Robin Trower live 1973, Newcastle City Hall 11th Feb 1975, and Reading 1975

Robin Trower live 1973, Newcastle City Hall 11th Feb 1975, and Reading 1975
trowerprogI first became aware of Robin Trower in Procol Harum and then when he played Sunderland Poly’s Wearmouth Hall in the band Jude. Jude also featured Frankie Miller, ex Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker and bassist Jimmy Dewar who had just left Stone The Crows. I have very vague recollections of that gig, and can’t be certain I was present or whether I simply heard about it from mates, but I’m pretty sure that it happened. Jude didn’t last long, and Trower soon formed his own band, retaining Dewar as his bassist and lead vocalist, and drummer Reg Isidore. The first time I can definitely recall seeing Trower live was when he supported Nazareth at Sunderland Locarno in June 1973. My mates and I were big Nazareth fans and went to see the tour at Newcastle Mayfair a couple of weeks later, and saw Trower again. We watched Trower on both occasions; this was at the time of his first album “Twice Removed from Yesterday”. I was impressed by his Hendrix-like guitar playing and the faces which he pulled, which looked like he was in pain, as he squeezed riffs out of his Stratocaster. You could tell that the guy was playing from the heart. Trower22.2.76
Trower speaking to Steven Rosen (Los Angeles Free Press, November 1973): “It’s not just a trio, it’s the right trio with Reggie and Jimmy. It’s not just because I’m the lead guitarist that it’s gonna happen; I mean I’m not just into guitar, I’m into making good music . . . great music. And I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think it was a lot better than what I’d done before……I’m very influenced by Hendrix, and I’m the first to admit it; everything I do is inevitable and I can’t not be influenced by him. Anybody who’s got any ears and plays the guitar or who’s got any musical sense at all could not but be influenced by Hendrix. It’s like you can’t write unless you learn A-B-C. Everybody else was just f***ing about. He made real music on guitar and not just licks on top of somebody else’s music.” Robin Trower took Hendrix’s music and moved in to the next level. He blended Hendrix’ guitar style and technique with moody blues-rock and a little funkiness. It was as if we were witnessing the music that Hendrix might have played if he hadn’t passed away so early. And Jimmy Dewar had a great soulful voice. Trower’s most famous album is, of course, Bridge of Sighs, which he released in 1974, and the title track is a classic of atmospheric rock. trowertix75
The next time I saw Trower live in concert he was headlining at Newcastle City Hall and it was February 1975. This was classic Robin Trower, the guy was at his best during this period, and the set will have included “Day of the Eagle” (often the opening song, and a track that features in his live sets to this day), the excellent rocker “Too Rolling Stoned” (another great live classic), “Lady Love” and of course “Bridge of Sighs”. My unofficial programme contains a flyer for Rainbow Cottage, so I suspect they may have been the support act for the City Hall concert.
John’s memories of the City Hall gig: “Even though I only saw Robin Trower once in the 70’s I was fortunate to witness a fantastic gig with Robin at the height of his prowess and playing the Bridge of Sighs material with passion and power. trowerpic1I was siting downstairs fairly near the stage and was overwhelmed by the material and his talent. The set opened with Day of the Eagle, featured Bridge of Sighs, Too Rolling Stoned, Lady Love and Little Bit of Sympathy which I think closed the set. While I am less certain I think he also played Rock Me Baby and a slower blues number which might have been I Cant Wait Much Longer. I also remember that he wore a green jumpsuit with the pants tucked into some fringed brown suede boots which I was not sure was too cool at the time. James Dewar’s vocals were also a highlight and the show and his performance on About to Begin remains one of my favorites to this day.”
I saw Trower again at the Reading festival in August 1975, where he delivered a blistering set and was called back for several encores.
Typical Trower setlist from 1975: Day of the Eagle; Bridge of Sighs; Gonna Be More Suspicious; Fine Day; Lady Love; Spellbound; Too Rolling Stoned; I Can’t Wait Much Longer; Alethea; Little Bit of Sympathy
Many thanks to Mitch for his photo of Trower onstage at the City Hall on 22nd February 1976, and to John for the image of his poster from the period.

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