Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thin Lizzy rock NYC 3/25/2011

Thin Lizzy 2011. From L to R: Vivian Campbell, Marco Mendoza, Ricky Warwick, Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, and Darren Wharton.
All photos taken by Nelson Onofre

Thin Lizzy
March 25, 2011 @ the Best Buy Theater in New York

Forget all of today’s crappy rock music. Forget all of those indie rock bands. Forget it all. History shows that when it comes to straight up ass kicking rock n roll concert, Thin Lizzy are one of the best. This new reunited version of Thin Lizzy rocked the Best Buy Theater on March 25 in New York City. The band are touring to pay tribute to the music of Thin Lizzy and their late charismatic frontman, Phil Lynott.
Formed in 1969, Thin Lizzy didn’t make it big until the release of Jailbreak in 1976. The band weren’t too popular here in the US but to those hard rock lovers who went out and bought a copy of Jailbreak, those fans stuck with the band for good. The band split in 1983 and three years later, Phil Lynott passed away. In 1996, Thin Lizzy reunited with guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes at the helm. In 2009, Sykes decided to leave the band and Gorham took the next couple of months to form a new line-up. The new Thin Lizzy consists of six members, three of which were in the original band with Phil Lynott (which lasted from 1969 to 1983). Those three members are guitarist Scott Gorham (1974-1983), drummer Brian Downey (1969-1983), and keyboardist Darren Wharton (1980-1983). The other three members are bassist Marco Mendoza, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and guitarist/singer Ricky Warwick. Mendoza has been in the reunited band many times before while Campbell has been guitarist for Def Leppard since Steve Clark’s passing (Campbell was also an original member of Dio). As for Warwick, he’s a rock band called the Almighty. Together, all six of these musicians make up the reunited Thin Lizzy for 2011.
I went to see the new band in New York City due to the fact I couldn’t make it to the other show at Penn’s Peak the night before (which is closer). Still, the venue was quite nice. There was a merchandise stand to buy t-shirts, a program, and a live CD of the current band in London. I got a t-shirt that just had the Thin Lizzy logo on it and nothing else, along with the program. The program is actually from their European tour earlier this year. Still, the writing is current. I’m very impressed with this program. Usually, program only put a bunch of big pictures and nothing else (most of the time). The program is wonderful. It has a fan written letter as an intro, then proceeds to pictures of the current band. There’s a timeline of Thin Lizzy’s history from 1969 to today and profiles on the six current members. There’s also links to Thin Lizzy sites, where you can buy more merchandise and vinyl reissues of most of the band’s catalogue (ships from the UK only but I saw them at my local record store before). Whoever made the program, here’s to you! You did a great job. Before Thin Lizzy came out, there was an opening act. I didn’t pick up their name but they weren’t bad at all. It’s not the kind of music Thin Lizzy would play. At 9 pm, the lights went out. Showtime!
L to R: Vivian Campbell, Ricky Warwick, and Scott Gorham.
Brian Downey is in the back.


After several dark sounds and effects, the band burst into their set with “Are You Ready”, a good old Lizzy classic. There was never a studio version of this song so fans should know the song from the Live And Dangerous and Life Live albums. Scott and Vivian were sounding great. The next song took me a while to recognize but I got it: “Waiting for an Alibi”, which is another great song and one of my favorites from Lizzy. Scott’s playing on that particular song sounded a bit different than the version off of the Black Rose album. Still, Scott did his thing. Meanwhile, Ricky Warwick rocked at the microphone. Let’s get one thing straight: no one can ever replace Phil Lynott. Ricky, however, is taking the role of leading this new band. Ricky did not really duplicate Phil’s vocals. He got the phrasing nailed down, which was great (in other words, the speed that Phil sang the lyrics. In short: Phil’s phrasing would make an English teacher cringe). For the entire show, Ricky did an awesome job and I do believe he’s enjoying this music. He has a lot of passion in his performance. He didn’t duplicate Phil’s mannerisms, which is good. Ricky is something different. Next was “Jailbreak”, included with sirens wailing! The next song was “Do Anything You Want To” from the Black Rose album. The song begins with the sound of pounding African-like drums. In the promo video for the song, the band is seen banging on these drums. The show was no different: Ricky, Scott, and Vivian all had something to pound on. This song went straight into “Don’t Believe A Word”, in which Ricky didn’t have his guitar and just a microphone. After this set of songs, Ricky introduced the crowd to Marco. Marco said “hola” to the audience and proceeded to play the opening bass line to “Dancing in the Moonlight”. Once again, Scott and Vivian played wonderfully. “Moonlight” went straight into the history heavy “Massacre” from the Johnny the Fox album. Ricky did great vocally on this song and kept the soul Phil put in it when played live. Ricky proceeded into introducing Darren. Darren then got the spotlight and played the intro to “Angel of Death”, which had the diehards going nuts. Darren basically showed off on “Angel of Death”. His playing at that show sounded almost exactly as he had played it on the Renegade album thirty years ago. Well done, Darren!
Guitarist Scott Gorham rocks on stage in New York
The band slowed things down with the power ballad, “Still in Love With You”. Much to my surprise, Ricky shared vocals with Darren on this one. Darren has a really good singing voice. Both Vivian and Scott got their chance to have their own guitar solos, as “Still in Love With You” has become a showcase for the guitarists. The song ended with the music fading and the lights going out. When the lights came back on, Vivian and Ricky were both playing the next song slowly. Even when slowed down, I could tell what was next: “Whiskey in the Jar”. This one was very much a sing-a-long and always has been. Vivian did a great job at playing the guitar lick. I’m not a guitar player but from what I’ve read, it’s very difficult to duplicate what Eric Bell plays on the original 1972 single. Vivian didn’t quite nail Eric’s playing but he did a damn good job. Toward the end, Ricky had the audience sing the chorus: “Whack for my daddy-o/Whack for my daddy-o/There’s whiskey in the jar-o”. After the song ended, Ricky introduced Scott Gorham. Ricky introduced him by saying that Scott keeps him up all night “telling stories of Phil and the boys back then”. The mighty “Emerald” came next, which is a amazing song when played live. The way the guitars sound like they’re being orchestrated and Brian Downey’s marching band-like drumming, you feel like you’re right there in the middle of a battle. When played live, the lead guitar duel is always impressive. Scott and Vivian were no disappointment: they had a kick-ass twin lead guitar duel. “Wild One” continued the show. It was a bit of a surprise for me personally since “Wild One” (which is a wonderful song off of the Fighting album) wasn’t played live for the two live albums Lizzy released in their career. Brian Downey got a huge round of applause from the crowd after his monstrous drum solo in “Sha La La”, a Thin Lizzy tradition in some sort. “Cowboy Song” started off interesting with Ricky playing harmonica. When the verse of “the coyote call” came up, the audience howled (Ricky asked them to by repeating the lyric). “Cowboy Song”, for me, is my favorite song by Thin Lizzy. The song was performed perfectly and it went right into the band’s most popular song: “The Boys Are Back in Town”. I’m very sure the entire audience was singing along to this classic. After the song, the band said goodnight and left the stage.
Although the band left the stage, the audience wasn’t ready to leave. The band came back on stage for two encores.  The band went into their fantastic cover of “Rosalie” (which is originally by Bob Seger). What makes Lizzy’s cover different is because their version is sped up. As usual, the live version of “Rosalie” goes into “Cowboy Song” shortly. Ricky led the crowd in a few chants of “woah-oo-oo”. Ricky thought the crowd could do better and told them to do it loud for Phil and the recently deceased, Gary Moore. The room was vibrating the chants by then. A great performance of “Killer on the Loose” followed and the band left the stage. They returned for one more song. Before playing it, Ricky said that the band would like to dedicate the next song to Gary Moore. The band then went into the epic “Black Rose”, which closed the show perfectly.
Vivian Campbell and Scott Gorham
I was very impressed with the new version of Thin Lizzy. I’d like to think of the new band as a second band. The first band was with Phil Lynott and that lasted from 1969 to 1983. Then there’s this band, also called Thin Lizzy. Unlike most reunited bands, they are not in it for the money at all. I saw video interview Marco Mendoza gave months ago and he said it the best: if he was in it for the money, he would’ve quit a long time ago. These guys really love this music and it shows in the performances. Thin Lizzy are only playing a few gigs here in the US, followed by a summer tour later in the year. Meanwhile, Thin Lizzy’s music is out…in most places. Many of the band’s albums can be found on iTunes or other MP3 music stores. If you rather have them on CD, you won’t find much in stores. Still, there are the new deluxe editions of Jailbreak and Johnny the Fox.  Whatever you get, I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

I'd like to thank Nelson Onofre for letting me use the pictures he took during this wonderful show. To check out more picture from this show (as well as other concerts), please go to the link below. Thanks again, Nelson!

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