Thursday 30 November 2023

Tom Robinson, The Old Cold Store, Nottingham

 Supported By Rob Green

Tonight I am at Nottingham’s Old Cold Store to see Tom Robinson. The Old Cold Store is part of the Vat and Fiddle pub owned by Castle Rock Brewery so the audience is at least assured a good pint.

The Cold Store is also really cold. This is partly because it’s late November but also because it appears that the venue is just the pub’s backyard that they’ve (sort of) put a roof on. This is also (sort of) a seated gig and they’ve put chairs out for us old folks. Although you can stand at the back if you’re hardcore and/or you want to jump around to keep warm. Note to self: bring gloves next time.


Support comes from a chap called Rob Green who is originally from Nottingham. As always with a Tom Robinson show the support artist has been featured on his 6 Music Show and is introduced by the man himself. Green plays a short 20 minute set which only consists of three songs, a poem and a medley of covers but then he is hauled back on stage for one more called ‘I’ll Be Around’ which is the best one he does. He’s decent and hits some amazingly high notes with his voice.

After giving us a chance to get another beer, Robinson comes on stage, rolls his sleeves up, and launches into the first of two 45 minutes sets with a track I didn’t know ‘You Tattooed Me’ from his 1986 album ‘Still Loving You’. One of several songs that he plays tonight that I’ve not heard before.


This evening it is just him, without his band, and 'up close and personal' is the title of the show and that is what we get. Just Tom, his guitar and his keyboard.

The two sets will have an intermission in between. This is presumably another innovation along with the chairs for us oldies and for himself, a sprightly 73 year old.

During his reworking of ‘Fifty’ as in ‘what if we live to be fifty’ that he has now called ‘Eighty’ out of necessity as he’s now obviously way past being fifty, he tells of the three things getting older has changed in his performances. Firstly that he has to write down any new song lyrics or else he’ll forget then. Secondly, that having written them down he can’t actually read them. The third thing slips his memory.

His memory is strong though concerning his former TRB band colleague Danny Kustow to which he dedicates ‘Too Good To Be True’. A tale about Kustow is just one of his many recollections about his songs he tells tonight.


Robinson is also still a vocal critic of everything wrong in the world and also of abuses of power hence one of his newer songs ‘The Mighty Sword of Justice’. Then after ‘Atmospherics: Listen to the Radio’ he takes a break, so that we can all have a lie down.

Part two includes such classics as ‘Grey Cortina’, ‘War Baby’, ‘Glad to Be Gay’ and ‘Up Against the Wall’ before he closes with a ‘short medley of my greatest hit’ i.e. ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’.

He treats us to one more which is the rather poignant ‘Only the Now’. It’s a personal favourite of his about the reality that the past is the past but that the future is always unknown and we all have to live in the moment. Sound advice and an excellent night.

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