Overpowered the audience by his earnest passion for Blues

January 23rd, 1974 at  Yubinchokin Hall, Shiba, Tokyo
by Kazuhisa Yoneda

"Destined 'fast-pitch only' guitarist"

While waiting for the opening of the show, I was thinking about the first time I saw Rory's picture. With a blue worn-out dungaree shirt and a pair of jeans, holding his Stratocastar which already has lost almost all the paint, Rory was all wet, looking like a mouse who had been under water for a long time and just got his head out to breath and had his mouth wide open as if he wanted to inhale as much as he could.

 It was not raining there.  His own sweat got his clothing drenched and made his long hair stick on his forehead.  I did not know this guitarist before that.  I found out then that his name was Rory Gallagher, and he was a leader of a band  "Taste" and started to get a lot of attention in England. "Taste"was regarded as the second "Cream", but unfortunately their albums were not available in Japan and we did not have a chance to listen to them. As soon as I saw the picture, I remember, I just jumped to a conclusion that if he was a pitcher, he must be a foolishly stubborn guy who throws nothing but fast straight balls, and if he was a boxer, he would be the type who just looses off a barrage of blows.

With the introduction, "Rory Gallagher and his great band",  Rory appeared on stage with his thumb high up like a hitchhiker.  He was a sensitive and straight guitarist as I imagined, well, no, I should say more than I imagined he would be. His pounding down vocal and guitar sound with peculiar bottle neck playing completely overpowered the audience from the beginning. His action was moderate, but he moved along with  music and it was exquisite. Among the applause after each song there were audible sighs.

After some hard numbers, Rory got on his own, and played country blues songs, switching from a Dobro to an acoustic guitar to a mandolin.  He seemed to be at a loss, a little, when some "out of place" clapping by a part of the audience happened, but we enjoyed his acoustic side quite well.

Rory got back to playing more hard numbers again.  This time it was even more exciting.  His sweat scattered around, a string got busted and and his guitar strap slid down." A musician who burns out with his guitar ", if I may quote from the program, showed himself at his best. The audience, including me, responded to his music by clapping hands, stomping the floor and shaking ourselves.  The excitement of encore later was beyond description.

Rory does not use any devices, including electric effects units such as wah-wahs and fuzzes.  It is said that in England most of the blues based guitar bands either have disappeared or changed their styles during the last few years. Rory, on the other hand, who has been pursuing his beloved blues, believes in it.

Rory was a destined 'fast-pitch only' guitarist who throws to us his energy of rock gushing out from his inner self.  It is certainly true that not knowing how to throw curves is Rory's weakness.  But at the same time, it is the character of "super live guitarist"  Rory, and is his best charm.   

I was aware of my pleasant fatigue on my way back home in cold wind.  It is hard to squeeze Rory in narrow grooves of a record. Now that I have seen Rory in person, even "Live in Europe" does not appeal much to me as it used to.   

Rory Gallagher Concert Review   "Music Life" 1974 March issue
Thanks to Brenda O'Brien for finding and sharing this article
Thanks to Reiko Schnetzer for translating the article from Japanese
reformatted by roryfan
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added 1/20/08