Band Of Friends: A Celebration Of Rory Gallagher at Space in Evanston, IL

Band Of Friends featuring Davy Knowles, Gerry McAvoy and Ted McKenna, are back to celebrate the music of Rory Gallagher. 

In April this year, the Band Of Friends‘ US tour concluded at Space in Evanston, but this time they were here to kick it off, which they did with style and gusto. If there’s one thing these guys know how to do, it’s put on one hell of show. When these three get on stage together, the result is truly electric. Davy Knowles once again had the honor of joining Rory Gallagher’s former bandmates – Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums) to provide guitar and vocals.

You really would struggle to find a better fit to front a show like this with Knowles being a lifelong fan of Gallagher. It’s fair to say he channeled Gallagher right before everyone’s eyes and ears. With this in mind, what better place to kick off the tour than in Knowles’ adoptive hometown, at a venue that Knowles has headlined many times himself.   

Space in Evanston is a mostly seated venue but throughout the night the audience took to their feet, whether it be to show their appreciation by way of a standing ovation or on McAvoy’s command. By the end of the show, the entire place were standing, singing, whooping and clapping along as the spirit of Rory Gallagher took over and infiltrated everyone there. It has to be said that Gerry certainly knows how to work up a crowd and whip the place into a frenzy, not that the audience needed much encouragement. 

There’s something truly special about the Band Of Friend shows. They are not a tribute to Rory Gallagher, but rather a celebration of the great man, something which was obvious from the very beginning of the night. Whilst Knowles perfectly honors his idol, all the while playing his Gallagher replica Strat, the show wouldn’t be what it is without McAvoy and McKenna who used to play side by side with the man himself. These two were an integral part of Gallagher’s sound, and it’s a real treat to see them doing their thing and clearly enjoying every second of it.  The smiles were firmly fixed to all three of their faces all night (and those of the audience).

Whilst the focus of the night was obviously Gallagher numbers featuring Knowles on vocals, there was time for a Knowles original in the form of “Riverbed” and McAvoy also stepped up to the mic for a rendition of “Homeland” – a track which was written by Band of Friends. The most poignant song of the night had to be “A Million Miles Away,” performed in honor of Gallagher and the various bandmates who were not there to join them.

This is the second Band Of Friends tour for Knowles, and it’s fair to say he looked completely comfortable performing with these two legends and certainly has the chops to stand side by side with them. They performed like a band who have been together for years, looking totally at ease with one another while putting on an extremely tight performance. The three of them brought Gallagher’s music to life on stage in front of a delighted audience.  It must be daunting for anyone trying to fill such big shoes, and being a true fan of Rory’s would also make you want to put on the best performance possible.  Watching this show, it’s clear that the big man himself would have undoubtedly been proud.

The tour has only just begun, so Rory Gallagher fans and live music fans alike, be sure to check this one out. The bad weather might be rearing it’s ugly head, but you’ll sharp warm up and forget all about it the moment you hear that first notes of the night ring out. 

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About Kirstine Walton 386 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!


  1. Great pics to along with a great review. Loved the show. Have been enjoying Davy Knowel since seeing him years ago at Buddy Guys. Loved seeing him perform with Rory Gallagher’s band members.

  2. Congratulations! Without hearing any tone – the fun in Mr. McAvoys eyes and yours shows the music! Please, please, please come to Germany! We will love you!

  3. I’m a lifelong fan of Rory’s and can’t wait to see them next Wednesday night. I would really like to know if there will be like a meet & greet offered. I have a huge amount of respect for Gerry after reading his book “Riding Shotgun”, and would love to have some time to chat with both he and Ted and ask questions.

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