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Music Review: Gary Moore – Live at Montreux 2010

Rock and blues guitar great Gary Moore passed away on February 6, 2011. The 58-year-old Irish rocker gave his final recorded live performance in July of 2010 at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Eagle Rock Entertainment has issued that performance as Live at Montreux 2010 on CD, DVD and Blu-ray. The CD contains 11 of the 13 songs performed, packing in 77 minutes of music. The mix keeps Moore’s searing leads prominent, making this a vital release for guitar rock fans.

After years of blues explorations, this performance marked a return to hard-charging rock for Moore. In fact, the former Thin Lizzy guitarist was working on a new rock album at the time of his death. Providing a hint of what might’ve been, Moore performed three brand new songs that night at Montreux – all of which are included here. “Days of Heroes” is a strident, stomping rocker with Moore belting a furious vocal. “Where Are You Now” leans into a slow, insistent beat. Moore throws himself into vocal, straining to remain on key at times. “Oh Wild One” boasts an instantly memorable riff, easily the poppiest of the three new compositions.

Gary MooreThis is not a prettied-up live album, since the mix keeps things rough and ready. Moore’s vocals are a little too naked at times, frequently flat and generally haggard. But in the end, the warts-and-all sound makes for a very honest-sounding document. His guitar prowess is never in doubt, with loud, sinewy solos cutting through the muscular ensemble playing. Longtime Moore collaborator Neil Carter handles keyboards and rhythm guitar. Former latter-era Jethro Tull bassist Jon Noyce provides the bottom. Current Primal Scream drummer Darrin Mooney rounds out the powerful rhythm section.

Though more of a cult favorite in the U.S., Moore scored decent-sized hits in the U.K., two of which bookend Live at Montreux 2010. “Over the Hills and Far Away,” a U.K. top 20 single (and minor U.S. hit on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart) storms out of the gate to open the album. Moore’s best known hit “Parisienne Walkways,” co-written and originally sung by Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, wraps things up. Clocking in at an epic 11 minutes, it’s the perfect closer to Moore’s final moment in the spotlight.

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