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Corner Hotel, Melbourne March 29, 2018
Report and Photos: Mark Moray (Wicked Rock Photography)

Every music venue has a story to tell, as do the artists that play there, but there wouldn’t have been a bigger story than Walter Trout’s, which played out at the Corner Hotel in Richmond last night.

Trout last played Melbourne in the ‘80’s. He was booked to tour Australia again in 2014 but was forced to cancel due to serious health issues. As Walter described it, he needed a new liver. Lying on his back for eight months in a hospital bed, he lost 120lbs, died twice and his memory fried … it was going to be some battle. Fortunately for Walter, his family and music lovers worldwide, he’s now well on the road to recovery and tonight, he’s triumphantly celebrating with the few hundred fans who have ventured out to the Corner Hotel to greet the American blues guitar legend.

Wife Marie Trout opened the proceedings with a short prologue on how Walter survived his illness, before Walter entered the stage with his band, Michael Leasure (Drums), Sammy Avila (Keyboard), Danny Avila (Bass Guitar & Sammy’s son) and later in the set, a cameo by John Trout (Guitar – Walter & Marie’s son).

With Fender Strat in hand, Walter begins the explosive show and starts to tell us stories from the Battle Scars Album. It’s dark, it’s depressing, it’s sad, but it’s real and essentially the blues. From ‘Almost Gone’ to the heart wrenching ‘Please Take Me Home’, a beautiful song that he wrote and dedicated to his wife, this is clearly a personal and very powerful gig for all involved.

Walter went on to acknowledge those who were major influences on his life, such as BB King. ‘Say Goodbye to the Blues’ was his nod to the great Bluesman and boy did his guitar do all the talking. ‘We’re All In This Together’, the title track from his current album, recorded in one take with Joe Bonamassa, was brilliantly executed by Walter and his son John Trout. ‘Going Down’ ended the show but not without an amazing guitar dual from father and son, engaging the audience to a chant, finally leaving a tear in the eye. Nothing beats an encore like Chuck Berry’s  ‘Little Queenie’ and a final 15-second rendition of  ‘Waltzing Matilda’ to close. As my wife Ros put it after the set, there may be many fish in the blues sea, but there will only ever be one Walter Trout.

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