(Castle Hendring, 74 mins.)

Rory Gallagher always seemed too unassuming to be a genuine guitar hero, and in any case, his abiding passion for blues music always pre-empted empty metal thrashing. He's favoured tight little trios ever since his auspicious Taste debut, and now receives solid backing from bassist Gerry McAvoy and drummer Brendan O’Neill (Mark Feltham stops on stage only when his harmonica work, very proficient, is required).

The spotlight's firmly fixed on Rory, though, which is the way it should be. His voice, light but strongly melodic, is superior to, say, Clapton’s, while his extraordinarily fluid fretwork is powerfully dramatic without resorting to flashy tricks (though he's not averse to preluding Tattooed Lady with an elegant Rodrigo pastiche). Feedback? Who needs it? His guitars — he switches from electric to acoustic to bottleneck and back again — are chipped and battered, but he treats them with the ease and comfort of old and respected friends. And he's certainly happy here in a 1987 hometown concert (unobtrusively timed by director Anita Notaro) at Cork's Opera House, working his way through an impressive set of songs old and new.

The more overtly melodramatic numbers like Follow Me, Shadow Play and Off The Handle help sustain a mood of friendly aggression while, in honourable 12-bar bashes such as I Ain't No Saint, Don't Start Me Talking and Sonny Boy Williamson’s My Baby She Left Me, he proves that, yes, pink men can sing the blues without posturing like skinny ninnies. Anyway, his guitar does most of the talking and its voice carries conviction. It's a joyful sound. Enjoy the music and envy the audience.  4 stars
Monty Smith

This article comes from the April 1990 issue of Q Magazine
reformatted by roryfan
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added 7/1/07