Procol Harum

the Pale

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home

Robin Trower at Manchester, UK

Dave Knight : 18 March 2005

Palers' Project guitarist Dave Knight writes to BtP (March 2005):

Yes, it is a good show; I caught Robin in Manchester last week. The set list (which is the same for all gigs) is:

Too Rolling Stoned
Sweet Angel
What's Your Name
Rise Up Like The Sun
Living Out of Time
Day of the Eagle
Bridge of Sighs
Close Every Door
I Want You to Love Me
Another Time Another Place
Little Bit of Sympathy
Come to Me
Secret Place

Through a bit of luck (and a lot of cheek), I managed to witness the sound check early in the evening. Robin was playing at the 'LIFE' cafe bar in Peter Street. This is a small venue diagonally opposite the Free Trade Hall (the venue where I first saw Procol Harum and Trower thirty years ago). The doors at the side of the cafe were open to bring in the bands gear and I just popped my head in to have a nosey. Two other people were also interested and thinking we were all part of the same party, the sound engineer ushered us into the room and closed the door behind him.

There I was, stood about twenty feet away from the stage that had all the band members in position. The room was very quiet and the sound engineer controlled the systematic approach to setting up the system. Firstly, Trower himself gave a small bluesy run and then the opening of Secret Place. He then disappeared to a room at the back of the stage, together with Dave Bronze, leaving the drummer, Pete Thompson, to run through numerous bangs of each bit of his kit to obtain the correct mix. Dave Bronze reappeared to add the bottom end and mic checks. During all this, Davey Pattison wandered round the floor chain-smoking until it was time to do his microphone set up. For the three band members that had microphones this entailed providing deep growls and hisses to cover the frequency ranges.

Robin then returned to complete his checks. He played the opening to Another Time Another Place, Bridge of Sighs and, again, Secret Place. During this he was requesting changes of levels of bass drum etc through his monitor. The full band then ran through Another Time Another Place in its entirety. This was the point when I thought 'WOW'. People passing in the street outside were peering through the window to see where this incredible sound was coming from. The band sounded so tight. The solo in that song is ended by feedback that Robin nailed to perfection. All band members smiled at this point: they know they sound good.

Following the full band check, Pete Thompson asked Robin to run through the opening of Breath. He wanted to practise synchronizing his cymbal roll with the frequency of Trower's Uni-Vibe and a little trick of toggling the pick up selector switch. During the setup, there was a lot of good-natured banter. At the end, the sound engineer asked the band to 'leave their name at door, he'd let them know'! ... as if ...!

Davey Pattison stood by me at the end and we exchanged a few words on what a great music and sound it was. We both spoke about how Robin (and similar artists) should have a greater stature than they have. Davey’s reply was that is a reflection of the music industry ... 'it’s all f**ked up.’ With a shrug of both our shoulders the conversation ended: there's not much more to be said about that as we all know!

As quietly as we entered the room, we were escorted out without the chance to speak to the man himself. The actual concert was a sell out and pretty much as Roland's excellent review of the Frome gig. I stood in various positions during the gig, never, might I add, next to the monitor, but my ears were still ringing most of the following day. As a footnote, the local press advertised the gig as 'Ex-Procol Harum guitar virtuoso, whose solo outings draw comparisons to Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix' You live and learn ! Roll on Fleetwood next week.

Thanks Dave!

Robin Trower's page at 'Beyond the Pale'

More photos from this tour

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home