The gig was everything I had hoped for and expected: Joanne Shaw Taylor is a fine and feisty guitarist, and her singing has a raunchy, Americanised-Solihull tone. This was then a ‘local’ performance for her, and some of the extended guitar solos were of the excellent kind only someone truly proficient and playing live can deliver.
Robin Trower is without question a legend and he also delivered with his trademark mellow, feedback-held guitar work. Many of the songs were tight, rock-riff performances, but the gems were inevitably Daydream and Bridge of Sighs where the extended delicate solos were sublime.
He was ably supported by drummer Chris Taggart and bassist/main vocalist Richard Watts. No one could replace the vocal of James Dewar from those earliest recordings, but Watts’ singing is a fine, husky fit. I have a few bootlegs of recent US performances from this trio, and Watt’s singing is very much to the fore, as it should be, but for this Birmingham gig it seemed a little too distant in the mix. A shame.
But none of this detracted from Trower’s finesse and fire when playing. At 70, he would seem not to have lost any of his distinctive skills, nor the enjoyment of playing: mixed in with the facial contortions of his empathetic fretwork were countless smiles as he turned to the band or to the audience. Trower can obviously be content with the musical legacy he has acquired, and he certainly seems at perfect ease with playing still today. What a pleasure to experience.