Rory Gallagher, David Lindley, Juan Martin and Richard Thompson
                                David Lindly               Richard Thompson             Rory Gallagher        Juan Martin      

If the music industry ever gets around to awarding prizes for good ideas, my nomination will be Paul Charles of Asgard.  It was his idea to bring four world renowned guitarists together under one roof and it almost worked.

Part of the reason it didn’t work one hundred percent was beyond his control.  Richard Thompson, up to his eyes in flu, and at the point of canceling the gig, played well below his best, but more of that later.  Juan Martin, however, was a bad choice for this evening. Brilliant guitarist he is, but his style of playing is so far away from the other three that his performance on this night tended to kill the atmosphere.  An unfortunate choice.

The profusion of Gallagher t-shirts in the foyer at the start of the evening underlined who many of the audience had come to see, but they, like the rest of the house, enjoyed an excellent set by David Lindley that immediately followed the brief opening by the four artists playing together.  David played much of his spot lap-steel style, ranging in material from his Kaleidoscope days through to more recent times.

He introduced Juan Martin, a flamenco style guitarist who has shot to national fame on the strength of his playing the ‘Thorn Birds’ theme.  He showed there’s more to him than pleasant ditties, but the numbers he chose were all on the long side.  The audience got restless.  There was even a cry of “Speech!” from one wag during a long introduction.  For his penultimate number he invited Lindley and Thompson to join him, but even this failed to catch the imagination of the restless pack.

After the break a well below-par Richard Thompson started the second half.  Clearly off-form, he did his best to go through a mixed set that, had he been well and on form, would have demonstrated the wide range of styles he can play in.  Slip-jigs, new self-penned material and rock & roll, all were tried, but his flu-racked body couldn’t keep it together.

The yell that heralded Rory Gallagher confirmed that he was the man many had come to see.

Changing between acoustic, National steel, and, for an all too brief two song spot, electric guitar, he put a show together that was head and shoulders above anything else that night. What a great player this man is!  There was a fire about him that only David Lindley had got even close to matching. When the other three guests returned for an encore with Rory, the interplay between him and Lindley was a treat to the ears.

The “Egg on Face” Award of the night went to David.  There he was wondering why no sound came out of his instrument, whilst behind him, much to the crowd’s amusement stood a roadie with the D.I. lead in his hand!

So there you have it - a curate’s egg of an evening.  When it worked, it worked well.  I for one would love Paul Charles to have another go soon - flu permitting.

This article comes for the 3/24/84 issue of Kerrang about "Guitar Night at the Dominion Theatre"
Thanks to Brenda O'Brien for sharing and preparing the article
reformatted by roryfan
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added 12/9/07