It must have been, I don't know, 1972 that Rory Gallagher played in the Caledonian Hotel in Ayr. I was still at school in Troon and, having been bought the Taste album by my Uncle John, was a huge fan. I pined to go to that gig. But at 16 and with my highly religious parents (and conscience), rock music on licensed premises in the den of iniquity 10 miles down the coast was unthinkable.
So I never saw the great man play live. And until YouTube, my only glimpse on telly was (I think)a brief clip from the OGWT. But I've owned three copies of Live in Europe, the third greatest live album ever made (after Get Yer Ya-Yas Out and It's Too Late To Stop Now. The two songs that open the second side - Going To My Home Town/Back In Your town, still send shivers up and down my spine.
Now there's loads of bits and pieces of Rory on the net, and I'm off in a minute to see if I can find an 'Irish Tour' DVD on eBay. The clip here is just unbelievable - no security, no stage, some mad climbing on amps, and suddenly, you see where Springsteen (who certainly knew about Taste and Gallagher, especially during his power trio days with Steel Mill) got some of his stage moves. The same sense of utter commitment, too.
Rory died in 1995, aged 47, of MRSA contracted in hospital after a liver transplant. He had been unwell for a long time, the result of long-term alcohol abuse and, it's said, the use of prescription drugs to combat a fear of flying.