hard it is. Since most of us today create play lists on Amazon, Pandora or Spotify, we hardly ever list to an entire album (CD for the younger people) anymore. Try Bridge of Sighs and don’t see if you like at least 6 (5 of the 6 were played at tonight’s show) of the 8 songs (my personal count).
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved
Robin Trower SetList: (Album)
Too Rolling Stoned (Bridge of Sighs)
Diving Bell (Coming Closer To The Day)
The Fool and Me (Bridge of Sighs)
Lonesome Road (Coming Closer To The Day)
Somebody Calling (In City Dreams)
Day of the Eagle (Bridge of Sighs)
Bridge of Sighs (Bridge of Sighs)
Confessin’ Midnight (For Earth Below)
Daydream (Twice Removed from Yesterday)
Little Bit Of Sympathy (Bridge of Sighs)
Rise Up Like the Sun (20th Century Blues)
For Earth Below (For Earth Below)
First up was Phoenix local axe man, Michael Nitro and his band. Michael specializes in high energy rock and roll music. I first met Michael at another concert, Brand X and he indicated that he would be opening for Robin Trower. Since I had never seen Michael, I figured I had to check his band out. Boy, have I been missing a great local band. Michael played mostly original material with the last 2 song of the set being the Cream inspired cover of the Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” and Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road” with special guest guitarist Dan Wexler joining Michael.
Michael is a very talented musician and he brings his enthusiasm and high energy to his shows. Micheal was joined by bass player Dave Daniels and drummer Mark Wilson. If you get a chance to see Michael, please go. We really need to help support great local talent.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved
Michael Nitro Setlist:
Looking For A Friend
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road (with Special Guest Dan Wexler)