Judge Bill Gibron found this amazing tribute to an equally amazing guitar legend...well, amazing!
A great guitarist celebrates his biggest influence.
Before his untimely death last year at age 58, UK guitarist Gary Moore was known for contributing to a great many musical legacies. Aside from the numerous solo artists he worked with (George Harrison, Bob Dylan, B.B. King), he was instrumental in helping Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy maintain their music biz momentum after the smash hit LP, Jailbreak. An on-again, off-again member since the early '70s, Moore made his name via an expert combination of chops and earthy showmanship that left him, upon Lynott's passing, the main metal machine bearer for the famed Irish outfit. He never screamed "superstar" but his playing made the case for such an esteemed place and when he wanted to, or when the liquor let him, he was inspired and beyond creative. So it makes sense that he would be on hand for a stirring 2007 homage to Jimi Hendrix. Not only does he have the experience and six-string expertise to do so, but he has the history as well.
As he did with previous tributes to Lizzy, Moore makes it his job to educate the attentive audience on how magnificent his chosen subject truly was/is. In this case, working with a catalog as clear cut as Hendrix's, the point is probably moot. You'd really have to hack away at something like "Foxy Lady" or "Purple Haze" to totally screw it up, and Moore is nothing if not an accomplished guitar wizard. There are times when his mimicry is so precise as to be haunting. At other moments, say during the slower numbers like "Hey Joe," he imposes his own impressive playing on the framework of the famous tune. This is not really a tribute. It's more of an outright and deeply personal celebration, of student arguing for his indirect mentor's influence and import. It's also not a history lesson. Moore isn't out to dispel rumors or rewrite myth. Instead, he's here to make sure that the musical legacy left behind is remembered as it was: fiery, alive, and played with passion.
Of course, if you are a fan of Moore's other incarnations, you need to look for said satisfaction elsewhere. This is a unique setting that brought Moore to this moment: a special request concert performed after a showing of the classic film Jimi Hendrix: Live at Monterey. He had seen the legend perform when he was 15 years old, and the Queen College Belfast gig remained a strong authority throughout his professional life. When he brings on members of Hendrix's old band(s) (Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox), they don't try to blow the roof off the place. Instead, they embark on an amazing blues tour de force with the sly, slow-burn "Red House." Indeed, it's all about perspective and place. No one could dare challenge the man himself, and since he was just on the silver screen for all to see, Moore doesn't try. Instead, he allows the spirit of Jimi Hendrix to freely flow through him, turning this particular paean into a solid sonic moment in time.
From a Blu-ray point of view, Blues for Jimi looks pretty darn good. Sure, the concert suffers from some odd camera angles (one appears aimed directly up Moore's right nostril) and is overly dark (they did just screen a film in the place) but we still get some decent colors, some nice detail, and an overall intimate feel. The image can be a bit muddy at times, and there is very little depth but this has more to do with the direction than with any other aspect of the 1080i/1.78:1 transfer. The audio, though, is outstanding. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is terrific, with lots of bottom and aural oomph. There is nice separation between the instruments and a real feeling of being at a live event. Even the LPCM Stereo mix is excellent…a bit flat, but fine nonetheless. Sadly, there is nothing in the way of added content offered.
Before alcohol addiction cut his life short, Gary Moore was one of the last remaining links to the classic guitar gods of the dinosaur days of rock-n-roll. This tribute to Hendrix illustrates why his wings in music heaven were always standing by, waiting for the day he'd join his friends and influencers.
Not Guilty. A great bit of old fashioned rock god goodness.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
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