1. (00:04:39) Rory Gallagher - Bought And Sold
2. (00:04:13) Rory Gallagher - Brute Force And Ignorance
3. (00:06:02) Rory Gallagher - Follow Me
4. (00:06:08) Rory Gallagher - Moonchild
5. (00:05:07) Rory Gallagher - Shadow Play
6. (00:03:58) Rory Gallagher - Shinkicker
7. (00:05:39) Rory Gallagher - The Last Of The Independants
8. (00:04:32) Rory Gallagher - Wayward Child
Playing Time.........: 00:40:18
Total Size...........: 246,44 MB
NFO generated on.....: 24.01.2009 14:08:58
:: Generated by Music NFO Builder v1.19 - www.nfobuilder.com ::
This is a kick-ass record, but it leaves something to be desired. I just don't get as much thrill from this late-Seventies stage personality of Rory's as from the classic one, and Stage Struck is a very blatant and defiant change of face. Drawing mainly upon material from his last two records (Photo Finish and Top Priority), Rory doesn't perform even a single blues or country number; instead, it's just one fast rocker after another, as minimalistic and stripped down as possible, and this really gets tedious after a while. I don't think this was a nod to punk or anything, as roots-rockers of the Gallagher type couldn't care less about the punk revolution, I guess, but this could be a certain nod to arena-rock, which Rory was now fully engulfed by. There's not even a piano player in the line-up, sweet Jesus! Come to think of it, it actually seems that there's no one but a bass/drums rhythm section backing the man, now that we're on the subject.
Anyway, the good news is that every song taken on its own kicks a huge amount of booty. One thing that's happened is that Rory has developed a fantastically fluent technique, speedy, emotional, and making good use of simple flashy note sequences - this may be far from "blues elitism" but it certainly sets my non-elitist heart on fire when I hear that stuff, and unless you're so fed up with guitar playing that the only kind of it you appreciate can be found on Adrian Belew's The Guitar As Orchestra album, it will inflame your heart, too.
The songs predictably sound livelier than in their studio versions - of course, the production is muddier than on Rory's usually clean-polished studio records, but the man is all but jumping out of his own skin trying to rid himself of all those kilowatts. The album kicks off with 'Shin Kicker' - obvious choice, even if it's usually a sign of bad taste if you start your live record with the first song off your previous studio record - and the main thing is never turn down the volume, because if Stage Struck doesn't struck you throughout 'upon a single breath', you'll lose interest pretty soon. 'Wayward Child' and 'Brute Force And Ignorance' continue the same line, with powerhouse hard rock riffage and mastodontic solos that are pretty much interchangeable but that's Rory for you. I actually think the album itself should have been called Brute Force... would be very telling, wouldn't it? Don't know about ignorance, though. Rory looks like the smart type to me.
Even 'Moonchild', which was pretty moderate on Calling Card, receives extra distortion and - if I'm not mistaken - that's some sort of a weird wah-wah pedal Rory is employing there. And if the original solo was restrained and moderate, here he plays with all the intention of burning the house down. Really, forget my complaints, this album needs to be heard - a phenomenal guitarist at the top of his game. I do realize this sonic assault is pretty blunt and everything, but I'm a sucker for guitar wanking if it radiates energy and dedication, and this here version of 'Moonchild' has all that in spades. No bull!
Out of the other songs, I just have to mention 'The Last Of The Independents' off Photo Finish, which never really struck me that hard in the original version, but here Rory plays it at least twice as fast and at least twice as heavy, kicking up even more steam than before. So, one more stupid rhetoric question: how come AC/DC have made the big time so successfully, yet no one has heard of this record? Is it simply because AC/DC appeal to the lowest common denominator and Gallagher is oriented on a slightly more cultured layer of the audience? Repent, all you pseudo-Satanists!
Anyway, despite the main flaws that I have discussed, I would just feel ashamed to award this album with a low rating - yeah, I know Rory is probably pandering to the arena-rock-happy beercan-clenching audiences, but what the heck, if this is a sellout of sorts, I sorta wish there were more sellouts like that. It's just that I don't feel like listening to this stuff every time of day - it has too much calory-burning potential to enjoy it fully whenever you wish. But then again, I guess the same could be said about, uh, Live At Leeds for instance. Put it this way: Stage Struck is probably the best documental proof that a refined blues player, despised by snubby indie-rock-conscience-bred elitists, actually can let his hair down and rock down the house with so much energy and conviction as it would really be hard for your average indie rock kid to handle. 'Nuff said