Heavy pedal: Guitar king Robin Trower still reigning

Tahoe Onstage

Robin Trower sets the tone for a sellout audience on a spring night at Lake Tahoe.
Kurt Johnson / Tahoe Onstage photos

A man of few words, Robin Trower lets his Stratocaster do the talking.

The 74-year-old’s rock trio put a spell on a Harrah’s Lake Tahoe audience on Saturday with a 14-song, 90-minute performance. Tickets had sold out weeks in advance of the show.

Renowned since the late 1960s when he was with Procol Harum, Trower is among the pantheon of the British guitar greats, Beck, Clapton, Green, Page and adopted son Hendrix.

What sets Trower apart is his unique tone, which he equates to a human voice. His custom Stratocaster is tuned down an entire step, played through three Marshall amps and affected with four pedals, the key one being a Deja Vibe 2.

Still prolific, Trower has released five albums in six years, including “Coming Closer to the Day,” which came out last month. He played three songs from the new record in the South Shore Room.

The show’s highlight was the extended jams that were delivered with his best-known songs played back-to-back, “Day of the Eagle” and “Bridge of Sighs.”

The two perplexing takeaways from the evening:

Trower’s guitar playing is alluring like a whisper. Concertgoers sit forward, intently listening for each note’s detail despite having their ears tingle and head vibrate because it’s so loud.

Then, after 12 songs and the trio exited the stage, the audience leaped to its feet and shouted for more. But when the players returned and the instant the music resumed, everyone in the crowd sat in unison.

It seemed like a better time to stand and move to the singular sounds from the legend. Sigh.

— Tim Parsons

  • Robin Trower
    May 11, 2019
    Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
  • Too Rolling Stone
    *Diving Bell
    The Fool and Me
    *Lonesome Road
    Somebody Calling
    Day of the Eagle
    Bridge of Sighs
    *Tide of Confusion
    Confessin’ Midnight
    Little Bit of Sympathy
    Rise up Like the Sun
    For Earth Below
    * from “Coming Closer to the Day”

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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