In 1970, Taste, led by guitarist Rory Gallagher, should have taken the music world by storm. They had received critical acclaim from the likes of John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix and delivered a killer set at the Isle Of Wight Festival. What should have been a major coming out party though turned out to be the beginning of the end, as the band announced their breakup just a few days later, the result of disagreements between Gallagher and drummer John Wilson and bassist Richard McCracken over money, management and a host of other issues. Had they not been obligated to a European tour, that likely would have been it for the band. Of course, no one in the estimated crowd of 600,000 people had any idea this was going on and they responded favorably to the band's set. The performance was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray What's Going On: Taste - Live At The Isle Of Wight.
The disc begins with a brief documentary about Taste and Gallagher. It includes interviews with the band members, including archival interviews with Gallagher, as well as famous Irish musicians such as Bob Geldof and The Edge. Gallagher's brother Donal speaks of his influences and his legacy, while we also learn that Brian May initially got his AC 30 with treble booster sound from copying Gallagher.
The concert footage opens with "What's Going On," a powerful track with a heavy intro. For only having three members, Taste delivered a heavy sound live. The song alternates between loud and quiet parts, something Nirvana would become known for many years later, while showcasing Gallagher's guitar prowess with his lightning fast leads. "Sugar Mama" follows and begins with Gallagher providing some unaccompanied blues licks before the band kicks in. It's an intense number, with Gallagher screaming out the vocals and the band demonstrating their considerable jamming skills.
Gallagher displays some intricate picking on the up-tempo blues of "Morning Sun," while "Gambling Blues" showcases his killer slide chops. It's little wonder Hendrix praised Gallagher, who seemingly could make the guitar submit to him at will. Gallagher gives a gritty vocal on the driving hard rock of "Same Old Story," a track that further shows the group's musical diversity.
The video is presented in 1080i High Definition Widescreen 16x9 (1.78:1) and looks great for its age. Audio options include DTS-HD Master Audio 96/24 and LPCM Stereo. There are a number of bonus clips as well, including three tracks from The Beat Club 1970 and promo videos for "I'll Remember," "What's Going On" and "Born On The Wrong Side Of Time."
It's a shame that just as Taste got their biggest exposure, the band fractured, never fully achieving their potential. Gallagher, of course, went on to have a lengthy solo career until his untimely death in 1995. For fans of his early work, What's Going On: Taste - Live At The Isle Of Wight is a revelation.