Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thin Lizzy's "Live At National Stadium" DVD review

 Thin Lizzy - Live at the National Stadium Dublin 1975
Thin Lizzy
Live At National Stadium- Dublin
Rating: ****

Thanks to Universal and various other people, a DVD containing Thin Lizzy’s performance at National Stadium in Dublin has been released. While the concert is the main feature on this DVD, there are two other features included on here. One of them is a documentary on the life of Phil Lynott and the other is a documentary on the band’s final tour in Ireland in 1983. Overall, this DVD is a real treat for Thin Lizzy fans as this marks the first time all of these features have been released on DVD.

            First of all, you’ve got the band performing at National Stadium in Dublin in 1975. The concert is about 52 minutes and it’s a really cool show. Thin Lizzy are known by many as a great live band and it does work on video. Still, there one downside I want to point out and it has to do with the aspect ratio. For all three features on this DVD, the picture has been cut so that it can be widescreen. These are videos with a 4:3 aspect ratio (which is full screen) so in order for them to be in widescreen, some of the picture had to be cut. So sometimes, you might see a head cut off. It’s a bit annoying but this does not stop the DVD from being enjoyable. This is an interesting show to watch because Thin Lizzy were playing in their hometown (well, at least Phil Lynott and Brian Downey were). The band plays a total of ten songs, most of them coming from the Night Life and Fighting albums. It’s cool to hear songs like “It’s Only Money” changed up as it’s slower than the studio version. Also, rarely played songs like “For Those Who Love to Live” and “Fighting My Way Back” are on here. “Showdown” is really fun to hear as you actually get to hear Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson sing backing vocals during the chorus. “Sha La La” is always a highlight as Brian Downey gets to show off his skills as a drummer. During the solo, the camera cuts to Lynott who is wearing a gorilla mask and still trying to play the bass. Hilarious! The last song played is “Still in Love With You”, which Lynott dedicates to his mother who was in the audience that night (which is a bit awkward for a song choice. Why not play “Philomena”, which is actually about Phil’s mother?)

            The second feature on this DVD is “Renegade: The Philip Lynott Story”, a 1982 TV documentary about Thin Lizzy’s leader. While of the time, the documentary is still great. Most of the documentary is culled from then-recent interviews with Lynott himself. Hearing Lynott tell the story of Thin Lizzy is just wonderful. You also get a bit of an insight as to the kind of guy Phil was. He seemed like a real down-to-earth guy with a nice thick Irish accent. Towards the end, we get to see Phil’s house in Dublin and a rehearsal with Thin Lizzy (which at that time was Lynott, Gorham, Snowy White, Brian Downey, and Darren Wharton). We also get to see just some live footage of Phil’s 1982 solo tour in support of his second solo album, The Philip Lynott Album.  

            The third and last feature here is “The Sun Goes Down: The Last Irish Tour 1983”, a documentary that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Irish leg of Lizzy’s farewell tour. Although a good documentary, it is personally my least favorite of the three features. It’s less than a half hour and to be quite honest, there isn’t a whole lot of Thin Lizzy in it. Still, it is somewhat interesting to see how the crew sets up for the shows.

            Believe it or not, there is some bonus material on here. There are two performances Lizzy did on the short lived music show 6/5 Live. The band plays “Are You Ready” with Snowy White and Darren Wharton in the band. The other performance is “Whiskey in the Jar”, where Lynott and Downey are reunited with original guitarist Eric Bell. I believe the latter performance was mimed but Phil’s vocals are live. Finally, there’s the promotional video for Lynott’s “Old Town”.

            If you’re a fan of Thin Lizzy, you should really consider getting this DVD. It’s a great release and like At The BBC, Universal is giving fans something that we probably don’t have. The DVD is a bit pricey but it’s totally worth it. 

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