When I heard the news on Sunday I immediately got sad. Because of Social Media ,news travels real fast. I saw on Facebook that one of my friends overseas heard the news and posted it immediately even though reports were sketchy and kind of unconfirmed . I was hoping it was another hoax or internet untruth, but this time it was true. All yesterday I was very preoccupied trying to find out what happened, chatting with friends, listening and watching videos of Gary all day. I hardly even watched the Superbowl. I also was pretty involved playing online poker yesterday and had a good winning day on such a sad day for me.
Gary Moore was one of my favorite guitarists when I was growing up. Back in the late 70′s I became passionate with Rock music. I lived in New York City and was able to see many great concerts and get exposed to tons of great music. I use to have to go to my local record store and see what my local record store employee would suggest for me. People have it easy with all the forms of media and the internet to hear and learn about music these days. It was hard back in the day. I remember being shown the Gary Moore “Back on the Streets” album and being told its a great new album , by a Irish Guitar player who was previously in Thin Lizzy. I immediately took a real liking to Gary and needed to hear more. I next got the G- Force album and it blew me away. I never heard such guitar solos.
Gary Moore soon became my favorite and I went on to try and find every record he was on. Ireland’s Skid Row, Colosseum II, Thin Lizzy, etc. I would rave about him to all my friends and tried to spread word around the U.S. about this little known guitar player.
In 1981, Gary joined Greg Lake for a couple of albums and a U.S. Tour. I was very excited that a show was announced at The Palladium in NYC on Dec 5 , 1981.
This photo I took of Gary & Greg at this show. It was great and I finally got to see Gary live. I was given a Camera by my father about a year before and brought it to every concert and took pictures. I didn’t know much at all about photography , but I quickly learned through trial and many errors.
In the summer of 82 my father got me a summer internship in London , England and I spent a month there in August. London was like NYC being great for concerts and now I got to see many bands that didn’t play the U.S. I was 18 yrs old at this time and just graduated high school. I had been too London a year before with my parents and saw Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow at the Rainbow theater in London. I was happy about this new trip to London and see many concerts and festivals. I saw that Gary had 2 shows later in August and a show at the Reading Rock Festival with his new solo band. I quickly got tickets and saw him all 3 times. The Marquee club was packed. It was a legendary British club where every band played because of its legendary status. It was a very small place of a couple of hundred people and they always oversold it. I remember having to get their really early to wait online so I could be right in front of the stage in this standing room only venue. It was , hot , sweaty, smoke filled and loud, but it was great.
This photo was taken 1 of the nights and shows his great band featuring Deep Purple’s Ian Paice on drums and Charlie Huhn on Vocals who went on to sing with numerous bands afterwards. Neil Murray from Whitesnake and Keyboadist Tommy Eyre rounded out the band.
The next show was the Reading Rock Festival which was a 3 day outdoor “Woodstock” like Festival in Reading England. I had made a few friends quickly in England and we rented a car and drove to Reading and camp out all 3 days. Gary played on Aug 28th which is where I took this photo.
In the summer of 1983, Gary Moore released his new album and was starting to get known in the U.S. He get the 3rd bill slot on a tour with Def Leppard headlining and Krokus as the 2nd band. I was in school in Hartford and chose to go to both the concert in Cape Cod, Mass and Hartford, Ct. I needed to see more Gary concerts. I wasn’t able to sneak my camera into Cape Cod, but did get into the concert . I would alwaysa have lots of my photos I had taken with me to show people. In Cape Cod I remember that Gary’s dressing room was not even backstage. It was totally accessible by anyone. So a few of us Gary fans were waiting outside the door to try and meet Gary. I had handed my pack of photos to the security guard and asked if he can show them to Gary. Well in a few minutes they invited me in the room to meet Gary and loved my photos. I told them that I wasn’t allowed to take photos that night and they quickly arranged for me to have tickets & a photo & backstage pass, the next night in Hartford. This was the 1st photo pass I ever had for a concert and could only shoot Gary. Def Leppard had some pretty strict photo policies. After the show I was with my friend Lance and he introduced me to John Stix who was a journalist and the editor of a new magazine called Guitar for the practicing Musician. I showed him my photos and he loved them and asked if he can use them for the new magazine. This led to me becoming the concert photographer for the magazine which led to many concerts, backstage photo passes and a lot of published photos. If it wasn’t for Gary being so kind to a big fan , all of this would might have never happened.
The next summer Gary played a show at the legendary L’amours club in Brooklyn.
I then went back to England for my 4th trip there to again see and photograph more concerts. This time Gary played the Monsters of Rock Concert in Castle Donnington, England. It was a great bill with ACDC, Van Halen, Ozzy, Gary Moore, Y & T , Accept & Motley Crue. What a show. You could never see a concert like this in the U.S. back then. I had a backstage pass and took some of my greatest photos that day. I had great access and all the bands were friendly and let me shoot them onstage and backstage, except for ACDC. I spoke with Gary backstage and told him about my new career which he was responsible for starting when he gave me my 1st photo pass in Hartford and I now have had many photos published . We chatted for a while and he was happy that he helped a young , big fan out.
In 1986, I eventually graduated school and moved to Los Angeles to further my Music Photography career. In 1987 Gary did another tour with a couple of shows in the Los Angeles area which again I went to every show.
Gary achieved more U.S. fame in 1990 with the release of his “Still got the Blues” album. It was a more blues direction for Gary that showed he can really play the blues. He played a big show in 1992 in Los Angeles at the Universal Ampitheater. This would probably be his biggest headlining show in the U.S. ever. Gary unfortunately would not tour America anymore and concentrated on places where he was more popular which were Europe and Japan.
I was very fortunate in 2007 to be in Dublin , Ireland for a poker tournament. I always try to see if I can see a concert whenever I am in another country and this time I got to see Gary again playing at a club called Vicar st in Dublin. Im happy I got to see that show for it was the last time I got to see Gary. He was great as always.
This was very hard to write and remember all of this and I know it was quite lengthy . I am still devasted about this and it sucks that we lost another great person and musician way before his time. Goodbye my friend. Gary Moore R.I.P.