I was shocked to learn of Gary Moore’s untimely death from an apparent heart attack on February 6th, 2011, while he was on holiday in Spain. He was only 58 at the time, and still in his prime. Throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s, Moore’s solo work had focused primarily on rock and metal, while he also worked with the bands Skid Row (not the Sebastian Bach-led flavor), Thin Lizzy, and G-Force. In 1990, Moore released the electric blues masterpiece, Still Got The Blues, which became his most successful and well received album, so, understandably, Moore stuck primarily to the blues genre for the better part of the last two decades.
2010 saw Gary Moore making a return to his rock roots with a tour that would end up focusing mostly on his older rock material from the 1980’s, and a new album of Celtic-flavored rock was supposedly also in the works. Three of the new songs from those sessions were proudly on display when he played the Montreux Jazz Festival this one last time on July 6, 2010, so if that new album never sees the light of day, at least we will always have them to enjoy here.
The video begins with a darkened stage illuminated only by a couple of swirling spotlights, as intro music signals the start of the show. After a few minutes Moore and his three-piece backing band of Neil Carter (keyboards, guitar), Jon Noyce (bass), and Darrin Mooney (drums) take the stage. Moore opens the show with two of the best tracks, “Over The Hills And Far Away,” and “Thunder Rising”, “off his 1987 album, Wild Frontier, which was also chock full of the Celtic imagery and history of his Irish homeland.
You may be taken aback by the amount of weight Moore had put on recently, looking to be about 40 pounds heavier than he was only a few years ago. He was also sweating profusely just moments into the first song, and his performance was a bit lethargic when compared to all of the other times I have seen him play. Just watch the 1997 bonus footage on this disk, or any of his other excellent concert DVDs, to see what I mean. This video certainly gives some indications as to how Moore’s sudden passing at the young age of 58 from a heart attack could have happened.
This is not to say Moore gave a bad performance this night, far from it, it was just a little difficult to watch especially with the news of his sudden passing still fresh in your mind. Moore’s guitar prowess on his worse day is still better than most guys on their best and he certainly tears it up aplenty this night. What a treat it was to hear old gems like the Phil Lynot-penned “Military Man,” from Moore’s excellent 1985 album Run for Cover, and the gorgeous power ballad “Empty Rooms,” from his seminal 1983 release Victims of the Future.
For the blues purists, Moore does also give props to Still Got The Blues with a fiery performance of “Walking By Myself,” and of course, the always jaw-dropping title track. Moore closes the show with yet another breathtaking, 11-minute, performance of “Parisienne Walkways,” a song I could watch him perform every day for the rest of my life, and still get choked up every time I see it. They should officially rename a walkway in Paris after him.
What really makes this release special, though, are those three new songs he performs, because who knows if and when they will ever be officially released on CD. First up was “Days Of Heroes” and it is easily one of the heaviest tracks Moore has penned in the last two decades. The rhythm section sounds like an army of galloping Clydesdales supporting Moore’s metal riffing. “Where Are You Now” is a slow grinding ballad that finds Moore dialing in a barely crunchy tone while alternately strumming and arpeggiating some huge, ringing, open chords. As the song progresses he continually adds more thick overdrive to his tone, making it a power ballad in the truest sense. “Oh Wild One” is trademark Gary Moore, sounding like an Irish jig on steroids as he tells the story of a lost hero of his old Dublin days. This is one album I definitely need to hear.
The production quality for this Blu-ray release is outstanding. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 option is most definitely your track of choice. The uncompressed surround mix provides superb detail and clarity and puts Gary and the boys smack dab in your living room with their amps cranked to 11. LPCM 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio tracks are also included, but they do not really compare. The HD video is nearly flawless and the camera works is about as good as it gets. If only Iron Maiden could play Montreux and finally get a concert DVD filmed right.
Bonus features include four tracks, “One Good Reason,” “Oh Pretty Woman,” “Still Got The Blues,” and “Walking By Myself,” that were filmed during Moore’s 1997 Montreux performance. A four page insert also features an excellent essay written by Dave Ling, of Classic Rock Magazine.
Live At Montreux 2010 may not be the best place to start if you are just getting yourself acquainted with the Gary Moore legacy, Live At Montreux 1990 is the one for that, just make sure that you eventually end up here.
01. Over The Hills And Far Away
02. Thunder Rising
03. Military Man
04. Days Of Heroes
05. Where Are You Now?
06. So Far Away / Empty Rooms
07. Oh Wild One
08. Blood Of Emeralds
09. Out In The Fields
10. Still Got The Blues
11. Walking By Myself
12. Johnny Boy
13. Parisienne Walkways
Performance – 7/10
Production – 9/10