Review by Mark McGrogan for MPM
So tonight should be something pretty special, you have your bucket list of bands that you grew up on, stretched your proverbial musical muscles to over the years and In some way make peace that you will never get the chance to experience them live.
Not tonight though as two musical legends have arrived in Belfast to treat us to a joyous occasion in the form of Clearwater Creedence Revival and Taste, two monstrous classics that have been the soundtrack to so many people it is probably hard to quantify.
The bands that I have grown up listening to have been influenced by these artists, they have provided generations with a sonic landscape so rich we are still feeding off it today.
I get down around 7:15 about 15 minutes before Taste are due to take to the stage and I can see a lifetime’s worth of hardcore fans in the building, understandable as both bands were on the scene in the late 60’s so anyone here and seen it, done it all and bought the t-shirt so far be it from me to question the integrity of any ageing rocker here!
Taste of course was formed by the legendary Rory Gallagher in 1966 and as a band with a short career rightly made its mark both on the Irish scene and the UK’s, Gallagher’s flamboyant style was unmistakable and remarkable all at the same time and deservedly garnered attention far and wide.
Gallagher’s four short years with Taste was enough to propel him onwards and upwards and today these three gents, Sam Davidson Ali MacKenzie and Lyn McMullan carry the torch on for Irish blues continuing that legacy in the most simplistic form, three guys their instruments, two Fender amps and a tight ass drummer behind them just making it all work.
As the stage is cleared for the main event it gives everyone time to catch their breath and catch up with old friends once again, you can see the joy in the room at being out and about again at a live event, what it means to them to be here in a room together under a big ass PA with live music blaring out of it, feeling that air move to the sounds of Proud Mary as the band takes to the stage and opens up with a CCR classic.
From the opening song Belfast is in fine voice, but it is a surreal thing watching these songs being played in the flesh in an honest style to the very men who wrote them, every cover band under the sun, every wedding band has played these songs to death and to hear them in the hands of guys who deliver them in the vein of the original band is a glorious thing.
The band tear their way through a set of landmark rock classic’s all in the best possible taste with Peter Barton’s wailing vocals searing out over the PA and you can feel the chills down your spine as each and every song transports you back to place in time, the guys have nailed that classic sound and have the musical ability to translate it beautifully as a sold out Limelight Belfast speaks volumes as to the popularity of both the original music, and the band’s fluid ability to deliver it in the most respectful way.
A set packed with such memorable tracks like Proud Mary, Have You Ever Seen The Rain, Fortunate Son and Suzi Q just bring joy to a room of dedicated fans, the smiles can be seen far and wide and no doubt there will be a few sore heads in the morning feeling sorry for themselves, but it’s all good, it is worth the pain to hear those beauties in the flesh feel like you were there for the first time bright eyed and bushy tailed. Those were the days.
Photography by MPM