Next year, it will be 40 years since the release of Thin Lizzy’s highly influential record Live & Dangerous. It became one of the most iconic live albums in rock history for so many reasons; the quality of the sound, the iconic songs, Phil Lynott’s Irish charm among other elements.
The band’s original drummer Brian Downey invited fans to Nells’ Jazz bar for an anniversary concert. Brian Downey pulled together Brian Grace (Commitments’ Andrew Strong), Matt Wilson (Low Riders) and Phil Edgar (Low Riders) to help him perform. Downey had previously declined to tour with Black Star Riders. But after a performance at the annual Vibe For Philo event in Dublin, he made the decision to begin a new band called Alive And Dangerous.
As soon as I heard the opening riffs of ‘Jailbreak’, I knew we were in for a treat. The intimacy of the venue gave the gig more of an air of celebration, as if we were almost on stage too, partying with them. A lot of Thin Lizzy fans had travelled far for this moment. I could feel that the energy was electric from all corners of the room.
Highlights were the waltzing ‘Still In Love With You’ and the attitude-drenched ‘The Rocker’. Downey impressively showcased his enviable ability to hit the drums in his ‘Bad Reputation’ solo. There wasn’t a single Thin Lizzy gem missed out. Unlike some of Downey’s fellow musicians from the ’70s, he seemed to be really enjoying himself and stopping occasionally to take a well-deserved bow.
The satisfying set ended on a high with ‘Emerald’. Every song was executed perfectly. Matt Wilson was a natural frontman whose vocals don’t sound too contrasting that we can’t all just squint our eyes (or just don’t wear your glasses like I) and imagine that Phil Lynott is still among us. For those who were born too late, Brian Downey offered us a little taste of what it might have been like to see Thin Lizzy play. And boy, do I wish I had.
Photography & Words By Mandy Morello