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Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 (Blu-ray Review)

I’m always up for new discoveries when it comes to music and musicians.  Being a hard rock aficionado and guitar geek, why is it that I had never heard of Rory Gallagher?  In fact the whole staff at Why So Blu hadn’t heard of him.  I decided to go ahead and venture into unexplored territory with the Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 Blu-ray.  In a sense you really can’t go wrong when some of the greatest living guitar legends of all time like Slash, Brian  May, Glenn Tipton, and The Edge, cite Gallagher as a major influence in their playing of the guitar.  That’s all I needed to know before I dove into the Blu-ray. 

Film  

Rory Gallagher and his band of Irishmen toured all of Ireland during times of political unrest during the 70’s.  It’s this sense of fearlessness to bring his fellow countrymen rock ‘n roll that won the hearts of his people and planted the seeds of the early “Irish Rock” movement.  Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 chronicles several tour dates of his Irish tour.  A pretty successful one at that.

Irish Tour ’74 is a concert and a film all in one.  The film opens with some beautiful shots of the Irish coast while the opening song “Walk On Hot Coals” jams over the footage before cutting to Rory and the band on stage jamming on.  In all honesty, the band ROCKS!  Rory is a great guitarist and his voice is very soulful.  If you were to look at him you wouldn’t think the boy could have belted out vocals the way he did.  But he did!  In addition to being one of the earliest Irish guitar Gods of the time, Rory Gallagher and his band could have even been considered a progressive band of sorts.  There are only nine songs on the Blu-ray, and it runs at almost 90 minutes in length.  That’s nearly ten minutes per song averaged out.  Wow!

The track listing is as follows:

  • 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
  • Bullfrog Blues

One of the things that really struck a chord is that during an interview portion of the film Rory says that he has never wished for fame or money or any of the excesses or rewards that come with being a famous musician.  Rory totally downplays his emerging success, but it’s believable.  He seems like he was most content to just get up there and jam with his mates.  He was of afraid of losing that.

Rory Gallagher passed away in 1995 due to complications from a liver transplant.  If you’ve never heard of the man or seen any of his shows on television or video then you owe it to yourself to give Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 spin on Blu-ray.  If you’re a musician or play the guitar then you really NEED to check this Blu-ray out.  The only critical drawback of this release is that it’s really short.  Other than that, it’s pretty amazing.  Pass me a Guinness!

Video 

Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 is presented in 1080i 16X9 (1.78:1).  1080i is the optimal playback resolution for live music and sporting events, so please don’t get upset that it’s not 1080p.  1080i is the way live music should be watched on Blu-ray.

I did not know until the credit scroll at the end that this film was remastered (or restored?) in 2K.  It sure didn’t look it.  I think they may have remastered it from 16mm, but I can’t confirm that.  Scenes not involving their musical performances were generally good.  Every one looked healthy, flesh tones looked natural, and grain was not overly present.  The image was soft during daylight scenes, and did contain a bit of white digital noise or speckle.  During the late night jams and during the darkened stage performances the backgrounds had an almost midnight blue appearance with some crush and heavy grain in parts.  This is obviously the best the material will ever look, so I would hate to see the original footage in whatever state it may be in.

Audio 

Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 is presented in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1.  For all intents and purposes this track ROCKS!  Wow, there were certain parts during the film that I had to turn it down a bit thinking I was going to get a knock on the door from the neighbors.  Eagle Rock have done a great job with the sound mix on Irish Tour ’74. I have one other release from Eagle Rock Entertainment and it’s the Alice Cooper: Live in Montreaux Blu-ray and I thought that was a near reference disc in lossy DTS.  Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 buries that sound track.  Vocals come through crisp and clear, as do the bass, guitar, keyboards, and drums.  None of the instruments overpower each other or come off as sloppy.  The sound stage is easily distinguishable, and here’s hoping that Eagle Rock Entertainment continues the excellence with these lossless audio tracks.

Special Features 

Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 has a smidgen of special features.  There’s a half hour segment for a television show called Music Maker on which Rory Gallagher is profiled.  There’s a really cool film reel video of Rory and the boys visiting Japan during their stop; filmed in 8mm, because their music is played over the reel.  This is the best feature of all.  Lastly we have an audio commentary by Donal Gallagher (Rory’s brother and tour manager) and longtime friend and bassist Gerry McAvoy.  It’s a very warm and cool reflection on Rory’s life and legacy.

  • “Rory Gallagher: Music Maker”
  • In Your Town” – Japanese 1974 Tour home footage
  • Audio Commentary by Donal Gallagher  and Gerry McAvoy

Final Thoughts 

If you want to discover some Irish hard rock embedded with some blues then all you need to do is get yourself a copy of Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 on Blu-ray. The only drawback , as I mentioned before, is its running time.  If it would have been at least two hours, it would have been great.  This is an almost forty year old film, so please take this review as a vouch that the  Blu-ray looks good and sounds great.

Order Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour ’74 (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gregg

    On Netflix? I’d like to give it a trial run before pulling the trigger. My interest has been piqued though! Ten-minute tunes…I love it when a band takes a 3 or 4-minute song of theirs and turns it into a musical journey at a concert.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Go for it, Gregg! I also just found out that this Irish Tour ’74 on CD is a double disc. Looks like for the time allotment’s sake they only filmed a portion of the show.