Fans of the glory days of ‘70s hard rock may remember guitar maestro Gary Moore via his three stints with his childhood friend (the late) Phil Lynott’s beloved Irish hard rock band Thin Lizzy. There, he made his name as a guitar virtuoso before going on his own in the 1980s, when he continued to be a hit with the hard rock/metal community, while also writing occasional ballads (like many heavy ‘80s groups).
By 1990, Moore had returned to his first love, blues rock, and toured behind the electric blues album Still Got The Blues, released that same year. Over the next 11 years, starting in July of ‘90, he played five memorable shows at the annual Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
Moore’s monstrous Montreux shows from 1990, 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001 were released as Essential Montreux in audio form as a 5-CD box set and mp3 download last year. But as powerful as hearing the Belfast bluesman is, the visual aspect is what does his music true justice.
And now, after previously only being available on film via import, for the first time, these shows have been released in America as a 2-DVD set with a bonus CD entitled The Definitive Montreux Collection (Eagle Rock Entertainment).
The two DVDs here highlight 39 different songs from the five concerts and have all the essential post-Thin Lizzy Gary Moore cuts. The sets are mostly blues-based, but Moore does bring back his hard rock and metal sides every now and then.
In his 1990 set, Moore, with long, messy hair ripped through 15 cuts, about half of which are captured on the first DVD. Highlights include the loud and wild slide guitar-propelled hard rockin’ blues of “Moving On,” the soulful blues of “Midnight Blues,” and Albert Collins’ guest lead vocals and guitar playing on “Cold, Cold Feeling.”
In the 1995 set, the beloved hit and strings-aided ballad “Still Got The Blues” is a highlight (but is oddly excluded from the 1990 portion of the first DVD), as is the intimate “All Your Love.” Interesting to note is the sound of Moore’s voice in this performance, which has a trace of Steve Winwood to these ears.