Tom Robinson celebrated his 70th birthday with a live performance featuring several guest musicians on the bill including the legendary TV Smith who played a short acoustic support set. The evening was compered by his friend BBC 6Music radio DJ Steve Lamacq and Robinson (bass) was accompanied by his band of Jim Simmons (keyboard), Lee Forsyth Griffith (acoustic guitar), Andy Treacey (drums) and Adam Phillips (electric guitar).

The band began their set on 1979 single ‘Bully For You’; Robinson commented afterwards that the lyric, “We don’t need no aggravation” in the song may have been the inspiration for Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ lyric, “We don’t need no education’. They followed this with ‘Atmospheric: Listen To The Radio’.

Robinson dedicated ‘Too Good To Be True’ to the band’s original guitarist, Danny Kustow, which was his favourite song to play, with its bluesy feel and electric guitar solos. As a human rights activist, Robinson included ‘The Mighty Word Of Justice’ and his famous anthem ‘(Sing If You’re) Glad To Be Gay’, the latter of which he wrote in response to the media’s negative attitude to his sexuality, showing the audience a tabloid article written about his love life at the time.

Robinson ended his main set on debut  single ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’. Lamacq returned to get the audience to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Robinson, and a cake was brought onstage which he shared with them. The band were then rejoined by Robinson’s guests and together did an encore of ‘Power In The Darkness’, with updated lyrics to reflect the Tory government situation with Robinson donning a blonde wig and impersonating Boris Johnson in the mid-song.

30/05/22: Tom Robinson Band @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.