The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

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The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby capo » 16 Jul 2016, 23:04

I was recently re watching the high energy Rory show from Belfast 1984. Rory was physically leaner then in recent years and bursting with pent up energy. Some of the energy may have been from feeding off the frenzied Belfast crowd, but still, he was so wild and youngish. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2KZdSsyWiI Just a year later, at Montreux , while his playing is superb, he is heavier, but more noticeable is his energy level, hes giving it his all, but it lacks the vitality of just a year before. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9cwA-AOdes Now the real striking change, Cork 1987, just a little over 3 years after Belfast. Again, playing wise, Rory is still at the top of his game, but his physical change and energy level is hard to fathom when comparing him to that lean, vibrant wild cat of a performer of just 3 years prior. He is bloated in face and body, and his oversized clothing does'nt help matters much, but its the sad, overall gloomy vibe and lack of energy and spark in his performance thats striking. Even when he does his duckwalk, its so labored and forced its hard to watch. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjYw1Sfv7fE What happened to this vital, high energy performer in just a span of 3 years or so? Well, we have all speculated here on this forum about the poor and wrongheaded medical advice and care Rory received from his doctors. Its just so remarkable, and sad, to see how in so short a time frame, Rory was diminished in energy and apperance, and more importantly, his mental outlook. Here in these clips, you can see how quick the transformation took place. Damn!
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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby ailish78 » 17 Jul 2016, 10:02

Yes it's kind of well documented in Gerry's book. If you haven't read that you should try to get it. It's very interesting, although often very subjective at times. I think he had to take cortisone at one time which would have caused the bloating. Cortisone destroys your body very fast and causes premature ageing. Believe me I know. I've had to spend a few days in hospital on occasion with large doses of cortisone for a chronic condition. I'm very well aware of the side effects. All of this together with the other medication he was on for anxiety and the alcohol that he was consuming would have contributed to his deterioration. It's very very sad. Although at one point he did get it together for a while and actually lost weight. In fact in the 1987 Cork concert he looks pretty good. I saw one still from a concert I think in which he looks really fat and quite unkempt. I was really shocked. I know he suffered from depression. It's like a viscious circle really. If only he would have accepted the help that was offered to him by his brother and close friends. It's difficult to accept that that would happen to someone who was so clearly loved. :(
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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby RobertaSparrow » 18 Jul 2016, 02:05

I don't want to get into any discussions on that book. I bought a copy, and I could turn around and sell it at quite a profit since it is out of print and would fetch a decent price, probably even better price if I forged the author's name on it. ;) But I don't like the tone of it, I think in many passages it is grossly unfair to Rory. Still, I did read it, and there are some interesting anecdotes there. I recommend anyone who does read it take it with a huge grain of salt.


A very young, very beautiful Rory Gallagher leading his band Taste


A mature, still very beautiful Rory in one of his last performances

Rory didn't have many years in this life. He was very ill in his last years, and it is very visible in his later shows. It is also readily apparent, to me anyway, that he did fight to regain his health, as you can see from the videos that are out there, watch them in order and you will see. Follow his videos from his earliest days in Taste, to his first solo album and his gathering of musicians to accompany him in his travels as he traveled the world and the decades.

In the videos of his '80s performances, you begin to see the effects of the stress of travel and of his very hectic professional life on him, and you can almost see the battle within as he tries to find balance in his life.

If you listen to his studio albums, then compare them to his live performances, you can see and hear the difference. Rory came alive before his audiences, he loved to play music for people, the emotions poured out of him, and those of us lucky enough to have seen him play, as we stood before him , his music passed through us. We can't ever forget that. He didn't just fire off a rapid succession of notes and flash; the emotion, the essence of feeling that he put into his music, he channeled it through the audience, and we all could feel it. It truly was indescribable. :) (although I do attempt to describe it) It was almost a love affair between audience and musician, an emotional exchange. Just ask Jay Jay, Capo, Photofinish, or any of us old fans who saw him. At some point all we can say is, "Oh, you just had to be there." The audience was in the music with Rory.

Musically, he never lost his edge. As the years passed, they took their toll on his health, and it shows.

As his health began to fail him, you could also hear that, and see the toll. A sad combination of overwork, the stress and strain of having so many people dependent on him for work, the pressures of the music industry whose focus was on their own bottom line, and the struggle to sustain an impossible work schedule, to keep that momentum in such a harsh world of a working musician. As Capo has pointed out, that span of years in the 80s is the most telling.

IMO he was subject to an perfect storm of horrible medical advice, insensitive and greedy record executives, and his own brutal work schedule.

He was a career guitarist, and he was fast as lightening when he played. Guitar is not a kind instrument as far as wear and stress on a person's hands and wrists. You can see in later performances, Rory's hands must have pained him, but he played through it.

Combine that with the stress of travel. If you look on Rory's timeline, in the early days of his career, it was not uncommon for him to fly to different venues to play in the span of a day's time. He was on the road more often than on stage. Is it any wonder that he developed a fear of flying? Add that stress to the rest of it. He was known to be averse to illegal drugs. But he did like to drink, and alcohol is so socially acceptable in all of western culture. Even those of us who do not care for the taste of alcohol tend to have an occasional drink because it is so very strongly supported by people around us, Of all the "legal" drugs, I think alcohol rivals nicotine for negative health effects. I suppose in moderation it is harmless, but "moderate" is in the eye of the consumer. And IMO, alcohol is terrible for a compromised immune system. I can't really see how it can do anything but harm to anyone with heath issues. But in the entertainment industry, it is common knowledge that drugs, both legal and illegal, run rampant. (IMO cannabis would have perhaps helped him with some of the stresses and subsequent physical pain that his hectic work pace caused him, and it would not have damaged his liver as the combination of alcohol and prescribed drugs did. But that is only my opinion).

Not to mention in the music industry, illicit drug use is nearly unavoidable. Surely Rory saw his share of it, and by most accounts, he didn't use illegal drugs, cannabis included, and forbade his own musicians from using any of it.

Unfortunately, most people, Rory included, tend to think if a doctor prescribes something, then it must be helpful, so that's okay. And a surprising number of people don't realize that the effects of prescribed and OTC drugs are very significantly changed when taken with alcohol.

Rory took paracetamol for pain. OTC, "therapeutic" levels of paracetamol taken with a glass of beer or wine every day will take its toll on a person's liver. Even without alcohol the regular, daily consumption of paracetamol can and does damage the liver in otherwise healthy people, including children. Pharmaceutical companies knew that, but it wasn't common knowledge then like it is nowadays. But Rory wasn't just taking OTC, he was taking prescription strength paracetamol, and drinking heavily. Was he an alcoholic? I don't think so, some may disagree. But ANY alcohol with those other drugs was bad for him.

He was taking prescription meds for anxiety, for his fear of flying, for the pain in his hands. When he began to have other aches and pains, well there was paracetamol.

It should not have happened as it did. Friends and family who loved him did try to help him. More, IMO, than his doctors did. You can see the concern on the faces of his friends in some of those later performances. Watch the expression on Mark Feltham's face during many of these, you can clearly see the concern.

Anyone who has ever had a friend or family member go through a life-threatening illness can attest to how very difficult it is to help someone who is going through a serious illness. You can be supportive of a friend or family member who is gravely ill, but ultimately all a person can do is stand by to offer what limited help that is within their own sphere of influence and action.



Please pay special attention at about 35:00 and on. Watch Rory's demeanor, and watch Mark Feltham. He was obviously very concerned for Rory. But ultimately neither he, nor Rory's brother, nor any of his friends could intervene.

He never lost his edge on the guitar.
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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby ailish78 » 18 Jul 2016, 07:45

Yes I've watched those videos many times and it makes me really sad. I saw Rory live too when he was still looking good and playing well in 78 and it was amazing! I prefer to remember him from that time, although the 84 concert in Belfast is fantastic. He looked so good there.

I watched this one again the other day. One of my favourites. Rory is on top form here.



Frankie is a bit drunk but it's ok. Just look at how relaxed Rory is. He was obviously having a great time. You have to admit that Rory was a stunning looking man. :D
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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby ailish78 » 18 Jul 2016, 07:49

I actually meant to post this video. It's great. Wish I had been there

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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby photofinish » 18 Jul 2016, 20:09

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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby ailish78 » 19 Jul 2016, 13:28

That's a great shot photofinish. What did you talk about? Do you remember?
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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby M.felix » 23 Jul 2016, 18:54

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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby Jay Jay » 24 Jul 2016, 22:09

Capo may I refer you back to my opinion of this.. on a similar topic of this nature 5 years ago..

Here in link viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1575

Rock On for Rory
Slainte, Jay Jay

PS. It has got a little easier for me over the years to watch the later gigs live of Rory :)
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Re: The Physical Transformation Of Rory 1984 To !987

Postby capo » 25 Jul 2016, 01:15

Thanks Jay Jay. I went back and reread the thread. What was so striking , as I said, was how quick the change occurred, it seemed to me. I don't have any real problems, anymore, watching those last years, 1994, in particular, because of the simple fact, he is ALIVE, and doing what he loved to do, right up to the end. Thats better than what we have had 21 plus years now, life without a living Rory. Well, i've said enough. Peace everybody.
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