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Gary Moore: Recalling a ‘superhero’ on stage in 1989 – BBC News

Gary Moore: Recalling a ‘superhero’ on stage in 1989 – BBC News

Gary Moore: Recalling a ‘superhero’ on stage in 1989 – BBC News
January 28
10:42 2019

Thursday 9 March, 1989, was a formative day for 15-year-old Andrew Johnston.

It was the day he got to see a “superhero” in the flesh.

“My dad drove me to the King’s Hall, clutching my precious ticket bought in the long since departed record store Makin’ Tracks,” he recalled.

The occasion? Belfast guitar legend Gary Moore was in town, on the After The War tour.

And what a gig it turned out to be.

“The venue was packed with every shade of denim and leather and everyone had long hair,” he said.

“I pushed right up to the front and waited. The lights finally went down – always an exciting moment at any gig – and Gary strode on stage wearing a full-length leather trench coat.”

Image caption Gary Moore performs at the King’s Hall in 1989

This was 30 years ago but the excitement of that gig is still palpable when you talk to Andrew in 2019.

“Gary came from just across town, but he was like a superhero.

“The crowd started pogo-ing as one as he opened with the title track from his latest album.

“Huge flames soared from both sides of the stage, I could feel the pyros scorching my face,” he said.

And that gig remains scorched into his memory: “I’ve been to many hundreds of gigs in the 30 years since, but I won’t ever forget that night.”

Image caption The pyrotechnics from the gig stick in the memories of those who were lucky enough to attend

I was also there, also aged 15, and with a burgeoning love of hard rock and metal (the least cool, but most enduring, musical genre).

I can confirm that Moore charged through a blistering set including hits like After The War, Parisienne Walkways, Out In The Fields and Military Man.

I’ve also been to many, many gigs since then, but this one was something special.

Image copyright MARTEN VAN DIJL/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Gary Moore performs during the annual Dutch rock festival Pinkpop Classic in 2010

Released in 1985, Moore wrote “Military Man” with Phil Lynott, one of Ireland’s most successful exports in the seventies.

Moore had cut his teeth as a young guitar slinger in the massively influential Thin Lizzy, led by Lynott.

They exploded out of Dublin to global acclaim and their legacy endures to this day.

When metal leviathans Metallica headlined Glastonbury in 2014, somewhat controversially, they played a cover of Lizzy’s Whiskey In The Jar – and the crowd went mad.

Just like the King’s Hall in 1989.

Statue campaign

Moore would move on from hard rock and heavy metal to the blues: re-inventing himself as master of the genre, performing with legends like BB King, Ginger Baker and Albert Collins.

He also played with George Harrison and Bob Dylan: not bad for a boy from the Newtownards Road.

The guitarist died while on holiday in Spain in 2011.

Image copyright Tourism Ireland
Image caption A statue to Thin Lizzy lead Phil Lynott in Dublin, erected after a campaign by his mother

On Grafton Street in Dublin there’s a statue to Phil Lynott, erected after a campaign by his mother, Philomena.

It’s become a place of pilgrimage for rock fans visiting the city.

Now there’s a campaign to honour his best friend in the same way in Belfast.

Gary’s sister, Patricia Moore, has thrown her weight behind the effort.

“Gary is revered around the world. He and Phil were like brothers.”

Chiselled in the memory

The family think the time is right for a statue in his beloved Belfast.

“It would mean so much to us, and to his fans,” she said.

Image caption Gary Moore on BBC programme Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2002

Organisers are in contact with Belfast City Council to try and make it happen.

Fans like Andrew Johnston are cheering them on.

Whether the project comes to fruition only time will tell – but that night 30 years ago is chiselled in the memory of thousands who went to the King’s Hall to pay pilgrimage to one of Northern Ireland’s most successful and influential rock musicians.

Source: Gary Moore: Recalling a ‘superhero’ on stage in 1989 – BBC News

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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