Tony Moore, Ilo
The Bedford, London
Live Review, Live Photography and Interview by Chris Galea
Tony Moore is a multi-instrumentalist who has been involved in a variety of music genres throughout his career. In the late 1970’s he briefly played keyboards with Iron Maiden – it was a unique time when Iron Maiden had one guitar and keys instead of two guitars. In a sense that experience is about to come full circle as he is soon scheduled to tour with Steve Harris’ British Lion. But more on that later.
Tonight Tony Moore will be performing “Awake” – a concept he conceived and wrote during the Covid lockdowns. I’ve been to his “Awake” shows before so I know I’m in for a treat.
The evening started off with a brief set from singer / songwriter Ilo. She has opened for Tony Moore’s gigs before and tonight Tony even played guitar during her set. Most of the songs Ilo played, she wrote herself and at least one was co-written with Tony. This is obviously far removed from Metal but I heard a couple of great songs. Check out the link below if you want to find out more about Ilo.
“Awake” is unlike anything else I have ever seen or heard. To a large extent it is autobiographical in nature but deals with feelings, thoughts and events that anyone can relate to. The show was based on an as yet unreleased album (in fact Tony once remarked there’s enough material for a triple album).
It was a one-man-show where Tony played all instruments… keyboards, lead guitars, acoustic guitar, vocals… and where he utilised backing tracks (that were performed and recorded by himself of course). Overall I would describe the music as classic Prog Rock with an array of shades and moods. Each song had specific light effects and stage décor to suit it and this included the way Tony moved about on stage and where he stood. It was indeed meticulously planned… down to the exact position of the mic stand on stage. Nonetheless it was quite flawless in its execution.
For example one of the songs dealt with death and pain so the screen featured dark animations, the stage had lots of red light and Tony wore a skull-mask to sing that song. Another song seemed to deal with feelings of longing, so minimal décor and violet lights were used. Yet another song was inspired by Tony’s late mother so the stage was made to resemble her bedroom. It was poignant when an image of his mother was cross-faded with an image of the Milky Way galaxy, as if to suggest that his love for her was as infinite as Space.
Many bands tend to neglect the visual side of a live performance – not Tony. Tonight Tony showed the audience that he is a master at combining music with visual effects and keeping the audience hooked by whatever was happening on stage.
Every now and then he gave the audience some background info on what he was performing but for most of the time he let the music do the talking. When Tony revisits his upbringing with one specific song (apologies, dear reader, but I struggle to remember song titles) the audience usually gets to see a montage of vintage photos from Tony’s youth. And tonight was the first time he included photos of himself with Iron Maiden, back when he was part of that band.
In one particular song, footage of Tony Moore playing guitar and singing was projected onto the screen while the ‘real’ Tony Moore played the keyboards and sang. It was a bit weird seeing two (and sometimes more) Tonies on stage but again he pulled it off perfectly.
The concert had a seated audience but it ended with a delivery of ‘Crazy In The Shed’ during which all the audience started dancing, singing along, drinking and just being merry. After the gig was over there was one number left but it was the audience doing all the singing this time as they sang ‘Happy Birthday’ (yes, tonight’s gig also happened to be Tony’s birthday). I liked that festive vibe at The Bedford, much like a gathering of mates.
I wonder how Tony is going to adapt “Awake” to a Metal audience when he tours with Steve Harris’ British Lion in January 2024, whether he’ll recruit session musicians or keep on playing everything himself. But whatever he does I’m quite sure he’s going to win over new fans come the new year.
Check out the brief video interview I did with Tony Moore before the gig!
Disclaimer: This review and interview are solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. Photography the property of Chris Galea. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.