Belfast, Ireland’s Gary Moore has remained relatively unknown here in the United States. His popularity, and status as a guitar legend, has been much greater in Europe and Japan, which has been typical of many great musicians, unfortunately. Moore has been playing professionally since the late-sixties, and has appeared in numerous bands before focusing on his solo career around 1982, with the release of his seminal, metal powerhouse Corridors Of Power. He continued in the hard-rock/metal vein for the remainder of the decade, before eventually deciding to take a turn towards the music that was his real passion–THE BLUES. In 1990, he released Still Got The Blues, the most renowned and best-selling release of his career, and has stuck primarily to that album’s blues-rock style ever since.
I’ll be perfectly candid with you here, and slam me if you must, but I have never been a huge fan of most of the "old-school" blues-guitar legends such as Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Albert King, and the like. Don’t get me wrong, I love many of the great SONGS these guys have written, I just much prefer hearing them covered by some of my favorite later-generation blues guitarists such as Moore, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Warren Haynes, Robben Ford, and Joe Bonamassa. I like my blues cranked through an overdriven Marshal amp, via the strings of a Gibson Les Paul or Fender Strat. Gary Moore tackles this blues-rock hybrid as good, or better, than anyone in the business. His vocals usually leave a lot to be desired, but damn if he doesn’t sound great singing the blues.
Live At Montreux 1990, features Moore‘s performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 7, 1990, during his tour for Still Got The Blues. During his metal days, Moore typically performed in the power-trio format, such as on his Monsters Of Rock DVD, but for this tour he was backed by the seven-member Midnight Blues Band, an exceptionally talented group of musicians featuring Don Airey on keyboards, Andy Pyle on bass, Graham Walker on drums, as well as a four-member horn section. This made for a huge sound, and the three dynamic audio mixes
captured it all marvelously. I give the edge to the DTS surround mix since the
rear surround speakers were used extensively, and each instrument could be heard with biting clarity. For those of you with only stereo setups, don’t worry, the PCM stereo track was powerful, and really highlighted Moore‘s potent guitar tone. The video was nearly as impressive, and the camera work was superb. Lots of long, sweeping craned camera shots exposing the entire stage, as well as the perfect amount of close-ups of Moore‘s astonishing fretwork. For a 1990 recording, this DVD has some outstanding production quality.
Blues guitar legend, and one of Moore‘s idols, Albert
Collins made a guest performance at this show, joining Moore on
"Too Tired", "Cold Cold Feeling", "Further On Up The Road", and the second encore "The Blues Is Alright". Their styles are very different, as Collins uses a cleaner tone, always capos the seventh fret, and picks with his fingers. Moore was definitely getting off jamming with one of his idols, and it was interesting to watch these two contrasting styles complement each other on these songs. The highlights of
the 1990 performance were "Texas Strut" and "The Messiah Will Come Again". On "Texas Strut", Moore pays homage to some of Texas’ legendary blues guitarists including Stevie Ray Vaughan and Billy Gibbons, as Airey follows his lead with some excellent Hammond organ playing. For the final encore of the night–he came out for three–Moore paid tribute to the late, great Roy Buchanan with a passionate and powerful version of his classic "The
Messiah Will Come Again". Moore made his guitar cry, scream, and sing the blues, on the way to making this great song his own. That performance ranks up in the top ten live guitar performances I have ever seen. Watch it and tell me I’m wrong.
Three bonus songs are included from Moore‘s performance at the 1997 Montreux Jazz Festival. This night Moore played his rock material instead of the blues. He opened the set with a smoking version of "Out In the Fields", which originally featured Thin Lizzy‘s Phil Lynott. He closed the show with "Parisienne Walkways" a hauntingly beautiful instrumental that just may be the best performance on this DVD. Unfortunately the bonus songs were only presented with a PCM stereo track, but it is a good one at that. The video was actually better, for the 1997 footage, since it was filmed in Hi-Def.
Gary Moore has been on a roll since releasing Still Got The Blues in 1990, and his latest blues-based CD, 2004’s Power Of The Blues may be his best yet. It is great to see an incredible guitarist like Moore rediscover himself this late in his career, and be playing the music he loves with such passion and enthusiasm. I, for one, am grateful.
Oh Pretty Woman
Walking By Myself
All Your Love
Still Got The Blues
Too Tired (featuring Albert Collins)
Cold Cold Feeling (featuring Albert Collins)
Further On Up The Road (featuring Albert Collins)
King Of The Blues
Stop Messing Around
The Blues Is Alright (featuring Albert Collins)
The Messiah Will Come Again
Bonus Songs (1997)
Out In The Fields
Over The Hills & Far Away
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