Gallagher gets bigger

Jim Smith
Review - March 8, 1974 - Victory Theatre - Toronto

RORY GALLAGHER is a musician anyone interested in guitar doesn't easily forget.

He gives his soul in each set, and his dexterity is astounding.

Gallagher was back in Toronto a few days ago for a pair of concerts (in one evening) at the Victory theatre -an aging, burlesque house which specializes in bare breasts during the week and rock and roll at weekends.

His set showed - as we know already - that he's not a particularly subtle guitarist.  He specializes in charges through the music, always trying to win his audience with passion as well as skill.

rg16jw.jpgBut he occasionally lapsed into a softer style that, I imagine, has been influenced by B. B. King; and, when he did that, it was possible to hear fully how talented he truly is.

I guess what I like most about Gallagher is his dedication.  He's a musician first and last.  He's capable of drinking prodigiously, but he also protects his health.  There's no messing with dope or women - the vices that seem to kill guitarists off at an early age.  So he continues to improve.

Gallagher is married to his music and it's a successful marriage, as witnessed by these 90‑minute performances when he could get away with playing for half that length of time.

In Gallagher, I personally find the closest thing to an artist that I've ever encountered in a pop musician.

You see, Clapton will never get better.  Hendrix, of course, can't improve.  But Gallagher will find new abilities within himself as he ages.  The masters - the Kings (all of them) were the same way; they took considerable ability and then disciplined themselves to get the most out of it.

Not that I'm thrilled about everything he does.  In particular, I am less than overwhelmed by his trio of sidemen.  With Gallagher being so adept at shattering an audience's resistance, it would be nice if he could find supporting musicians who are capable of providing a gentle background rather than the full-tilt rock music that they insisted on contributing at the Victory.

For Gallagher’s true abilities to be widely recognized, he'll need a band with the talent required to make Gallagher’s abilities obvious to the masses.

Still he's coming along nicely.

There's more scope in his repertoire and his stage presence gets better and better.

And that may explain why Gallagher is becoming a very important name in North American music circles.

from New Musical Express – March 30, 1974
Thanks to Brenda O'Brien for sharing & preparing this article
Thanks for the artwork to John Wainwright
reformatted by roryfan
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added 2/13/05