at City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., January 21, 2012

Thin Lizzy are a band who built their reputation throughout the ’70s and early ’80s with a succession of classic albums and great live shows, arguably peaking with the gold plated classic Live And Dangerous, a live album rated as one of the best, if not THE best live album of all time by many. When talismanic lead singer Phil Lynott succumbed to a life of excess in 1986, it appeared that those songs were destined to be enjoyed only on album and video.

Thin Lizzy

Lead guitarist Scott Gorham, a pivotal member of the Lizzy line-up who was instrumental in crafting the legendary twin guitar harmonies that were such an integral part of their unique sound, decided the songs were too important never to be played live again, and decided to rebuild the band to keep the music vibrant and the memory of Lynott’s work well and truly alive.

From 1996, Thin Lizzy have continued with a variety of musicians, but the current line-up has really captured the classic sound. Featuring original drummer Brian Downey, who brings the swing and shuffle back to the band, and Darren Wharton on keyboards, who played on the albums from Chinatown onwards, alongside long-time bassist Marco Mendoza, the basis of the band was settled. Perhaps the hardest shoes to fill were those of the much missed Phil Lynott. Belfast’s Ricky Warwick, formerly of The Almighty, was brought in and during last year’s tour certainly made his mark with a series of fine performances that really captured the essence and passion of Lynott’s style, while bringing his own inimitable character to the songs.

Thin Lizzy

Damon Johnson from Alice Cooper’s band joined in recent months as Scott Gorham’s sparring partner on lead guitar, and with the line-up complete it was time for Lizzy to get back on the road.

On a cold Saturday night in Newcastle, Lizzy hit the stage to “Are You Ready,” and with that statement of intent proceeded to deliver classic after classic to the sold out crowd. With up-tempo rockers like “Bad Reputation” and “Killer On The Loose,” to the heartfelt ballad “Dancing In The Moonlight,” to the Celtic-inspired epics of “Emerald” and “Black Rose,” Thin Lizzy simply delivered big time. Added were the big hit singles “The Boys Are Back in Town”, an exuberant “Whiskey In The Jar,” and a lively “Waiting For An Alibi” together with “Jailbreak”, “Massacre,” and “Don’t Believe A Word.”  It’s clear that Thin Lizzy are one of those very rare bands that can fill a whole set with crowd pleasers, classics, and hit singles and still manage to leave out songs that would be good enough to grace most bands set lists.

Thin Lizzy

Highlights came thick and fast, but a couple of moments really stood out. “Still In Love With You” was absolutely mesmerising. From Warwick and Wharton’s passion-soaked vocals to Damon Johnson’s dreamy solo, this just epitomised everything that’s great about the band. The dramatic “Angel Of Death” saw Lizzy raid their back catalog to unleash one of their heaviest moments from the hugely underrated Renegade album.

What really worked here was the interaction between the band members on stage. There is a real sense of camaraderie and fun that rubs off on a lively performance. Having watched a 30-minute sound check earlier in the day, it’s clear that this is not put on just for the show … they really did look like they were having a blast back stage and on stage.

Thin Lizzy

Full credit must go to Scott Gorham for keeping the music of Thin Lizzy alive in such a tasteful and respectful way. With the current line-up, everything seems to have fallen into place so well and judging by the ecstatic reaction of the crowd, the love and devotion of Thin Lizzy is still clear to see. One thing is for sure, Phil Lynott would undoubtedly approve of Thin Lizzy continuing to keep his music and memory well and truly alive. Thin Lizzy always have been and continue to be an unmissable live act.

Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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