Review: Walter Trout – Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

It works!”, he exclaimed to more cheers from the crowd, “I wanna welcome you to this week’s episode of Strictly Come Rockin’”. Yet more cheers, as he fired off rounds of molten hot licks from “The Mutt” (So called because it was assembled from several other guitars). The band kicked in, and we were off, pounding along to an up tempo 12-bar number. By the end, Trout was bending those strings to a degree which would make any player jealous. It was a delight for me to see a genuine Hammond Organ on stage, complete with rotating Leslie speaker cabinet. Keys man, Sammy Avila, sounded fantastic, but, to my ears, he was too quiet in the mix. “Say Goodbye to the Blues” is a bit of a live staple for the band, and it gives Trout time to pay tribute to B.B. King. His playing on this smouldering slow blues is magnificent, straddling gentle blues licks with intense stinging passages. He even gave Jeff Beck a run for his money when he started making his guitar weep and howl via the Strat’s volume control. Backed by a band that clearly knows how to respond to Trout’s playing, they ramped up the intensity and brought it back down, following his guitar like a conductor’s baton. Many of the songs are broken up by stories about the songs and his recovery from liver disease. The first of which was “Almost Gone”. There was some great backing vocals going on there, and the band harmonised nicely. Walter and his band were joined on stage by tour manager, Andrew Elt, who provided some rhythm guitar and backing vocals for a couple of songs. At this point, Trout was nearly blinded by a spotlight shining up into his eyes. He joked, “Hey Mr. lighting man, I live on the beach in California, If I wanted a tan I could go home!” The light was switched off, and as the laughter died, the show continued with “Playin’ Hideaway”. Walter’s vocals were gritty and on full form. Drummer, Michael Leasure, and bassist, Johnny Griparic, were locked in tight, and kept everything solid. There’s always time for another slow blues and “Go the Distance” is a belter. With it’s soulful verses and soaring guitar work, it was a definite highlight for me. Andrew Elt returned to play acoustic on “Please Take Me Home”, dedicated to Walter’s wife, Marie. It was touching, and Walter was clearly emotional by the end of the song. It took him a moment to compose himself, then he broke the silence with some gritty blues followed by an obligatory drum solo. Leasure is a demon on the skins, and the crowd lapped it up. Shortly before wrapping up, Trout took a moment to praise organ donors, and encouraged people to sign up to the donor register. Naturally, this is a topic very close to his heart now, and he has become somewhat of an ambassador for the program. He returned for an encore, taking to the stage to play a rocking, electrified version of “Scotland The Brave” that led into “Prisoner Of A Dream”, resulting in a well and truly deserved standing ovation. The man has been through hell, and now he’s playing better than ever and tonight was definitely evidence of that.   Review: Colin Plumb.    ]]>

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