At the Queen Victoria, South Shields, U.K., September 25, 2018

BRIAN DOWNEY'S ALIVE AND DANGEROUS (Live at the Queen Victoria, South Shields, U.K., September 25, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous is generally considered as one of the all time great live albums. Released in 1978 and culled from shows in London, Toronto and Philadelphia over the previous couple of years, Live and Dangerous went on to reach Number 2 on the album charts. Its vibrance and sheer energy somehow managed to capture the explosive passion of Thin Lizzy on stage and became the benchmark for all live releases that followed.

Thin Lizzy originally split in 1983 following the well-received Thunder and Lightning album as years on the album/tour/album treadmill took its toll but there was always a feeling that they’d be back at some point yet those dreams were shattered in the most tragic way when front man Phil Lynott passed away in 1986. Over the years however there has been occasional tours by a new version of Thin Lizzy including various past members keeping the spirit of the music alive with the latest version morphing into Black Star Riders to enable them to record new music in the Lizzy style.

Tonight, at the Queen Victoria, Brian Downey, the original Thin Lizzy drummer and ever present on every single recording, brought his new band to the region to pay homage to that very album.

Live and Dangerous was duly delivered almost in full with only Baby Drives Me Crazy absent with traditional opener Jailbreak kicking things off and it sounded magnificent.

With the Celtic-inspired epic Emerald, Downey showed just why no one else does it quite like him. In previous incarnations of Lizzy, other drummers have tried but just didn’t have the finesse of Downey, those trademark shuffles and tribal drumming come so naturally to Downey. Massacre too, with those classic Lizzy twin guitar harmonies and Downey’s tribal beats are unmatched.

The more laidback Southbound, the sassy Dancing In The Moonlight, the Funky vibe of Johnny The Fox and the ever so classy ballad Still In Love With You showed the depth of variety Lizzy had in their catalogue to match the more heads down rockers of Are You Ready, Rosalie, Suicide and the boogie romp of Don’t Believe A Word.

Downey has succeeded in bringing a band together that does full justice to Thin Lizzy’s golden legacy. Vocalist Matt Wilson has the presence and approach of Phil Lynott down to perfection while guitarists Brian Grace and Phil Edgar nailed Lizzy’s twin guitar harmonies. Close your eyes and you’d think it was Lynott, Scott and Robbo up on stage with Downey.

Of course, the iconic hit, The Boys Are Back In Town, usually reserved for the encore came mid set and set the place alight before Downey was let loose on Sha La La. Now, to most, a drum solo is the cue to head to the loo but watching a master craftsman at work was certainly worth holding on just a little bit longer.

Despite most of the double album being played, all was not over with time to cram in a couple more Lizzy nuggets in the form of deep album cut, It’s Only Money and a powerful Bad Reputation before ending with album closer, The Rocker, a tune that does exactly what it says on the tin.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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