Archive for the ‘Skid Row’ Category

Gary Moore concerts 1971 to 2007

Gary Moore concerts 1971 to 2007
gary1I first saw Gary Moore live when he was in the Irish rock band Skid Row, at a gig at Sunderland Locarno in early 1971. I remember standing on the dance floor, right in front of the stage, close up to Gary. He was a young man of 18 then, and his guitar work was simply astounding. His technique mixed the feel and tone of great blues guitarists like Peter Green and B B King, with the flash and speed of Alvin Lee. You could also hear the jazz influences in Moore’s playing and in the music of Skid Row. There was another reason why Skid Row stood out from the crowd, and deserved much more success than they ever got, and that was manic bass player Brush Shiels. Brush has a mop of afro hair (guess that’s where his name came from), played a see-through perspex bass, and ran around the stage like the proverbial whirling dervish.
gary2I saw the band once more, after Gary had left to be replaced by Paul “Tonka” Chapman, when they supported Curved Air at a gig at Newcastle City Hall. I saw Gary many more times over the years: in his own Gary Moore Band as a support act at the City Hall (I think it could have been on a bill with Stone the Crows), with Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum II at Reading Festival in 1976 and at a gig at Newcastle Poly, and with Thin Lizzy once or twice. I also saw him supporting Whitesnake on tour (his band was called G Force at that point) in 1980, and solo at Donington Monsters of Rock 1984.
gary3The last time I saw Gary Moore was at a concert at Newcastle City Hall in . I went with a group of mates and we had seats right down close to the front of the stage. As usual Gary was on great form, squeezing some exquisite blues from his trademark Gibson Les Paul. I even managed to catch his plectrum :). From the 2007 programme: “Gary Moore is ackowledged as one of the finest musicians that the British Isles has ever produced. In a career that dates back to the 60s, there are few musical genres that he has not turned his adroit musical hand to, and has graced the line-ups of several notable rock bands, Thin Lizzy, Colosseum II and Skid Row to name but three.”
gary4Typical Gary Moore set list from 2007: Oh, Pretty Woman; Hard Times; Trouble at Home; Since I Met You Baby; Midnight Blues; Eyesight to the Blind; Thirty Days; All Your Love (I Miss Loving); I Had a Dream; Too Tired; So Far Away; Empty Rooms; Don’t Believe a Word; Still Got the Blues; Walking by Myself. Encore: The Blues Is Alright; Parisienne Walkways.
Gary sadly passed away as the result of a heart attack, during the early hours of February 6, 2011. At the time, he was on holiday in Spain. He was 58. Another great talent sadly gone. Bob Geldof commented, at the time of his passing, that Moore was “without question one of the great Irish bluesmen. His playing was exceptional and beautiful. We won’t see his like again.” Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham added that “playing with Gary during the Black Rose era was a great experience. He was a great player and a great guy.”

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Curved Air 70s gigs and great memories of Sonja Kristina in concert

Curved Air 70s gigs
I believe that the bands that you see when you are young shape your musical tastes for the rest of life. Curved Air are one of those bands for me. I first saw them at Newcastle City Hall in 1971, and was mesmerised by them in many different ways. Their mix of classical music, folk and electronic sounds was quite unique, Sonja Kristina was just stunning on stage, and the musicianship of Darryl Way on violin and Francis Monkman on moog synthesiser was outstanding. And they had great songs: the hit single “Back Street Luv”, “Marie Antoinette”, the beautiful and haunting “Melinda (More or Less)”, their first single “It Happened Today”, and the set closer “Vivaldi” during which Daryl Way went wild with his electric violin. Support at that 1971 gig came from Irish band Skid Row, not to be confused with the American heavy rock band of the 80s. I’d seen the bluesy Skid Row a few months before in Sunderland Locarno, with the young Gary Moore on guitar (he just blew me away: I went home and practised and practised). However, by the time of this gig Gary had been replaced by Paul Chapman. Brush Sheils was the bass player and front man of Skid Row; his name coming from his big brush of hair. He sported a persplex bass and was totally crazy on stage: a real wild guy. I then saw Curved Air play a great set on the Friday night of the 1972 Reading Festival where they headlined over Genesis and Mungo Jerry. They came onstage late, around midnight by which time we were all sitting on the grass, waiting in the cold night. Their set was just amazing that night. Sonja sang those lovely songs over the evening mist, and brought the first night of the festival to a lovely end. From then on I saw Curved Air almost any and every time that they played in the North East. I remember gigs at Newcastle Mayfair, Newcastle Poly, Sunderland Poly and Durham Students Union. I recall Marie and I turning up at a sold out Freshers Ball at Teesside Poly one night and managing somehow to blag our way in to the hall (backhander to the doorman methinks). I saw them again at the City Hall in 1976. I think I may have seen them at Redcar Bowl. There were probably other gigs that I don’t remember; Curved Air played a lot in those days and must have been up and down the motorway playing Student Union dances most weekends. Over the years the line up changed (a lot). At one point local guy Eddie Jobson joined on violin. Jobson was a young and extremely talented multi-instrumentalist who I’d seen several times at Sunderland Locarno, playing in Hartlepool (or was it Peterlee?) band Fat Grapple. Fat Grapple were great, its a shame no recorded material of the band from that era exists. Along the way Stewart Copeland, who was to become Sonja’s husband and later of The Police, joined on drums, and Darryl Way returned to the fold. The one constant factor throughout that period was Sonja Kristina. I can picture her now, commanding the stage, top hat on her head and a cape around her shoulders, belting out Back Street Luv. Great nights. Can I go back there please? I’ve seen Curved Air a couple of times in recent years, at Holmfirth Picturedrome and at Glastonbury, and the magic is still there; for me anyway. Thanks to John for finding a signed 1971 programme on ebay for me, and for sending me an image of an early 70s poster (also bought on ebay; see scans).