BERNIE Marsden is a man on a mission, The revered rock guitarist is on the road celebrating the work of one of his major influences, Rory Gallagher.

Gallagher, the charismatic Irishman who died in 1995 is seen as being a major influence on most rock guitarists.

“Rory left such a fantastic legacy with his music,” said Bernie.

“He was also a good friend of mine and I’ve been thinking about doing a show to celebrate his work for some time.

“It’s not a tribute show. It’s me playing Rory’s songs my way.”

Bernie is joined on stage by two of Gallagher’s former bandmates David Levy on bass and drummer Richard Newman.

“It’s great having them with me as it gives the show the same kind of intensity as Rory had,” said Bernie.

“When we have been playing together they have said that they have seen me do things exactly the same way that Rory did.

“I had no idea, I’ve not tried to copy anything but it just shows what a presence he had.”

The idea of a show celebrating Rory Gallagher first came to Bernie when he was asked to appear on an album featuring Gallagher’s songs.

“I just though how good it would be to play a whole set of Rory’s songs. There is so much to choose from.

“For me, having played Whitesnake songs for over 20 years, it’s also a nice change.”

The show covers all aspects of Gallagher’s career from the early days with Taste through to his solo career.

“The set list is pretty fluid,” said Bernie. “A lot depends on how we’re feeling on stage at the time. I also might throw in a couple of Whitesnake numbers towards the end.”

Bernie is no stranger to the Mechanics, having appeared with M3 (including fellow Whitesnake members Micky Moody and Neil Murray).

“I always look forward to coming to Burnley,” he said. “We always get a very warm welcome and have a good time.”

Bernie’s celebration of Rory Gallagher has attracted a wide audience of music lovers.

“There are quite a few people of a certain age,” said Bernie. “But a growing number of younger people are discovering his music.”

Bernie has had the ultimate accolade with Rory’s brother Donal endorsing the show.

“He came to see us when we played in Ireland and was quite emotional,” said Bernie. “He said we created the same feeling in the room as Rory had which is quite a complement.”

* Bernie plays Rory, Burnley Mechanics, Saturday, November 6. Details from the box office on 01282 664411.