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Tribute to Gary Moore by guitarist/composer Alyn Syms

Gary Moore – A Guitarist’s Perspective

I opened for Gary Moore at the North Park Theater in Buffalo, NY during the summer of 1984. I had the option to open for him or Paul Young, the British Soul singer and I picked Gary. He was doing something rare during the dismal, laughable 80’s. He was a legitimate rock guitarist who was a virtuoso on his instrument. He didn’t have credits on his records for hair and makeup and his tour wasn’t sponsored by Alberto VO5 and Mabelline Lip Gloss. He also was his own man on the guitar, he had his own sound and style. He didn’t take the 80’s picture with both hands on the fretboard, tapping his way into your heart. More importantly, tapping was the cliché’ of the era, it was fashion not style. You forge your style. That takes guts.
To me there are two types of guitarists, doesn’t matter what type of music you play. Those who know who they are and those who don’t and try to look like they do. Gary Moore was a vituoso who did. He carried himself as such and never compromised his sound or his soul for the big time.

I was excited about playing the show with him. I like a challenge and was hoping my performance would be great.
I was also in trouble with the Mrs. because the gig was on our anniversary. I handled it as best I could, celebrating it with flowers and gifts but when the time came I had to go, so I did.

Whatever could go wrong did go wrong that night. We were set up too far apart, the monitors were lousy, it felt like we playing in two rooms. All this in front of a crowd expecting to see a show. Five minutes into our set I walked up to a band member and said “Hell with it, lets just jam.” I was so annoyed by everything that when the audience applauded I wanted to throw something at them. I looked to the side of the stage and Gary was standing there watching our set. I looked at him, laughed, shook my head and he smiled and gave me a look that was a vote of confidence. I thanked him, finished the set and got the hell off the stage disgusted. Then it only got worse. The promoter decided to clear our dressing room out while we onstage to make room for the party afterward so they threw my clothes in an alley next to the theater, expensive clothes at that. I handled it well, one arming a security guard into a wall and threatening to kill him on the spot unless he told me where they were.
Gary got wind of it, invited me and the boys into his dressing room for the party, made sure we were taken care of, then gave us the names of people in his record company to contact, and said to use him for a reference. I was hoping to have a discussion with him about guitars and while we were talking the door flies open and the autograph seeking groupies came in and took over the room. I thanked him, told him he played great and left. I wound up in a bar with a friend of mine later drinking shots of Jack Daniel’s. I NEVER do that. Plus, it had little if any effect on me, such was my state of mind. Funny thing though, I learned a lot that night. Like Bruce Lee once said, “ Only the doer learns. “
We are the same age, 58. His death reminded me that tomorrow is promised to no one. I’m sure he died with his best music still in him. Call it what you will but I call it success. Any true musician knows that their best song is the one that is yet to be written, their best chops and best music still ahead.

I met a famous actress a short while ago who paid me the supreme compliment. She treated me like a guy, not a fan. Gary Moore treated a struggling rock guitarist from Lackawanna, New York as a fellow guitarist and an equal on one night in June. I just wanted to say thanks.

Alyn Syms Guitarist/Composer

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    aem1Ud The circular associated with applause for the blog article. Thank you All over again. Awesome.

Reader Comments (2)

That was a great story. I too I'm shocked about Gary's death. He was an incredible guitar player and performer. I was lucky enough to catch him live only once in '83-'84 at L'Amours in Brooklyn, NY and the guy just floored me with his guitar playing. RIP GARY MOORE

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWillie

Awesome job Alyn!!!! Great to have you on board.

February 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterThomas

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