When I heard blues legend Robert Cray was set to play at the Hall for Cornwall I thought someone was pulling my leg, but it was in fact true. Such a massive name to play in this part of the world meant that the show would be sold out and the queue of people waiting on the off chance a ticket might be returned would indicate just how popular Robert Cray is.
Support for the show came from the very talented Jon Allen, whose thirty-minute set went to prove that you don’t always need a full band to create fantastic music. With just his acoustic guitar Jon (who sounds like a mix of Paul Weller, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon and Jose Gonzalez) was like a breath of fresh air and a real treat. This is one of those occasions when you go home and look up the supporting act to find out more about them. It also makes me aware of how many talented musicians we never hear of unless we get to see them play live supporting a big name.
With the stage in darkness Robert Cray and his band started and continued for a few seconds before the stage lights lit them up. Until now I had only ever heard Roberts’ music on the radio or on a CD with crisp clean production, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was not disappointed. These guys are seasoned pros and at some points they sounded so good that they gave the impression that you were listening to the CD. I was impressed with how good Robert’s vocals were, as he made a name for himself with his guitar skills, but his vocal range and talents never seem to get a mention. If for some reason he was no longer able to play guitar he could easily be the vocalist in any blues band.
I, like most, had come to see Robert’s guitar playing and, after hearing his music you would have expected a second guitarist to create the sound from his albums, but he played all the guitars himself with the aid of a delay pedal at some points. As far as I am aware Robert hit every note to perfection. The songs came thick and fast with just a short pause between each whilst he swapped guitars and made small talk with the crowd. It was solo after solo that left the crowd mesmerised.
This was a great night’ of entertainment right from the start with Jon Allen’s jingling guitars to the very end with Robert’s awesome guitar solos. The lighting throughout was fantastic and very colourful, it also included a glitter effect from time to time on the backdrop. The fact that Robert played to a full house added to the atmosphere, along with the venue staff who were very friendly and helpful. It is shows like this that make me wonder why the Hall For Cornwall does not get more big names to play there.