"Rory Gallagher's Irish Tour '74" Blu-ray Review
April 21, 2011 by Zach Demeter
Eagle Rock Entertainment is proud to announce the April 12 CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and 2LP vinyl release of Rory Gallagher’s Irish Tour ’74, a stunning document of extraordinary blues-rock power from one of the world’s greatest guitarists of all-time. Captured at a time when Gallagher was voted the #1 guitar player by Melody Maker Magazine, Irish Tour is a brilliant showcase of his musical prowess. Award-winning filmmaker Tony Palmer followed Gallagher around Ireland as audiences went wild night after night. The film—which enjoyed a successful run in theaters—has been beautifully restored and remastered from the original footage, and is making its Blu-Ray debut.
The two-hour DVD/Blu-Ray features nine jams—“Walk On Hot Coals,” “Tattoo’d Lady,” “Who’s That Coming,” “A Million Miles Away,” “Going To My Home Town,” “Cradle Rock,” “As The Crow Flies,” “Hands Off” and “Bullfrog Blues”—as well as bonus home movie footage from Gallagher’s Japanese tour of the same year. Also on the DVD/Blu-ray is the 1972 RTE (Irish television network) half-hour documentary “Rory Gallagher: Music Makers.” Highlights on this rare gem include “Toredown,” “Laundromat,” “Pistol Slapper Blues,” and “Don’t Know Where I’m Going.” Regarded as one of the greatest live albums of all time, the Irish Tour CD/vinyl captures Rory’s exceptional playing, sans overdubs and studio fixes. The sound is raw, real Rory. The CD’s 10 tracks are “Cradle Rock,” “I Wonder Who,” “Tattoo’d Lady,” “Too Much Alcohol,” “As The Crow Flies,” “A Million Miles Away,” “Walk On Hot Coals,” “Who’s That Comin’,” “Back On My Stompin’ Ground” and “Maritime.” The vinyl is a double-album. Side A has “Cradle Rock,” “I Wonder Who” and “Tattoo’d Lady.” Side B has “Too Much Alcohol,” “As The Crow Flies” and “A Million Miles Away.” Side C has “”Walk On Hot Coals” and “Who’s That Comin’.” Side D has “Back On My Stompin’ Ground” and “Maritime.”
We once again enter into territory I’m completely unfamiliar with as my knowledge of Gallagher’s works is only what I’ve heard on local stations as I’m flipping through stations in the car. Not to say I can’t enjoy his music on some level, but it’s definitely not music I listen to by choice—and with this concert bringing back some of Gallagher’s most treasured and favored songs, I can say that I did at least recognize a few of them…and quite remarkably they don’t sound too bad for a concert this old. There’s always that bit of live concert difference when you hear songs you’re used to listening to the studio recordings of, but overall this was quite an enjoyable concert…especially with the dated aspect of it; it somehow made it feel more special that I was seeing this time capsule of a concert.
The track list includes:
1) Walk On Hot Coals
2) Tattoo'd Lady
3) Who's That Coming
4) A Million Miles Away
5) Going To My Home Town
6) Cradle Rock
7) As The Crow Flies
8) Hands Off
9) Bullfrog Blues
Overall a Recommended disc for fans, but if you’re like me and don’t immediately gravitate towards music of this era then you’ll want to give it a rental first.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Rory Gallagher – Irish Tour ‘74 to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. A booklet inside contains information and photos from the concert as well as information about the group and this particular production, while the menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion.
The video arrives in an AVC encoded 1080i transfer and the concert itself contains a…well, mixed transfer. It does look good for its age, but is overly soft and doesn’t really boast too much detail as a result. It still shines on occasion, but close up shots are very obviously a bit blurry; it’s still a nice presentation overall, though. As is usual with Eagle Rock releases, the concerts boasts three audio tracks as well, a DTS-HD MA, DD5.1 and a PCM track. All three have their merits, but it’s the DTS-HD that is the king of the listing here, as it has a nice spread about the room and represents the individual musical styling’s remarkably well.
Audio Commentary with Donal Gallagher and Gerry McAvoy
Music Maker Documentary
Japanese Tour ’74 In Your Town
Fun extras for the fans but I admittedly didn’t get much out of it. The commentary was pretty interesting though since it acts as kind of a retrospective of Gallagher and this tour in particular. All total there’s about two and a half hours of extras (commentary included, naturally) included and fans will absolutely love every minute of them. A Highly Recommended release for fans.
Rory Gallagher – Irish Tour ’74 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.