Live at Montreux 2010 offers Gary Moore fans the chance to see the guitar master’s last taped concert performance in pristine high definition. Moore passed away on February 6, 2011, at the age of 58. This July 2010 Montreux Jazz Festival performance was recorded only half a year before his unexpected demise. Moore was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, perhaps best known for his time with Thin Lizzy. But Moore was a prolific solo artist with an extensive discography, much of it steeped in blues-rock explorations. Now available on Blu-ray, Live at Montreux 2010 marked a return to hard rock for Moore.
The rock approach is made immediately clear by the barnstorming “Over the Hills and Far Away” that opens the show. Moore’s four piece band included Neil Carter on keyboards, Jon Noyce on bass, and Darrin Mooney on drums. As an ensemble they sound great, with each musician providing support for Moore rather than grandstanding. “Thunder Rising” (one of two songs not included on the CD release) continues the stomping Celtic rock feel, while exposing a flaw – Neil Carter’s backing vocals are borderline incompetent. Moore himself has been in far better voice, but his vocals are still impassioned. He puts his all into songs like “Where Are You Now?” and “Empty Rooms.”
The no-frills approach taken by the camera crew makes for an ideal presentation. The camera lingers on Moore’s fretboard for long periods of time, allowing the viewer to appreciate his skill. Audience shots are minimal, reserved to the occasional glimpse of people in the front row quietly enjoying the show. Rather than frantic quick-cutting, the focus remains on the musicians. Accepting that some of the vocals are a bit rough, this is a really intensely rocking performance. In a way, the occasionally off-key vocals just add to the “live,” unvarnished feel of the show.
The 1080i encode looks spectacular, not surprising considering Eagle Rock Entertainment’s track record with live concert releases. The image is razor sharp from start to finish. The details of the musicians’ faces are captured realistically, from beads of sweat and matted hair to veins bulging from temples. For better or worse, you’ll be able to count the fillings in Moore’s teeth during some close-ups. Overall, I didn’t see flaws of any kind in the picture. Even the shots of the front row audience members are remarkably detailed, despite low lighting.
The audio mixes are equally impressive, with the DTS-HD Master Audio track being the best. Moore’s guitar is the star throughout, always prominent in the mix, but well-balanced with the other instruments. I think Moore’s sometimes flat vocals are better integrated into the sound than on the CD version. The bass throbs and the drums snap sharply. Even in 2.0 stereo, the audio is impressive, with clear definition between each of the four-piece band members.
Rounding out an excellent Blu-ray release, twenty minutes of previously unreleased footage from Moore’s 1997 Montreux performance are included as a bonus. The four additional songs are presented in high definition and look great considering their age. It’s quite a nice addition considering Moore was in much better voice thirteen years prior to the 2010 performance. And, of course, his guitar solos are stunning.
Gary Moore’s Live at Montreux 2010 is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and CD from Eagle Rock Entertainment. For longtime and brand new fans alike, this performance will surely please classic rock lovers as it highlights a distinctive musician at the top of his game.
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