Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Rory Gallagher

9th April 1978

Glasgow Apollo

I am still not quite sure how I ended up at this one, as I never really had much time for Rory Gallagher back then.  Guitar Heroes were not quite my thing, although I acknowledge one would have to have to look extremely hard to find an individual more self-effacing than Rory Gallagher.  He also played the blues, or blues based rock, and I never quite got blues music until I stumbled upon Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee and Howlin’ Wolf a decade later.

Additionally Gallagher, or Rory G, as he was invariably referred to was one of those artists (alongside the likes of Wishbone Ash and Frank Zappa) that the in-crowd at school had chosen to deify.  Basically if you did not own Irish Tour ’74 (or indeed, Argus or Zoot Allures), one was a musical outcast.  In the face of such nonsense I would immediately, and quite irrationally I now admit, put up a barrier against these artists.

No, I think during my more cynical moments I believe I was invited along to this concert solely because I had passed my driving test by then, and had access to Dad’s car.  Four of us went through to Glasgow for this one, although I cannot quite recall for sure who made up the rest of the quartet – definitely neither of my regular gig-buddies (P, M) were present.

Sitting in a pub off Renfield Street before the gig we began to hear rumours that the concert may have to be cancelled as Gallagher had been delayed or somesuch, but toddling round to the Apollo the place was clearly letting folks in, and we just caught the end of support act Joe O’Donnell.  But then began the Roadie’s Cabaret, which just went on and on and on.

It was close to 10pm when the man finally came on to a cheer more of relief than welcome: we later discovered he had found himself stranded in Cork due to a telephone operators strike (I am not making this up!), and had required a specially chartered plane and subsequent police escort to get to the Apollo even this late.  You could not help but admire the chap for such perseverance alone.

The set, although completely unfamiliar to me, with the exception of the marvellously silly Bullfrog Blues was surprisingly enjoyable.  The man could clearly play a bit, and certainly enjoyed a warm rapport with his fans.   

One tune which really left an impression was Moonchild – which encouraged me to later explore the work of Rory G, whereupon I found such gems as Edged in Blue, I’ll Admit You’re Gone and Ain’t Too Good – all sublimely introspective stuff.

Driving back through to West Lothian I succeeded in losing the M8 (how the fuck does one lose a motorway?), and somehow managed to limp home on fumes after an interminable journey through the wilds of North Lanarkshire.  That the fuel gauge moved not a millimetre when Dad started up the car for work the next morning, impressed him not one bit.  

Set List (there may have been a few more)

Secret Agent
Body and Soul
Bullfrog Blues
Going To My Hometown
Down on 31st Street
Souped Up Ford
Tattooed Lady
Brute Force and Ignorance
Cruise On Out

Let Me In
Messing With The Kid

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