Nick Morgan and crew
Review by Nick Morgan
Hammersmith Apollo, London
May 1st 2009
Have you heard of Walking with the Dinosaurs?
It was originally a TV show, but now is a live ‘experience’.
can see and hear these long-forgotten, heavy-framed
and slow-moving creatures from the past, who defied
evolution with their refusal to adapt to a changing
world. Did you know that despite having huge skulls
some had brains the size of a pea? Others had flexible
jaws to allow them to feed non-stop in order to
sustain their enormous bulk.
sense of smell was often acute, no doubt to allow
them to pick up the foul scents and odours that
mapped their own paths, and those of their fellow
creatures. To the unprepared, their archaic, almost
antique appearance was not only fearsome and terrifying,
but also strangely melancholic, conjuring up as
it did the vision of a dying race doomed to live
on for ever only in the frail memories of mankind.
But these things are so real, you feel you can simply
reach out and touch them… Then I remembered
I was sitting in the stalls of the Hammersmith Apollo
(now sponsored, you’ll be pleased to know,
by HMV) for a Gary
Moore concert, and the dinosaurs were
all around me, mostly, as it happens, wearing faded
Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd T-shirts.
Some specimens were certainly more enterprising
than others. It’s the first time I’ve
seen anyone manage to get a bottle of spirits into
the place: an increasingly animated couple who sat
happily sipping (well, it’s London, so it
must have been glugging) rum and coke all night.
probably true to say that there are few bigger dinosaurs
of rock than axeman Gary Moore, whose haircut and
facial expressions both belong to a long-lost era.
I first saw him back in the early 1970s with Skid
Row, when he was being touted as the latest ‘fastest
guitarist in the world’. Subsequently, he
famously teamed up with Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy,
and has made many guest appearances with numerous
notable names, in addition to pursuing a successful
solo career, albeit one with a fast-fading fan-base
demographic, as the marketeers might say. However,
most of them are sufficiently compos mentis to know
exactly what it is they’ve come to hear, and
Gary doesn’t disappoint. Indeed, the only
surprise of the night is just how good Mr Moore
was, from start to finish. This may be pretty one-dimensional
stuff, but Gary, grimaces and all, delivers it perfectly.
a clutch of guitars, including at least three Gibson
Les Pauls (but sadly not the famous 1959 model that
Moore bought from his one-time mentor Peter Green,
and recently sold for a small fortune), a Telecaster
and a Stratocaster, and a raft of pedals, Moore
performed almost every trick in the blues-rock guitarist’s
hand-book. It was an absolutely engrossing performance
from a technical perspective, featuring songs from
Moore’s new album, Bad for You Baby, such
as Muddy Waters’ ‘Walking through the
park’, and ‘Mojo boogie’, where
Moore’s bottleneck playing revealed his only
apparent weak spot. ‘I love you more than
you’ll ever know’’, a very tasteful
slow blues, displayed a mastery of the volume control
to deliver a haunting solo, whilst ‘Have you
heard’, from 2007’s Close as You Get
featured stunning sustain and wonderfully controlled
feedback; ‘perfect’ was what I wrote
in the notebook.
good old Gary is what I say. He didn’t have
a lot to say for himself, let the guitars do all
the talking really, delighted his audience by his
showboating at the front of the stage, and predictably
enough left his audience in raptures with an encore
of ‘Parisian Walkways’. Not bad at all
for a bunch of old dinosaurs. - Nick Morgan
(concert photographs by Kate)
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