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Birkenhead, Pacific Road 30 May 2008

Robin Trower

If a Mars probe had dropped down on Pacific Road this evening it would have fed back that the year appears to be 1974 and there's a shortage of hair.

The penultimate gig on an extensive UK tour, Trower makes no apologies for playing what is expected: half of the classic 'Bridge Of Sighs' and spicing his set with other seventies gems such as opener 'Twice Removed From Yesterday', 'Hannah' and 'For Earth Below' but nothing off 'Long Misty Days'.

Whilst this misses out Trower's post-seventies output (with the exception of 'Roads To Freedom' and an excellent 'Victims of Fury') - a couple of decades when residency in the States seemed to shield him from his true fans - it does confirm that this is an artist who is stuck in a time warp of his own choosing.

Robin Trower

Robin Trower may be one of the most underrated of British guitar players, he is also one of the most understated. Trower's essential modus operandi is thick phased arpeggios from which he breaks out with bluesy lead frequently tinged with growling wah.

The seventies was a decade when Trower had a truly great vocalist in the late Jim Dewar. It was Dewar who provided a perfect foil to Trower's guitar pyros. Davey Pattison doesn't look like a hard rock vocalist, in fact he looks like your father in law, but he's a damn good singer if lacking the Dewar low resonance. Glenn Letsch on bass (formerly with Pattison in Gamma) and Pete Thompson on drums complete this excellent band line-up.

Robin Trower

The flyer that accompanied this gig announces the 'first farewell tour'. This is a little shocking, even though Trower turned 60 several years ago. Of course, farewell tours can be indeterminate in length and here's hoping we see more of Trower on these shores.

A recent album with Jack Bruce wasn't referenced tonight but there will be time enough for that and hopefully Britain's great underrated will release some more new material before his wah-wah gives out.

Review by David Randall

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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