RORY GALLAGHER made his first London appearance for a long time at the Marquee recently, with a new band, new songs, but the same old Stratocaster, and a crowd that cheered before he even played a note.
There was just a chance the fans might not have liked what he was going to do, but only a faint one. When you pay to see Rory Gallagher, you always get your money's worth.
The songs, mainly from his new album, which sold 7000 in its first week of release, were naturally stronger live, and, before very long, they'll be as familiar as " What's Going ON" and other Taste favourites were.
Rory might not have been at his best, but it was still a good night. The band is fine, with Wilgar Campbell, just the right sort of drummer and Gerry McAvoy, the right bass player for Gallagher. And it's more Rory Gallagher than Taste ever was. The balance was good and the sound level was perfect, loud enough but never overpowering.
“Laundromat,” ‘For The Last Time,” “Sinner Boy” and “Wave Myself Goodbye” are typical Gallagher songs, good ones at that, and the new band offers more variety than the old one did. Rory uses acoustic guitar on a couple of things and even featured mandolin.
He really puts himself into a performance, and you'd have to go a long way to find a better audience-artist relationship. A live album ought to be done -“Live Taste’- give a better impression of what that band was all about than their studio LP's.
“When you get before an audience, the songs are bound to be more vibrant than in a studio,” says Rory. “But I do try to get the same feeling within the band when we record as I do on stage. So, in effect, records are no different, except that you haven't an audience and studios tend to he a bit clinical.
“But when I write a song I don't envisage myself in a studio, wearing headphones and surrounded by wires. I see myself as I would be doing it on stage.”
Rory says he was “a little apprehensive” about going back on the road — but only because he always is before doing a gig. And he was out of business for over six months.
Why is Rory such a personality on stage? Well, it's not surprising to learn that he's very much anti superstar. “I'm no different from the people in the audience. People who say to an audience ‘Sit down, shut up and listen, we're going to educate you,’ well you just can't say that sort of thing. And a lot of people announce that they're going to do an acoustic number and then take five minutes to get comfortable and set the mikes up right. You should just pick up the guitar and do it.
“The main thing is that you enjoy playing, or whatever you do. If you are a plumber or a builder, that's fine if you really enjoy it. You are 90 per cent what you do. I'm no different from Tommy Jones from Scunthorpe who mends roofs, except that I cant do what he does.”
Rory says he does on stage what he himself would like to see his favourite artists do.. “That's not being pompous. I just say I'm going to do a song called so and so and ‘hope you like it.’ That's being honest. People who waste time saying things like 'I wish they'd make these guitars in tune when they make than,’ well, they're not respecting their audience. You can certainly learn what not to do by going to see other people.”
You can tell he's really enjoying himself now. And he's particularly happy about playing clubs again, although he enjoys the concert halls “because I've got used to them.”
After the present tour, the band has an Irish trip lined up, plus some dates on the Continent, and by July, Rory thinks they'll be doing another album. " I have some of the songs and the whole concept of the album is forming. Again, it will be slightly different from what I've done before. We will do a live one sometime, but I don't just want to do numbers that are already on record."
As regards audience reactions, Rory says: "They've been very good. People seem to be listening more, as well as moving about a bit."
Rory's enjoying himself, and so are his fans.
he says, are ruining themselves with self-indulgent behavior in front
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