Cardiff's St. David's Hall, 28th November 2007
Reviewed by Ian Cook
The boys are back in town; critically revered Irish Rock veterans Thin Lizzy return to the Welsh capital, honouring a live performance at Cardiff's St. David's Hall. Treading a similar path to other musical entities, trials and tribulations have both blessed and plagued arguably Dublin's greatest Rock export. When mainman Phil Lynott succumbed to heart failure and pneumonia on 4th January 1986, Thin Lizzy's star never glimmered in quite the same way. In the hearts of many, Thin Lizzy's final chapter had been penned. More chapters were in the works however, with axeman John Sykes leading a permanent resurrection of the outfit in 1996, all in tribute to the memory of Lynott. Currently, Thin Lizzy's lineup consists of; John Sykes supplying vocals and guitar, Scott Gorham handling guitar and backing vocals, Tommy Aldridge thumping drums, and Francesco DiCosmo strumming bass. Synonymous with gutsy live performances, tonight's Thin Lizzy concert harbours no exceptions. Celebrating thirty years since Live and Dangerous (issued in June 1978) was committed to tape in Hammersmith, London, Thin Lizzy opts to perform the entire live opus sequentially and in its entirety. An inaugural live Thin Lizzy showcase for yours truly, memories of this reviewer's father placing the needle on a long play Thin Lizzy record gradually flood the mind.
“Due to a personal emergency”, Washington's Progressive Metal act Queensrÿche were forced to withdraw from the main support slot for Thin Lizzy's November / December 2007 trek. Plugging July 2007 full length album What's In Your Head?, New Wave of British Heavy Metal stalwarts Diamond Head fill the slot. Prime cut “Am I Evil?” (from 1980's Lightning to the Nations) underwent an adaptation by none other than Bay Area Thrashers Metallica, an interpretation which surfaced as one of two B-sides (the other being a cover of Blitzkrieg's self-titled song) on 1984 single “Creeping Death” (taken from Metallica's second full length Ride the Lightning). Even in the 21st century, Metallica still perform the track. Diamond Head's latter day lineup sharply contrasts in comparison to the eighties, with lead guitarist Brian Tatler the sole remaining original member. The relatively youthful Nick Tart possesses virile chords, pacing the stage as though the Millennium Stadium is within his very grasp. Audience figures reach half capacity at this specific juncture, and Diamond Head showcase material lifted from 2007 album What's In Your Head?. At various instances, drummer Karl Wilcox sprays water into the air. The water's source is an actual mystery, although it's seemingly available in bountiful quantities. Water douses the stage lights, aiding the lights' purpose overall. Tatler's digits race along the fretboard, tapping mighty riffs. One's eyes fixate upon the spectacle, vainly attempting to carefully keep track. “Am I Evil?” draws the set to a timely conclusion, igniting a lively storm. An exquisite performance, let's hope Diamond Head schedule future dates in the local vicinity.
Thin Lizzy traipses onto the stage, and a magnanimous cheer erupts. Staying wholly faithful to Live and Dangerous track order, “Jailbreak” opens the set. Seating unfortunately restricts audience participation, although scant minutes pass until ticket holders rise to their jittering feet. John Sykes, sporting long, curly hair, calmly dictates the given mood. Boasting a trenchant voice, the lyrics echo throughout the hall. In spite of their aging physiques, nobody paused for breath. New member Francesco DiCosmo exhibits profuse talent, and adeptly executes a convincing display. Scott Gorham, who joined Thin Lizzy's ranks in 1974, dispenses valid musicianship, and steadily lures the audience towards the stage. Sykes pays earnest tribute to the late Phil Lynott midway into the set, meriting a rapturous ovation. The spotlight largely falls on Thin Lizzy's classic material, the notable exception being “Whiskey In The Jar”. Thin Lizzy's alumni exit the stage, whereas Aldridge remains firmly behind the drumkit. The set's interval, Aldridge's solo clocks in at roughly the six minute mark. Aldridge stands to colossal cheers and whistles, and launches his drumsticks towards the heart of the crowd. Following this, Aldridge's bare palms thump the drums. A wondrous spectacle to behold, Aldridge injects phenomenal doses of life into the drums. Certain critics assert that Aldridge rates amongst the world's greatest drummers, a claim whose legitimacy can be accepted. A modest space lies between the seats and the stage, now awash with keen devotees. Thin Lizzy's members leave the stage on another two occasions, gratefully initiating a return to the stage to fashion yet more deafening Rock.