Tony Palmer, the director of this film (and it is a FILM, not a video) was in 1974 the premiere director working in rock, especially in Europe. Previously Tony had worked with everyone from the Beatles to Cream to Pink Floyd. He chose to highlight Rory Gallagher's annual Christmas tour of Ireland at a time when "The Troubles" were at an all-time high. Rory was virtually the only rock musician of any stature who would play in Ireland during this time, AND he played both Dublin and Belfast. Yet such was his stature in his native country that Rory was considered 'off limits' to terrorist attacks.
Politics aside, this is a marvelous film. Rory was peaking and his performances, especially on "A Million Miles Away" and 'Bullfrog Blues", are incredible. The audiences are beyond ecstatic, and at times it reaches an almost religious fervor. Curiously, politics are never mentioned. Rory talks about growing up and his influences and demonstrates on his acoustic and his dobro. There is plenty of dressing room footage to show what a focused individual he was when it came to his music. And the music has Rory smoking, the absolutely best blues rock player ever on the planet.
In addition, the transfer is an improvement on the older DVD, and the sound pounds, as it should. There are some great extra features, including a wonderful and touching commentary by his brother and manager, Donal Gallagher, and his long time bass player Gerry McAvoy, the two individuals who knew him longest and best. A short 30 minute feature for Irish TV from 1972 is also included in spectacular quality, and features some more interviews and performances that are also high quality and worthy of inclusion. And there is some home movies from the Japanese tour from shortly after the completion of the film.
While Rory had a long and magnificent career, and the recent documentary "Ghost Blues" does an excellent job of covering that, "Irish Tour '74 highlights the bond between a committed artist and his rabid fans in a way hardly seen outside of Beatlemania, and does so in outstanding visual and audio quality. Nearly every performance of his is worth checking out, but if I had to pick only one, without a doubt this is the document that shows the magic Rory performed before an audience every night he performed.Ghost Blues: The Story of Rory Gallagher & the Beat Club SessionsRory Gallagher: Live at MontreuxRory Gallagher: Live at RockpalastRory Gallagher : Live In Cork