Rory Gallagher had not played a gig in his hometown in many years before this concert was filmed in 1987. His friends and neighbors in Cork, Ireland turned out in force to cheer him on in one of his finest recorded performances. Although Gallagher sold a reported 30 million records before his untimely death in 1995, he never really broke big in the U.S. It’s a shame too, because he was an incredible guitar player, as this DVD fully demonstrates.
He was touring behind the Defender album at the time, so he opens the show with a song from it titled “Continental Op.” But it's his second song, the classic “Tattoo’d Lady” that puts this crowd on their feet. To say they're into it is an understatement. When Gallagher unleashes the first of many amazing solos on his trademark ‘61 Strat, the place just erupts. Blues aficionado that he was, Rory had to include a nod to one of the old masters. At this show he pulls out “When My Baby She Left Me” by Sonny Boy Williamson, which lights up the joint.
Gallagher’s two-song, acoustic solo set is a highlight of this DVD. He straps on an old National steel guitar and plays some amazing slide during “Wanted Blues.” It almost sounds like the ghost of Robert Johnson has visited Cork for a few minutes. The rest of the show is a balls-out rave-up, especially his encore “Loanshark Blues” from Defender. My guess is the local record shops did a bang-up job on that record the next day.
This concert was originally released in 1989 as Messin' With The Kid, on VHS. Live In Cork on DVD adds much to the original concert. Extras include press archives, a photo gallery, a tour of some of his favorite spots in Cork, and a selection of memorabilia. All in all, Live In Cork presents Rory Gallagher at the top of his form, and should be viewed by all fans of great blues guitar playing.