New Album! Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher Cork DVD 1

Well, not new, because this Rory Gallagher show was available in Europe for quite some time, and on VHS as Messin’ With The Kid prior to that. I never had the tape, but I do have a region-free DVD player and have been enjoying this title for a while. So for those who were unable to play a Region 2 DVD, Eagle Vision’s recent Region 1 release is a godsend.

Prescription readers know I revere Rory Gallagher and his music. His versatility and passion enabled him to shuttle effortlessly between blues and rock – equally genius on acoustic or electric with a juxtaposition of subtle phrasing and sheer power. Seeing Gallagher play guitar was like watching someone with an extra limb; thoughts emanating from mind and heart, seamlessly translated through fingers and guitar with peerless tone. It’s the textbook definition of pure soul.

Cork was Rory’s hometown, and this was his first performance at the Opera House; fortunately Irish Television (RTE) was on hand that night to capture the event. Recorded in 1987 while touring behind the Defender album, Rory was visibly showing the signs of wear and tear that the road and alcohol will bring. But Rory Gallagher nevercheated a crowd; his performance that night was stellar. (Check out McAvoy taking a deep breath just before plunging into “Shadow Play” – he knows what’s coming!). Multiple standing ovations and vocal participation demonstrate the love Cork had for its native son.

Backed by longtime bassist Gerry McAvoy along with Brendan O’Neill on drums (and some tasty harmonica thanks to Mark Feltham), Gallagher runs through several landmark recordings like “Tattoo’d Lady”, “Continental Op” and “Messin’ With The Kid”. Those familiar with his barn-burning Stratocaster licks might be stunned to see his finger-picking expertise on acoustic (“Out On The Western Plain”) and National Steel guitar (“Wanted Blues”), where he conducts a master class on slide guitar. The camera captures many close-ups with great clarity, and it’s a real treat to see the dazzling fretwork. (I’m hoping some over-noodling players might get their hands on a copy and learn a valuable lesson in restraint and technique.)

Audio and video are excellent, although I did not detect a great advantage to the 5.1 sound. Since it was a television production, cuts are clean and not overdone, and the DVD now boasts the supplement “Rough Guide to Rory’s Cork“, an animated compilation of photos, trivia and anecdoteal information compiled by Rory’s brother (and Gallagher Estate archivist) Donal Gallagher.

Track Listing:
01. Continental Op
02. Tattoo’d Lady
03. Don’t Start Me Talkin’
04. I Ain’t No Saint
05. Follow Me
06. When My Baby She Left Me
07. Off The Handle
08. Out On The Western Plain
09. Wanted Blues
10. The Loop
11. Shadow Play
12. Messin’ With The Kid
13. Loanshark Blues

Real (L) and Tribute (R)

Real (L) and Copy(R)

And be sure to check out the other Rory Gallagher DVD titles. They’re all great values, but more importantly I don’t know if we’ll see a player with Rory’s skill and soul in one package again anytime soon. I still get goosebumps every time I watch the version of “Going To My Hometown” on my personal favorite, the concert/documentary DVD Irish Tour. The two-disc Live at Montreaux set is also excellent, and the Live at Rockpalast set is stunning in its breadth – nine hours of material over three discs.

The original Region 2 cover art

The original Region 2 cover art

 

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Filed under Features and Interviews, Film/TV, Music, Reviews

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