Walter Trout (And The Power Of Blues)

Walter Trout has been one of those musicians that were introduced to me via my father and a person I stumbled upon various times when I just started getting into Blues many years ago. He always kind of lingered on in the back of my head up until now. Buckle up! I have the feeling this will be a long one.

I think we have to start quite a bit further back in time than I usually would just to sort of emphasize the importance of this concert and the relationship I had with Walter’s music until recently. Feel free to skip ahead to the actual “review”.

Let’s get this terrible party started. Like I said I was pretty much introduced to Walter Trout by my father who by the way has always been a huge fan of him. Occasionally that name would pop up, some songs were played, the usual shenanigans. When I really got hooked on the Blues the name was mentioned a few times more but for whatever reason, 14-year-old me was way too busy obsessing over Eric Clapton to put time aside and explore other Blues musicians for a while actually. Just a tiny bit embarrassing in retrospect. Anyways, what I do remember more clearly was that one day my father came down from his office. While rushing down the stairs he already started talking about a musician he adores being very, very sick and the name Walter Trout fell. The distress and worry in his voice were clearly audible. You may wonder why I am even mentioning this and it has a very simple answer: my father once was in a similar situation that almost cost him his life. To this day he is dealing with the aftermath. This point will be important later on so try to keep it in mind.

So the name Walter Trout very early on has been something that for me always is accompanied by a certain amount of emotions and associations of fighting and holding on. Things like that consistently play a role for me when I go through the list of upcoming concerts. What do I feel when I listen to their songs? Do I enjoy what they do? Do they seem to enjoy what they do? My photography relies quite a bit on feelings coming from both ends of the camera. The music has to get to me and hit me right in the chest and it doesn’t matter in what way. The music also has to do the same with the musicians though for this to work well. All those boxes were ticked as soon as I read that name on the HsD website.

After having an extremely stressful time writing the e-mail I was immensely filled with joy when I received a positive answer from Marie. However, a sense of pressure came along with it. The pressure of doing a good job. This is my biggest and most important concert to this day. I honestly didn’t expect to even get this opportunity especially after having been turned down or ignored by online magazines who’s help I would’ve liked to have with this. My confidence went through a rollercoaster ride.

Enough foreplay. Let’s get down to business.

Obviously, I had to drag my father along this time and invited him over to join me. He was more than thrilled to be able to spend time with me (we live a few hours apart nowadays) and also see one of his favourite musicians live. He brought a friend of ours along who got lucky and still was able to get her hands on a ticket to this sold-out show. Soon after I left them behind, got everything I needed out of my bag and got into position.

The band got on stage and the audience was already exploding from the sheer amount of enthusiasm and anticipation that they held back up until then. Not going to lie but I actually can’t remember which song was their first that night but what I do recall is how quickly I was submerged in those sweet sounds coming from in front of me. Soon there was nothing left around or inside me but the music. Guided by the melodies I got to work while carefully watching out that I won’t accidentally hurt any of the fans next to me. Everyone was very considerate and polite as it is mostly the case. Maybe even a little more supportive than usual.

The energy in the room that night was both so full of power and just terribly intense but somehow at the same time felt deeply intimate and comforting as if it was a concert given in a living room on a slow and cold autumn night. Everything seemed so connected despite it being a full house with a couple hundred people. That Friday night we all came together and this invisible barrier that I often experience between band and audience was taken down. We were one massive group that celebrated the power of blues that day and the things it stands for.

The band was simply phenomenal. Every single one of them was of equal importance and never did I feel like Walter “stole” the spotlight. I am aware it sounds a tiny bit odd but I am sure you know what I mean. The dynamic between everyone on stage was on point and you could feel how they were happy to be in Erfurt that night and make music for this passionate audience. Furthermore, I was highly impressed by how masterful and precise the band was playing. Everything felt harmonic but also rough, passionate and emotional in the best way possible.

Another thing that brought this together so nicely were the anecdotes and stories told by Walter in between some of the songs. All this vulnerability and emotionality was refreshing especially in this society that sees those things as a weakness rather than a strength. It brought everything down to earth and created a space where those attributes were celebrated but it also built a stronger connection between each person that night. I don’t think I ever felt that safe and comfortable at a concert before. Walter Trout being so open about his struggles in life and pretty much not being ashamed of them but rather wearing them as a badge of honour was truly inspirational and motivational especially to a terribly emotional and sensitive person like me. As I was looking around me I surely noticed I wasn’t the only one that felt this way.

The Blues, in particular, is something that seems to connect people a lot more than most music genres I believe. This is for a number of reasons. In the following paragraphs, I would like to present some of those, how they apply to Walter Trout’s music and why that made this concert such a special occasion for everyone involved. I am aware that this article is already pretty long but I want to use this very important concert to make some necessary points.

The thing most people will immediately notice when they dive into the Blues is its long and rich tradition. It is the kind of genre that feeds from its past and is easy to recognize but at the same time exists in a wide arrange of different shapes and sizes. I don’t want to get too deep into the history of it so if you are interested in that there is a huge variety of great books and such out there. My point being is that this type of music stems from a place of pain and emotions (mostly the unpleasant kind) and those are something extremely universal. We all go through rough phases in our lives and experience a number of horrible things.

Blues musicians have a very unique and compelling way of taking those events and work through them with the exceptional harmonies and rhythms they are provided with. It is somehow simple but very complex at the same time in such a way that it is easily accessible for the listener. The mostly very personal topics that are discussed/ presented come from a deep place within the musician which enables them to let those out but also create an appealing atmosphere for their audience. Music that comes from an emotional place is just much more attracting and in combination with the relatable stories that are told, create a certain pull. Those are at least things that are outstanding for me and that make me come back to the Blues constantly or let’s say never let me leave it. Through that emotionality and vulnerability, the Blues is capable of bringing people together and do the things I mentioned earlier.

Furthermore for me personally Blues became much more than a preference, it became a home in an odd way. It was always something I could turn to no matter what and I could find a place of comfort while still being confronted with unpleasant things. Those sweet sounds just have such therapeutic and soothing energy to it and due to the wide spectrum of Blues, you’d always find something that would fit your mood. Of course, I can only speak from my experience but I witness this a bunch in other people too. There is just a certain magic to this genre and I can’t quite put my finger on it, to be honest here.

Walter Trout just masterfully takes everything that Blues is for me and puts it in such a lovely package that I just didn’t want that concert to end. Never has time passed so quickly and never did I not feel my back hurting after standing for such a long period of time. Usually, I don’t like to rank things but this was definitely one of my favourite concerts I have ever been to if not my favourite. Everything around it was simply beautiful. I met old friends, we all celebrated vulnerability together with Walter and his band and it just all felt so special. Walter showed us that stories are worth being told and just because they are of a negative thing doesn’t mean they should be silenced. Very rarely do I meet people that convey such a message in such an honest and touching way while standing so strong and proud on stage. It does stick with people.

My father still talks about the concert and I don’t think I have ever seen him as happy as I have that night. When I told him to get his ticket signed his face just lit up in a way I have never seen and watching him wait in line with the cutest grin ever did make me quite happy too. After he came back to me he was so excited, proudly showed the autograph to us and talked about his brief interaction with Walter and how he told him he is a survivor too. I am so sorry dad if you read this but it was so adorable and I am just so grateful we could share this moment together. Pretty sure we will talk about this concert a bunch in the future. (Also I might have spent a lot of money on a handmade frame so he can put the ticket on the wall framed with a print of one of my photos.)

Let’s finally get to the conclusion before I end up writing a book.

This band is the perfect example of why the Blues will never fade, always will be up to date and won’t lose its importance not only in music but society itself. Creating a community, teaching them about the relevance of talking about your feelings and sharing stories in a way that isn’t triggering but healing.

Thanks so much for listening to my story today. Take care and until next time.