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JACK BRUCE, ROBIN TROWER & GARY HUSBAND
Shepherd's Bush Empire, London 5 August 2009
up time. When you get to the point of being part of rock's aristocracy
like Jack Bruce, it's no longer about the money or indeed the expectation.
Rather it's about the joy of just being healthy, happy and being able to
that is a commendable reason for rekindling an old musical relationship
with Robin Trower there's a downside. The comfort zone is such that it
matters not how well the latest album is selling - indeed you don't even
need to announce the song titles - when you can sporadically fall back on
the trusted Cream back catalogue to keep the fans happy.
But then you
are 66 years old and have just recovered from serious ill heath why not?
Fine. You pay your money and what you get is the Jack Bruce's peerless
vocals, fluid bass playing and understated charisma. And god knows this
band needs the latter as Robin Trower says nothing all night, contenting
himself with an occasional smile and all too seldom cutting lose with his
wah wah injected psychedelic guitar lines.
meanwhile made a great fist of gluing everything together with a
voracious, powerhouse of a drum set that managed to inject life into even
the most languid of songs.
And in truth
Bruce, Trower and Husband had too many of those tonight for even Gary to
be able to redress the balance.
while both vaguely eastern sounding 'Distant Places of the Heart' and the
older 'Carmen' showed Jack still has a fine voice, they ultimately lost
their impact simply because too much of the set sounded the same.
exception of the obvious Cream nuggets plus the unexpected and well
received 'We're Going Wrong', the gig mirrored the '7 Moons' album to such
an extent that you might as well have stayed at home and listened to
either the CD or watched the DVD.
its great to find Jack back on form, Trower's body language suggested he
would have been far happier in an altogether different musical context.
Even on the highlight of the show, a jammed out second half of 'Sunshine
of Your Love', it was Bruce's bass that dominated with Trower contributing
tasteful tonal nuances without really asserting himself.
There was a
similar feeling of circumspection on the slow blues of 'Bad Case of
Celebrity' and when it came to the pause for the guitar break on
'Politician', Trower's solo was a bundle of noodles rather than a required
succinct incisive thrust.
lies the problem. Robin is the king of tone, the prince of wah wah and the
post Hendrix overseer of psychedelia, but in this band he sounds cramped,
hemmed in and almost claustrophobic, as he unsuccessfully searched for
space for his potentially mesmerising lines.
Only on the
title track of the new CD did he really come into his own with his
trademark tone and wah wah, but for the most part you got the impression
he is biding its time for an altogether different solo career.
Trower & Husband have apparently already planned for 2010, but like their
previous existence as BLT, you don't hold to much hope for an elongated
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