By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night
Venue: The Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, Florida–March 8, 2018-Robin Trower with Damon Fowler Band
On the evening of March 8th, Clearwater, Florida welcomed blues guitarist extraordinaire Robin Trower to a sold-out show at the Capitol Theatre. The venue was filled with Baby Boomers ready to get their psychedelic blues on and time travel back to the late-1960s when Trower was in Procol Harum to the early 1970s when he hit Gold with his groundbreaking album Bridge of Sighs.
The first band to warm-up the crowd was local blues favorite Damon Fowler. Fowler and his band definitely got heads nodding and feet stomping to his brand of electric blues for about 30 minutes.
After an intermission, the man of the hour stepped out on stage to begin an evening with classic greats and new songs from more recent albums, like Time and Emotion. The evening started off with the ever-cool, funky “Too Rolling Stoned” and its funky wah-wah riffs. Richard Watts (bass/vocals) is the perfect choice for singing Trower’s classics. Chris Taggart on drums totally meshed with Watts and Trower as this trio sounded powerful and brimming.
Just sheer melodic joy burst out of the three Marshall amps as Trower’s hands nimbly moved up the arm of the guitar’s neck, with periodic bends on the whammy bar. A man of few words, he thanked the crowd between songs and showed humble appreciation. Watts sang most of the songs but Trower sang “Make Up Your Mind” from Time and Emotion with such soul that I wondered why he didn’t sing more! Really, the man appeared to be in great fit and form on stage, as he captivated the audience with his guitar prowness. There were few cell phones lifted to record the show as the concertgoers would rather pay attention and feel the music, which was bluesy, funky, and all around mesmerizing. I haven’t felt this kind of awe watching a guitarist of this caliber since I wept while seeing Jeff Beck a couple of years ago. Trower is that good—and way underrated!
Another crowd-pleaser was the “bad ass” song “Day of the Eagle” from Bridges of Sighs album. I was watching a bleached blond lady in her late-50s do a little seat head-banging, as she was connecting to the song. I am sure many in the audience felt stirred emotions to this song and “Bridge of Sighs” as memories welled of their junior high or high school cruising or make-out days. Between songs there were plenty of claps, standing ovations, and guys standing with their arms in a victory stance.
Of all the songs played during the evening, I think my favorite was “Daydream” from the album Twice Removed from Yesterday. Watts voice was perfect in texture as it was both smooth and raspy as he sang, “We were spellbound…oh, spellbound” as Trower’s sensual and delicate guitar playing. Such tone! I’m sure many babies were made listening to this song in 1973. After the song was over there was yelping of “Woo’s” and again, another standing ovation. Honestly, this song brings tears to one’s eyes!
A couple of people in the audience yelled “Happy Birthday, Robin!” Actually, at midnight Robin Trower turned a youthful 73 years old–you’d never know from his playing and voice that he is this age.
Another highlight was one of the encore songs “Rise Up Like A Sun”, which got the crowd rocking again. Overall, I am sure the crowd left the concert feeling high off of great blues rock provided by one of the best blues guitarists on this planet!
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