Royal Oak, Michigan (April 7, 2018) – With his signature soaring guitar riffs, Robin Trower showed his Detroit area fans that the 73-year-old rocker is still at the top of his game. The crowd was spellbound during the entire 13-song set, as Trower played select tunes from his latest release Time and Emotion, as well as several beloved classics from his past. This was Trower’s fifth appearance at the Royal Oak Music Theater, the location where his 2009 live album RT@RO.08 was recorded.
London born Robin Trower first achieved success as a member of English blues-rock band Procol Harum, (best known for their first single “Whiter Shade of Pale”), with Trower joining to replace original guitarist Ray Royer. Trower appeared on the band’s first five albums before launching his solo career with Twice Removed from Yesterday in 1973. His sophomore effort, Bridge of Sighs, released in 1974, along with his next three releases, were certified gold with sales that kept them in the top 25 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Despite not being a household name like Clapton, Hendrix or Page, Trower has consistently released new music and is legendary for his emotional, string-bending guitar solos and hard-rocking blues numbers.
The crowd at Royal Oak Music Theater was eager for the guitar hero to take the stage, chanting “Robin! Robin! Robin!” every time a song on the house PA ended, until the lights finally dimmed and the power trio walked out and took their places. Appearing calm and unassuming, Trower launched into “Too Rolling Stoned”, the 7+ minute masterpiece from the timeless Bridge of Sighs. Following up with “Lady Love”, Richard Watts (bass) and Chris Taggart (drums) proved to be a tight, powerful rhythm section, with Watts handling a majority of the lead vocals for the night. The set continued, with the man often referred to as the master of the Stratocaster proving he deserves that title on “Returned in Kind”, “Not Inside — Outside”, and “Somebody Calling”.
Trower took over on the vocals for “Make Up Your Mind” from last years’ Time and Emotion. Back to the classics, Trower and company gave the crowd the highlight of the night with a fantastic rendition of “Day of the Eagle” before stunning us with the brilliant, yet eerie, chords of “Bridge of Sighs”. Trower didn’t disappoint, wrenching every note of his extended solo from his Fender like he was ripping the emotions straight out of his soul. The set wrapped up with some impressive funky shredding on “Confessin’ Midnight”, “Daydream” and the final song, “Little Bit of Sympathy”, definitely a crowd favorite.
Returning for a two-song encore, Trower, Watts, and Taggart gave us the straight-up bluesy rocker “Rise Up Like the Sun” with the guitar legend tearing it up on the solo. The final song of the night was “For Earth Below”, showcasing Trower’s six-string mastery as displayed on the 1975 album of the same name.
Robin Trower continues touring throughout the US with stops in Kalamazoo, MI, Champaign & Chicago, IL, and Indianapolis, IN up next, with the tour wrapping up with two nights in St Louis MO on April 14 and 15. Trower has a couple of new projects in the works, including a collaboration with reggae artist Maxi Priest and another new album which we hope to see later in 2018.
Senior Photojournalist: Kate Sumbler