Rory Gallagher had the heart of a blues man and the soul of a rock n roller. While attending college in Providence, RI in the late 70’s I noticed that Rory was playing at the Paradise, on Comm Ave. in Boston. I prepared one of my friends, Paul Roidoulis, to come to the show with me by playing Rory records for a few weeks beforehand. The problem was we only had one ticket and the show was sold out. I assured Paul that it wouldn't be a problem to score a ticket outside the venue.
We headed up to Boston, got outside the Paradise and there was not a ticket to be had. Coming down the street I noticed a white station wagon and in the passenger seat was none other than Rory himself. I jumped out onto Comm Ave., ripped open the door, threw out my hand and said, “Welcome to Boston, Mr. Gallagher.”
Rory laughed and said "Ahh the welcoming committee!"
We walked with Rory towards the club. I explained that we only had one ticket and there were no tickets available outside, for any amount of money. I let Rory know I was a big fan of his and had seen him a bunch of times, but this was going to be my friend Paul's first show.
Rory handed me his guitar and said, “ Give the ticket to your friend and follow me.”
I proceeded to follow the band into the dressing room, thanked them for letting me in and told them to have a great show. Rory said, “What's the rush? Where are you going – let's sit down and talk about guitars.”
He sat there for a good half hour, talked about being a professional musician; the ups and downs, equipment and then he asked me if there was anything I'd like for him to show me. He proceeded to show me ‘Walk on Hot Coals’, ‘Moon Child’ and some Albert King songs - then he let me play “the” stratocaster. Tom O’Driscoll, Rory’s road manager, announced it was almost show time and that I would have to leave. Rory apologized and said it was time to get to business.
I asked him for an autograph, and he wrote “Keep on Rockin’, Rory Gallagher”. I went down to join the rest of the audience. Rory came out and opened with ‘Shin Kicker’ – tore the roof off the house, driving the audience crazy by throwing himself and the guitar into the balcony.
The concert was the best Rory concert I had ever seen and probably the best Rock n Roll concert that I had ever been to. Today I am a professional musician and I have to thank Rory for that. He was my shaman, he was my shanachie and I miss him very much.
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