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Robin Trower - Copernicus Center, Chicago, 29/4/2017

  by Lisa Torem

published: 27 / 5 / 2017

Robin Trower - Copernicus Center, Chicago, 29/4/2017


Time stands still for Lisa Torem when Robin Trower and his trio perform at Chicago’s Copernicus Center.

There are few guitarists or composer/arrangers that can hold a candle to Robin Trower, though a few have come close. His accomplishments as a collaborator songwriter, riff-maker, extended-soloist and effects wizard can overwhelm the senses on paper, yet somehow, when Trower performs, his talents stream effortlessly into a kind of 'Om...' moment. His co-writing with the late Jack Bruce, most notably, ‘BLT,’ ‘Truce’ and ‘Seven Moons’ elevated both careers. Trower has always attracted artists that listen well and vice versa. He is a generous player. One of his greatest inspirations, Jimi Hendrix, was often accused of overshadowing others, and that’s a longer story, and perhaps his genius required that, but Trower appears to enjoy the very art of collaboration, despite his ability to do it all so well. Perhaps that’s his own brand of genius. But the delightful part comes when you hear Trower displaying subtle shades of his heroes; synthesizing their history into his hands, his whammy bar and even his face. Many fans discovered Trower through his early years with Procul Harum. He changed their focus; altered their sound. Since then, he’s become known for his sterling tonality, masterful technique and his infatuation with American blues. At Chicago’s Copernicus Theater, there was a tension and excitement in the air. Trower, with his power trio, was there to promote the new eleven-track CD project, ‘Time and Emotion,’ a treasure trove of Trower originals. It had been more than a year since they’d graced a Chicago stage and there were a lot of repeat attenders, some accompanied by a slew of new friends and family members, anxious to hear what all the fuss was about. As soon as they walked across the stage, they enjoyed an immediate standing ovation, actually, the first of many, as this audience showed its appreciation sincerely throughout. Drummer Chris Taggart, bassist/vocalist Richard Watts, and then the maestro. Fortunately, Taggart’s kit was placed right in the middle, so we wouldn’t miss a thing. They opened with the raucous and riveting ‘Too Rolling Stone’. Although the list generously drew from a number of eras, they made sure to include the blistering, bittersweet ‘Can’t Turn Back the Clock’ as well as the furious ‘Make Up Your Mind’ from ‘Time and Emotion’. ‘Day of the Eagle’ and ‘Bridge of Sighs’ had been wildly anticipated. This was the part of the show when all eyes and ears were particularly privy to Trower’s spell. Watching him lift his fingers off the neck to create those outstanding harmonics and watching him shift the whammy bar violently, whilst showing extreme emotion on his face was part of the attraction, but hearing the multiple sounds emanating from the effects pedals created another kind of magic. There was no need for overhead imagery or other gimmicks. Everything required was already there, and if your eyes needed something more visceral to rest upon, there were a few massive Marshall amps there to do the trick – it was also a friendly reminder that Trower still values old-school quality. There was a great sense of support onstage amongst the players. Again, copious amounts of excellent listening. Although I struggled at times to hear the bass, it was obvious that this trio loved the repertoire and got fueled and energized by the spontaneity of the audience. The rhythm section was ultra-sensitive to the material at hand, but when the bass and drums were being called upon to shine, they more than satisfied. We got our blues fix, plus a healthy dose of classic rock and psychedelia. ‘Daydream’ and ‘Spellbound’ allowed for some dreaminess and flow. Trower treated us to shared vocal lines and a few moments of sincere gratitude. The power trio was quick to return for a triple encore after a thunderous, merciless demand for more. It was one incredible night and I hope there will be many more. SET LIST: TOO ROLLING STONED CONFESSIN’ MIDNIGHT WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO NOT INSIDE-OUTSIDE SOMEBODY CALLING MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY OF THE EAGLE BRIDGE OF SIGHS THE TURNING CAN’T TURN BACK THE CLOCK DAYDREAM SPELLBOUND ENCORE: LITTLE BIT OF SYMPATHY RISE UP LIKE THE SUN FOR EARTH BELOW Photos by Philamonjaro www.philamonjaro.com

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Robin Trower - Copernicus Center, Chicago, 29/4/2017

Robin Trower - Copernicus Center, Chicago, 29/4/2017

Robin Trower - Copernicus Center, Chicago, 29/4/2017

Robin Trower - Copernicus Center, Chicago, 29/4/2017

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