Taste Sunderland Empire 10 May 1970

Taste Sunderland Empire 10 May 1970
taste1 Today I am moving in my blogging from gigs I have attended by acts beginning with the letter “F” to gigs by acts with the letter “G”. This one is a bit of a cheat, as the band begins with “T”, but I couldn’t begin to cover the late great Rory Gallagher without reference to the time I saw Taste in concert. This was one of the first gigs I attended, and being over 40 years ago my memories are few, but very strong, because of the power of the event. If I had to use a couple of words to sum up Rory Gallager I would choose “passion” and “authenticity”. Rory was 100% passionate in his performance and in the way he delivered his own brand  of the blues. There was also an honesty and authenticity about Rory; no frills, no big act or stage show; with Rory what you saw was what you got. I was 13 years old when I saw Rory and Taste at the Empire theatre in Sunderland. I had a ticket in the front row, right in front of the great man. I’d read about Taste, but didn’t have any of them albums at the time, so I didn’t know their material. I was so impressed that after the gig I went out and bought the first Taste lp, and I later also bought On the Boards. I don’t recall their being any support act that night. The set was drawn from those two lps. I definitely remember them playing Catfish, Sugar Mama, Whats Going on, and Blister on the Moon (that track still amazes me). I can picture Rory singing “I wish I was a Catfish” like it was yesterday. He was wearing a trademark checked shirt and playing his battered old Fender. The other members of the band were, of course, Richard McCracken on bass guitar and John Wilson on drums. I remember McCracken had a habit of biting and holding his hair at both sides of his mouth while playing. Rory’s playing was a revelation to me. I had a guitar at the time, and was glued to his ever move, as his fingers flew across the frets; trying to learn some of the riffs. I seem to recall that they also played a couple of slower tracks from the On the Boards lp; possibly the title track and If the Day Was Any Longer. That night, that 13 year old schoolboy that was me, became a life long Rory fan. I was totally blown away by Taste, and went home and bored my parents about them. Next day at school I told everyone just how great they were (most people hadn’t heard of them and ignored me!). Great memories. I’ll blog on some of the many Rory gigs I attended over the next few days. They were all great, but this performance by Taste holds a special place in my memory. I always felt that Rory solo never quite matched up to the raw power of Taste, and that he lost a little edge somewhere along the way, but maybe that was because this early gig was so great, because I was so close to the man, and because it was one of my first gigs.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on January 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    This was the first rock concert that I ever attended (age 14). I still have the ticket stub although strangely the name of the act never appears on Sunderland Empire tickets – only date, seat and price – Sunday May 10th, Stalls S20, 10/-.
    There was no support and Taste came on stage at 7.45 and played for about 90 minutes. I had arranged for my Dad to pick me up at 10pm so as we had 45 minutes to spare I hung outside the stage door for autographs. My school friend had the On The Boards album cover with him which Rory, Richie and John duly signed. We told them what a great concert it had been and Rory, as humble as ever, thanked us.
    The Taste set on that night was – What’s Going On, Railway and Gun,
    Morning Sun, Sugar Mama, Gamblin’ Blues, Eat My Words, Same Old Story. Encore: Catfish. Brilliant times.


  2. Posted by Ted on May 10, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Was this the 10 Bob tour I.e. it only cost 10 Bob half a pound in the old money to get in.
    I saw them at Bromley College for the first time on that tour and twice more fairly quickly.


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      10 Bob sounds about right Ted. Happy days. You don’t see many gigs for 10 Bob now Peter


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