Robert Cray, Gig Review. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Robert Cray is undoubtedly a legend when it comes to the Blues, for many fans of the genre he is the one artist that carried the Blues aloft between the end of the 1970s and the turn of the century with any sense of form, style, beauty and care, the true link between the Golden Age and the momentum that has followed since the final years of void in which Blues arguably, like Jazz and Progressive Rock died a little death every day.

That feeling of legendary has never the audience’s perception, knowledge and feel of Robert Cray, it has wrapped itself around the artist like a sovereign placed inside a gold band, the sensation of the music and the love of his lyrics captivate all and for those inside the Philharmonic Hall as April drew to its inevitable finale and bow, to see Robert Cray’s humour, his feel for each note as they drove along perfectly the night’s music in amongst the scenic route of songs from his brand new album and a selection of songs from his from his four decades at the helm of the Blues.

The Philharmonic Hall crowd, always respectful, always well-informed and familiar with the world of music, were visibly moved by the evening, the sense of history taking place as Robert Cray and the band once more opened their hearts to the situation and the full appreciation of the Blues being heard in Liverpool. A night in which songs such as Don’t You Even Care, The Bad Influence, the superb I Shiver, Bouncin’ Back, The Way We Are, the incredible (Won’t Be) Coming Home, and the chilling I’ll Always Remember You were made to be played within and take the hands of the audience as they cradled their own hopes and love in the arms of four magical musicians.

With Richard Cousins, Dover Weinberg and Terence Clarke all adding greatly to the soul beating rhythm and the sense of absolute pride in seeing the delight in the eyes of the crowd sparkle and shine like a new born baby seeing the world for the first time, this was a gig in which the great Blues train which so nearly derailed during the latter half of the 20th Century was rightly saluting the man who kept it alive during that period; it was a salute, a rite of passage that was honoured in full by a very enriched Philharmonic crowd.

A sweeping gesture of finely laid down Blues and beautiful funked up groove, to be in the presence of The Robert Cray Band is always one of auspicious delight.

Ian D. Hall