Review | Tom Robinson at Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham: 'Power and passion'

AS HE was quick to tell us, Tom Robinson is 72 now, but goodness, the power and the passion are utterly undimmed.
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There was real rage in the Up Against the Wall which closed the night; there was immense tenderness in the sublime War Baby; and how can you not smile when you are mumbling along to Martin?

A Tom Robinson concert remains a magical thing, not least because you get such a real sense of Tom Robinson the person, not just in the songs themselves but in the effortless, easy chat in between them.

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And the lovely thing is that he comes across so warmly, somebody whose company you want to keep.

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As for the songs, you want to hear every word – no matter how well you know the lyrics – because these are lyrics that matter, lyrics that have something to say, lyrics which reflect our times back at at us – and have done all our adult lives.

Tom opened with The Winter of 79, and how on earth can that be 43 years ago? Then came a gloriously updated (what if we live to be) Fifty, now delivered as Eighty. Poignant indeed, as was Days (That Changed The World), so many shared memories.

Of course there were the big hits and classics and the stories behind them, 2-4-6-8 Motorway and Glad to be Gay, but touching too was Too Good To Be True with his loving tribute to old band mate, the late Danny Kustow.

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Tom Robinson
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It was all about songs of significance and substance, all beautifully delivered.

You sense Tom’s fury at ongoing social injustice and the governing classes (a lovely tale of offering Yuppie Scum to an Eton assembly), but there is also endless compassion from a man who has been to the brink himself and is grateful that he survived to tell the tale.

Tom’s plea to reach out in times of mental health struggles came from the heart. His (spoken) Don't Jump, Don't Fall was mesmerising.

Wit (formerly of The B Of The Bang) opened the night with a lovely set, especially a gorgeous Wichita Lineman to finish off with, and then Tom took over for an evening to savour, an evening which had it all – fury, love, wit, nostalgia and fun.

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