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Rory Gallagher: Live at Rockpalast

Doug Collette By

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Rory Gallagher
Live at Rockpalast 1976-1990
Eagle Vision
2007

In nearly ten hours of footage, Live at Rockpalast 1976-1990 offers a varied perspective of Irish bluesman Rory Gallagher because its performances, filmed at various venues over a fifteen-year period, are just part of a complete package.

The interview included on the first of three discs furnishes something of a belated introduction to the artist that is the subject of the set. Graciously fielding some truly inane questions from the host of the German TV series, Gallagher nonetheless gives sincere answers, emphasizing the importance of bonding with the audience he plays for no matter the venue, He steadfastly refused to intellectualize what he does, but implies a serious, no-nonsense approach that carries over to his band. He is articulate if not eloquent, but then his guitar was his true means of expression after all.

It's startling to see what devotion Gallagher retained for his audiences and how that reciprocal loyalty fueled the fire of passionate performances. There are formal concerts here as well as jam sessions, including covers by Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry. Rory is occasionally joined by keyboards, horns and harp for extra instrumental color as well as guests lke Scottish soulman and kindred spirit Frankie Miller as well as the former bassist of Cream, Jack Bruce, for whom Rory graciously relegates himself and his band to backup.

The additional instrumentation, as when Gallagher himself pulls out the bottleneck, merely extends the gutsy intensity of the playing, whether the frontman is in acoustic or electric mode. His intensity rarely falters, even when he's chording away on the mandolin during "Going to My Hometown. In watching the close- ups of his hands on the fretboard and hearing the ever so clean audio mix (5.1 is available too), one can only marvel that it is fortuitous indeed this singular talent was captured for posterity.

Glossy color photos the likes of which a fan will relish and a novice would find eye-catching adorn the cover of Live at Rockpalast 1976-1990. The graphics inside are no less arresting, while the pithy bio in the enclosed booklet, by noted British music journalist Chris Welch, along with the background info on the shows as offered by Donal Gallagher (who oversaw these all-posthumous releases of his brother's) make the double-fold package worth keeping in every respect.

Production Notes
Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Enhanced, Live, NTSC
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Run Time: 591 minutes

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