Monday, January 17, 2011

Robin Trower & Jack Bruce - Live at the MusicHall, Worpswede, Germany (2009-03-01) Ex SB

(U.K 1981-82, 2008 - Present)
In the early 1980s, Trower teamed up with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce and his previous drummers Lordan and Isidore, for two albums, 'BLT' (Bruce, Lordan, Trower) and 'Truce' (Trower, Bruce, Isidore). In 2007, Robin released a third recording with Jack Bruce, 'Seven Moons', featuring Gary Husband on drums.
The trio of Jack Bruce, Robin Trower and Gary Husband have been touring consistently since the release of their 'Seven Moons' album in 2008 (apart from Bruce taking some time off after falling ill earlier in 2009). One of the reasons behind the enthusiasm is probably the new material on Seven Moons.
In an interview posted at, Bruce said:
“The challenge now is to bring to life the new material written with Robin. Well it was Robin’s idea really. He got in touch with the idea of compiling a CD from the two previous albums we had done and I suggested two new songs. He came round to my house and we started writing. It was all very fluid and happened very quickly.”
As for including older classics on their tour, Bruce said:
“Now we don’t just want to get into revisiting our respective back catalog's, as this is a different and new project, though there are a few old warhorses from Cream on the live album. Well up and until the Cream re-union gig I hadn’t played any of it for quite some time, but at this stage of my career people get pissed off if you don’t. It reminds me some years ago when I went to see Bob Dylan, and he didn’t do anything at all from the past and everyone really got fed up. It’s part of my musical past and really when it comes down to it we are entertainers after all and you don’t want to disappoint your audience.”
In return, one can’t help but notice how Bruce really appreciates his audience.
A relaxed but controlled performance and very good sound make this one of the best shows of the current tour. Thanks to jazzrita for sharing the radio broadcast on the Dime site and to mortengo for the artwork.
Concert Review (by Alan Howard)
The venue for the concert is 25km north of Bremen. The village of Worpswede is intimate, quite and beautiful. As my brother, John, and I walk towards the The Music Hall I am intrigued such a music venue exists so far from noisy, densely populated towns and cities. It is 5.30 pm and the band are going through a sound check. The songs are "Seven Moons" and "Lives of Clay" and sound great. At the rear entrance to the hall there are a number of vans with cables running from the stage area. The performance is being recorded for broadcast on Radio Bremen.
I meet a music journalist from Hamburg and we talk about the broadcast and the venue. My brother and I talk to a number of people from different parts of Germany and Sweden who are big Jack Bruce fans. It is good to see Laurie Brace and Steve Russell again. We talk about tonight's gig, the previous night's performance in Nijmegen, Holland, and exchange a few pleasantries and jokes. Two great guys kept busy making sure all the musical equipment is working, in the right place (esp. monitors), ready for the musicians to play. And ensuring the sound balance is as close to perfection as possible given the restraints of the venue.
The program and posters outside and inside the venue intrigue me. The only musician displayed is Jack Bruce. It appears Jack is the main act and Robin and Gary are supporting musicians. I understand this is the way the music industry sometimes works. Two formidable musicians collaborate on three albums, organize a short tour in Europe, and only one of the musician's is given recognition and billing. When I discovered the set list included the entire Seven Moons album I tried to curtail judgment, but couldn't. I'm sorry to disappoint. The album has a number of great songs but also has it's share of unmelodic, average tracks.
I notice Robin's Deja Vibe is absent from his pedals. This rules out the possibility of the trio inserting other songs in the set to provide contrast; uptempo, funkier rhythms; the chance to hear Jack playing bass and singing on "Bridge of Sighs" or "Day of the Eagle." A view shared by numerous Robin Trower devotees and musicians at the front of the stage. Indeed, the absence of songs from earlier collaborations - BLT, and Truce - is a major talking point before, during and after the concert with some fans. Tracks such as: "Into Money," "No Island Lost," "Won't Let You Down," "Gonna Shut You Down," "Gone Too Far," "Fall In Love," "Little Boy Lost" ... would have enhanced the set and experience.
Frankly, I despair of CD/DVD/concert reviews which make you wonder if the person was at the concert or has listened to the music on disc. Some reviews on the Net and magazines appear to be “cut & pasted” and follow a familiar pattern with comparisons of Robin to ... well, you know who. A review bereft of originality and sincerity is a disservice to the artist and the writer.
The show started around 9:00 pm to a hall packed with eager fans. At the outset Robin's guitar tone and power seem to be low in the mix. This fails to make "Seven Moons" or "Lives of Clay" any less engaging. Two powerful tracks back to back. Robin's soloing is a revelation. In fact, it is noticeable that Robin and Jack are enjoying playing together.
The sound is uncluttered and Robin's guitar sound becomes more visible during the pedestrian "Distant Places Of The Heart". During the song Robin uses his considerable vibrato and guitar voicings to great effect. A wonderful, creative journey. A masterclass in sensitive, passionate soloing. The outro solo is stunning. Jack Bruce at the finish of the song says, “Life isn't so bad after all ...” I believe, for the moment, he's right.
Tonight Robin's Strat is plugged into a 100-watt custom built Cornell amp. I prefer his guitar tone when he uses Marshall. In fact, towards the end of the set Robin's guitar sound appears to oscillate in volume; a combination of amp and faulty connections, perhaps.
After a passionate and enthusiastic version of “Sunshine of Your Love” the tempo slows for a rendition of “Carmen.” The live version misses the guitar overdubs and outstanding vocal Jack produced on the original recording. Not an easy song to sing, whatever your age, or state of health.
At some point I begin to feel Gary Husband is prone to over-drum - a la Buddy Miles - and the sensitivity of some songs, while still moving, are executed with a rigorousness not required.
Following “We're Going Wrong,” “So Far To Yesterday,” “ Just Another Day” the infectious rhythm of “Perfect Place” enables Robin to use the wah-wah pedal to create haunting, biting, riffs that make the song seem too short. During the song the trio create a wondrous groove which the audience share with vocal enthusiasm.
I'm so glad that superlative musicians as Robin Trower and Jack Bruce still grace this planet, share their music, their gift, and voice wherever - and whenever - possible. Both musicians have enriched my life and those of numerous others. I hope they tour together again without constraints and a different set list. I acknowledge they call the shots. Me? I'm a nobody who enjoys music played "live" with passion, vigor and creativity. So who am I to talk? I knew you'd understand. [Many thanks to Alan Howard for this comprehensive review]
The concert was recorded and broadcast by Radio Bremen. Rip was taken from a taped radio broadcast at 192kps and includes full album artwork and concert photos. (Link to more photographs of the performance on The Music Hall Web Site)
Track Listing
Disc 1
01. Seven Moons 5:00

02. Lives Of Clay 5:50
03. Distant Places Of The Heart 6:42

04. Sunshine Of Your Love 10:18

05. Carmen 4:53

06. She’s Not The One 3:31

07. We’re Going Wrong (JB composition) 8:53

08. So Far To Yesterday 4:18

Disc 2

09. Just Another Day 7:11

10. Perfect Place 4:24

11. Bad Case Of Celebrity 5:36

12. The Last Door 5:43

13. Come To Me 4:39

14. I’m Home/White Room 12:33

15. Politician 6:07

16. Closing Announcement 0:12

Band Members:
Robin Trower - guitar
Jack Bruce - bass, vocals
Gary Husband - drums

Trower and Bruce Live (132Mb) New LInk 02/10/2013

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