Monday, February 7, 2011

RIP Gary Moore

Fifty-eight is not old. It´s the prime of life. And Gary Moore was definitely in the prime of his life with, we would have hoped, many years of performance and recording ahead. It just goes to show that you should ´catch ´em while you can´.

I had the opportunity of seeing Moore play a few times. The last was about three years ago in Oxford. I may have first seen him as a member of Skid Row or Thin Lizzy. Time takes the edge off the memory and you forget the individual line-up of bands seen through a ´high´, whether natural or chemically induced.

I do, however, vividly remember having a mild ´punch-up´ with Gary Moore in Manchester circa 1973. At my instigation, we´d hired his power trio band of the time to play at our college football team´s end-of-season, money-raiser. ´Disco, live band, late bar!´, as our homemade posters proclaimed. We were later to agree that the addition of a live band has been both unneccessary and a mistake.

Having arrived late, Moore and fellow members had to tune up and check their PA with the venue already half-full of people drinking and waiting for the disco to begin. Moore was patently ´out of his head´ and his tune-up consisted of his trade-marked feedback, blasted through speakers at the highest volume. It was truly excruitiating. With complaints building it fell to me to approach the stage area and shout at Moore to turn it down a bit. I was ignored at first but eventually, following an increasingly heated exchange, got them to leave the stage.

Scene two followed ninety minutes or so later when I had to go their ´dressing room´ to give them their ´on stage in 10´ warning. Their dressing room doubled as our college magazine editorial and print room, with our much valued print machine in one corner. To my absolute horror and fury I entered the room to find Moore, by now totally away with the fairies, pissing over the machine.

I´m afraid I lost it. Blows were exchanged. Luckily, we were pulled apart by wiser heads and, although late, the band went on.

Moore had his revenge. After what can only be called an hour of ear-bursting white noise, with people leaving in droves and an increasing portion demanding money back, Gary Moore and his electricity supply had to be parted.

It was a ruined evening, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. I felt doubly bad not only having been the one to suggest hiring the band, but feeling personally let down by someone I held in high esteem. It took me many years before I could forget this episode and appreciate Gary Moore the musician again. About 35 in fact...

I am fortunate in having seem him at Oxford and to have a more positive memory of an undoubtedly great blues and rock guitar player.

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