One of rock's most masterful guitarists performed in Phoenix on May 2, and quite aptly for a legend, Robin Trower put on his show in the intimate confines of the also legendary Arizona venue, the Celebrity Theatre. Trower's 1974 release Bridge of Sighs is the most beloved of his works and the album that all of his subsequent releases have been held up to. With that in mind, about half of the 12-song set list came from Bridge of Sighs.
The show opened with Trower taking the stage to thunderous applause and shortly thereafter playing the scratchy opening chords of "Too Rolling Stoned," one of several songs throughout the evening that would evolve into extended jams. Working in his favored power trio format, Trower was accompanied by bass man Richard Watts and drummer Chris Taggart, with Watts handling most of the vocal chores. Trower did sing a couple of songs though; the Hendrix-like "Diving Bell" and the bluesy "Lonesome Road." Both are cuts from Trower's new album Coming Closer to the Day, a stellar effort that is to date his most Bridge of Sighs-like. A graphic behind the drum set portrayed the cover of the new album but Trower never mentioned the record; in fact other than saying "thank you" after songs Trower did not engage in any stage patter at all. That was fine with the crowd; they were there to hear Trower's guitar do the talking.
Also coming from Bridge of Sighs were takes on "The Fool and Me" and "Day of the Eagle;" the latter had an extra slow outro which allowed it to segue seamlessly into "Bridge of Sighs," which was another cut that the guys played an extended version of. The funk and psych-tinged "Somebody Calling" was played as was "Confessin' Midnight," a cut from Bridge of Sighs follow-up For Earth Below. Towards the end of the show Trower played the ethereal "Daydream" with its mantra-like vocal of "Spellbound, spellbound," appropriate enough since Trower and company had the audience totally mesmerized at this point. "Little Bit of Sympathy" was the final song of the main set with the trio returning for "Rise up Like the Sun" and "For Earth Below."
It's hard to imagine what it might sound like, but Trower has teamed-up with reggae star Maxi Priest to record an album that's set for release this October. Trower remains on tour in the U.S. through mid-May.
Upcoming shows at Celebrity Theatre include:
May 20 and 21 - Willie Nelson & Family
June 26 - Todd Rundgren
June 30 - John Waters "This Filthy World" spoken word show and book signing
July 11 - Howard Jones with Men Without Hats and All Hail the Silence
July 28 - Ted Nugent
July 31 - The Alarm with Modern English and Jay Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel
Aug. 17 - George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic
Aug. 26 - Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
Sept. 21 - Toto
For a complete list of shows coming to Celebrity Theatre go here.
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