Rory's Antics
This is a compilation of fan stories posted to The Loop in late January and early February 2004.
The thread started on 1/29/04 when  Northern Ireland's Dino McGartland made this post:
Hi everyone, Just thought i'd put this one to you all. What was the craziest thing you ever saw Rory do live on stage. We all know that he went "apeshit" when he got on stage, but what was the craziest thing YOU ever saw him do live?? We've all read about it, saw it on video, but what are YOU'RE experiences?

First up, we have Phil Hoolahan posting is his classic Glaswegian captureD29.jpg
Change his G string during Tattoo lady live Apollo Glasgow .I often wonder was this some kind of dress rehearsal because never once did Rory stop playing or loose any groove in the song ,in fact it was one of the best solos I ever seen but nah that wasnt rehearsed that was beyond amazing and crazy but see when you tell someone that happened ,they thinks your crazy especially when you say Aye Eric Clapton showed him how to do it :-))))))) I never saw Rory outside of Scotland but What about Shadow play Montreux pulling the Strat across the stage by the lead and it changing octaves ; I used to think it was all being held on a Loop but Rory picking the strat up you hear the strat is live.

Next to contribute was Canada's Greg Pincott
Besides the evil eye of death I saw Rory give the guy who stole his beer off the stage, one thing that's always stayed in my mind (from the same show--Vancouver's PNE Gardens, Nov. 1975) was when one of the loops of his guitar strap snapped mid-solo. RG never missed a note, holding the bottom end of the Strat against his hip with his elbow while a bearded chap (Tom O'Driscoll?) tried to get the defective strap off and a new one on. Just before the operation was completed, and even as notes continued to cascade from the Fender, there was a priceless second when you could almost see Rory saying with his eyes, "Hurry it up, I can't hold this thing together much longer."
cheers greg

Nottingham's Pete Wood passed this one along
It was 79 or 8o, he was playing @ Malvern Winter Gardens. At the sound check he arrived through the french windows with sunglasses with revolving lights in them. At the evening concert they appeared again, as he cruised on out through the encores.

This story came from New York's Vince Rampino
The wildest thing I saw was at My Fathers Place (79) Rory hopped off stage and on to a table where he did the Chuck Berry "duckwalk" As he comes to the end of the table he falls off to the floor! Rory is flat on his back and still playing (never missing a note!) The nearby fans help him up (including myself!) He then jumps back onstage & the place goes crazy! Vince

Roger Wrobel from Arizona wrote:
When I saw Rory in Arizona in '85 he came onstage and was handed his guitar by his roadie. He turned up his amps and it began to howl and roar as if it was all wired up wrong. He made this kind of "not bad" expression and turned to the crowd riffing out the into to Follow Me. Whatever he did, things sounded right from that point on.

New York's own Charlie Gili was next with this story
Nice stories fellas...
I've told this one before, but guess this is a good time to mention it again....

Lone Star Cafe, June 1985, New York City Me and girlfriend...she'd never seen Rory before...we pick a spot at the bottom of the stairs. The stairs are adjacent to the small stage...about an arm's length away from Rory's amps...Shinkicker cranks...Rory leaps from the stage onto the stairs, up the stairs he goes, right past us (very narrow stairway)...down the stairs he comes and stops right in front of us...he leans back and pins us against the wall...plays a bit (i couldn't see anything, cause his hairs in my face) ...turns to us and nods a thank you and leaps back onto the stage!

 By the end of the night...second or third encore...3 hours +++...Rory jumps into the crowd and to the floor...out the exit door and onto the Manhattan sidewalk...playing outside to a crowd that had gathered and back in again and onto the stage....The crowd could hardly contain girlfriend was out of her mind insane over the whole thing.. then she really went nuts and became my wife....thanks Rory..I guess!!! Charlie

California's Doug Pugh checked in with this story:
I must admit that Montreux thing was wild, but I only saw that on video. If we're talking about things we actually saw Rory do live, well I have one to tell. I too saw him break strings on stage and seamlessly and flawlessly change them without missing a beat, but the greatest thing I saw him do was February 17, 1974 in Long Beach, California. That was during the year he was so extraordinarily hot (1974) so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.

Rory had been on fire the entire show, bringing the house completely down. He comes out on stage for his 2nd encore and launches into "In Your Town" with guitar blazing. About 1 minute into the song his stage microphone goes totally dead and nobody can seem to fix it. Rory just throws his arms out to the side as if to say, "what can I do?" and then launches into this incredible 15 minute instrumental of In Your Town that was one of the most awesome things I ever experienced. And it was all ad-lib. With that the show was over, the audience spent, and Rory once again had shown why he is the greatest.

Barry Barnes from the UK chipped in with this post:
What about the guitar tricks then.
Rory always amazed me that he came up with at least one new 'trick' every time I saw him, like bending behind the nut, or fretboard tapping (While Eddie Van Halen was in his mum's pram)

And I remember a similar 'string changing' incident at The Free Trade Hall in Manchester and unlike Phil's Glasgow memory a roadie didn't bring the string on, it just emerged from his arse pocket! On that occasion (He'd just tried to bend the b string up to the lighting rig during Calling Card!) he set up a feedback loop on the g string (He'd octaved it at the twelfth) and changed the b string (For non guitar players it's the one next to the g string!!) without disturbing the feedback loop - unbelievable!

On a Manchester radio talk show he was asked about his amazing string changing tricks and, being Rory he just brushed them aside as "nothing clever, just experience" Our hero!

From California's Dante Ramirez:
Rory took a stroll out the back door and played on while standing outside looking at the highrise buildings of San Francisco. funny thing was, the club was on a 2nd level, and i cant imagine there was anyone outside there to watch him. a moment of fresh air i suppose.

and as always, the crowd went wild..

New York's Neil Christman submitted this post:
Yeah Charlie , I was there also. He certainly let it all hang out in NY a few times. Like Vince I also seen Rory decide the stage was not big enough.......and decide to make the tables in front part of the stage...... Today I found another lost photo from the Bottom Line 79 late show, not too clear , but it looks like he's heading for the tables again

Ron Skelton from the UK had this to share
Hi Dino and all, remembering RORY'S stage antics has got to bring a smile to your face. I believe that RORY knew that to some extent there was a Shadow Play element to the "Theatre of Music", even including the serious bluesy side of the business. However, I would like to take you back to the days of Taste, when I saw RORY for the 2nd or 3rd time (give me a chance, it was 1969). The Marquee Club, Wardour Street, London.

To the point:- Sugar Mama, about half way through the number; the improvising, RORY asking the questions on THE STRAT, Richard McCracken answering on bass-guitar, RORY asking far more complicated note constructions from THE STRAT, McCracken actually being able to reply, MR. GALLAGHER loving every single note of the musical extravaganza conversation excitedly turns to John Wilson and asks the first 10 notes from THE STRAT, Wilson repeats, RORY steps closer and asks 20 notes, Wilson beats the same number in drum language, RORY is now in his total element, his reason for being on this planet, stands leaning over the front of the drum kit and effortlessly blasts out double the number of notes while defiantly staring into the eyes of his drummer, Wilson's arms nearly come out of their shoulder sockets but he manages to reply to RORYS phrase, RORY, now possessing amounts of adrenaline not normally stocked by your county hospital, runs round to the high-hat, lifts THE STRAT over the cymbals and starts to play the guitar lick of guitar licks and in the process smashes Mr.Wilson straight in the kisser with the head of THE STRAT. Did RORY stop? Did he hell. Wilson didn't manage to reply accurately in musical terms on that occasion. God works in mysterious ways, sometimes in advance??? Nevertheless, I really enjoyed remembering that moment, and RORY did apologise to John Wilson at the conclusion of Sugar Mama.

Well, thanks Dino for prompting me to write to the Loop with that memory. I should also mention when RORY got "possessed" in any song, he lowered the volume to natural acoustic level, even on his STRAT, and would then hammer the stage with the heal of His baseball boots so f******g hard, the vibration would chill your spine to the extent that you thought the world was coming to an end, but then he turned the volume up full and you would know that HE'D only just started. Anyway, that's my favourite memories of RORY'S antics.
All the best, Ron S.

Back to RoryON!! front page
Back to Rorystories