by Andy Mellen

Ever since my arrival in Winnipeg some four and a half years ago, I've been extolling the merits of Rory Gallagher, a young Irishman who, in my opinion, ranks as the leading rock guitarist on the face of this earth. This past Tuesday, the dynamic Mr. Gallagher made believers of some 2,000 Winnipeggers fortunate enough to witness the best band to hit this city in ages.

Although the University of Manitoba's multi-purpose room might not be the ideal site for a rock and roll concert, Gallagher and his band - consisting of bassist Gerry MacAvoy, drummer Rod de’Ath and Lou Martin on keyboard - performed two of the finest sets I've ever been privileged to see. From the explosive opening notes of Messin' with the Kid through scorching rockers, like In Your Town and Hands Off, Gallagher displayed an astonishing mastery of the electric guitar. I Wonder Who featured some amazing scat vocalizing, in which Rory sang the guitar notes in unison with his instrument, while a short acoustic break consisting of Too Much Alcohol and Pistol Slapper Blues offered a fine example if the man's versatility. I could rave on all day, so let it suffice to say that the electrifying exhibition staged by Rory and his mates has to stand as one of the best shows music fans in this city are ever likely to observe.

Paul Butterfield and his latest band, Better Days, were slightly out muscled by the multi-talented Mr. Gallagher, but nevertheless performed a solid selection of material culled from the group's two albums. Butterfield is still one of the most gifted harmonica players in the business, and in Better Days he has assembled his best band since the old East-West Days, when people like Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop were at their peak. Guitarist Ames Garrett displayed a nice touch with a slide, and the rest of the band really cooked on numbers like Drive My Automobile and Louisiana Flood. It was obvious , though, that this was a Rory Gallagher crowd, and a night in which the up-and-coming star outdistanced the proven veteran. He's barely 25, yet he plays like a man with more than 20 years experience. I'm sure I echo the sentiments of many others when I say that Rory Gallagher will be welcome back in Winnipeg any time he might care to return. Hopefully , the wait won't be too long.
This review comes during the same tour referred to in Article 179
This article comes from the Feb. 16, 1974 of The Winnipeg Free Press
Thanks to Flo Kraft for passing it along
reformatted by roryfan
thanks to stefanos for the background

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