We were waiting for it, the Grand Slam, the
big push, that unique moment when we'd hit the peak, explode, go over
the edge together, it didn't matter where to: elation, hysteria, just
to lift London's shivery Rainbow Theater right off this planet of woe,
if only for a while.
We knew it was coming, it had to. It
did, it led to a massive triumph for Rory Gallagher, who played forty
minutes of encores. I've see Rory quite a few times over the years, but
never a reception like this one, not since Taste days anyhow.
The stage had to be guarded through
four standing, stamping ovations — and the buzz got deep down into Rory
to dislodge some magnificent playing. It really made you feel good
inside to see him go down like this. It all suggested we were
witnessing another turning point in his career: that he'll supplant
guitar greats who've had their day and do much to influence and
energise rock in the mid-Seventies.
The gears shifted, the push came
during ‘In Your Town' which was to have been the final number. He's
restyled this now to include a section where he 'machine-guns' the band
— he bounced bodily off a big chord and made a backward run across the
stage, there was a surge of power and the group was steaming like a
giant piston, rocking really hard. Rory was using bottleneck on his old
Strat and scat singing in time, ending the number with a Townshend-like
leap in the air.
Everyone got up and called him back for the
first of three great encores. 'Bullfrog Blues' featured sizzling bass
and drum solos from Gerry MacAvoy and Rod deAth and the crowd in full
throat shouted back 'Yeah, yeah!' to Rory's vocal lines. Then there was
"Sleeping On A Clothes Line” which got five minutes solid applause
before Rory decided to come back for 'Laundromat'.
The crowd wouldn't have taken no for
an answer, and after all, Rory hadn't been in town for many months,
around nine in fact. He pumped all he had into 'Laundromat', neither he
nor the band showing any signs of flagging, the pressure mounting if
anything, especially in the slashing, high-register guitar solos.
It's hard to communicate the feeling
that seemed to be aroused in the audience, but maybe love for the
artist wouldn't be setting too high a distinction on it. The atmosphere
had been intense from the start. Rory had begun in a particularly
bluesy mood, playing some of his older material alongside 'Tattood
Lady' and 'Cradle Rock'from the new album to act as contrast. Lou
Martin pummeled the electric piano with nice snappy solos his nose
right down to the keyboard, while deAth’s composed drumming seemed to
get the band hanging loose.
'A Million Miles Away' came up too,
vigorous and with bustle and then he switched to acoustic guitar for a
Tony Joe White number, ‘As The Crow Flies' and using bottleneck got a
good jangly streetsound.
He did -'Pistol Slapper Blues' and
then went into his usual mandolin stomper 'Going To My Home Town'
followed by 'Who's That Coming', another new one, bottleneck solos
showering from the Telecaster like splintered glass. It was all-round
excitement from Rory, the complete live performer.
As one might have expected, Strider
who were in the support spot, were over-shadowed. They gave out a
lotta energy especially in 'Higher And Higher' where there was a speedy
drum solo from Tony Brock, and impassioned vocals from pianist Ian
Kewley. Guitarist Gary Grainger has a certain stage presence and a
smooth though forceful style: he could be a man to watch. This review is from Melody Maker
Thanks to Mark Stevens for passing it along reformatted by roryfan