THIN LIZZY Hammersmith Apollo 22nd January 2011

Thin Lizzy are back and thankfully not the overly metal John Sykes version, which I was not at all impressed with having seen them play a few years ago supporting Deep Purple at Wembley Arena. This line-up sees long standing guitarist Scott Gorham joined by original drummer Brian Downey and Darren Wharton (Dare), who was a member of Thin Lizzy in their final couple of years in the early 80’s, plus on vocals the Almighty’s Ricky Warwick, Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell and bass player Marco Mendoza (ex-Whitesnake), who played in the John Sykes version. An interesting line-up for sure and we had to wait a little while longer to see how they fared as first up were the Supersuckers whose set I missed due to delays getting in!

Next up were FM, fresh from the success of last year’s excellent comeback album ‘Metropolis’. They mixed a few numbers of that album including opener ‘Wildside’ which went down well with its heavy riffing. 80’s FM was represented by ‘That Girl’ and a storming run through ‘That Girl’. The band’s verison of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ closed their set in style and showed what a great voice Steve Overland has.

So to the headliners and they started off with all guitars blazing on ‘Are You Ready’, ‘Waiting for An Alibi’ and ‘Jailbreak’. Ricky Warwick certainly gives it his all and drops some of the punk style he had when fronting the Almighty. Scott Gorham (looking more and more like Tom Petty) and Vivian Campbell complemented each other well, with Gorham certainly enjoying more of the spotlighht and solos than when he played in the Sykes version. The band had few breaks and many songs neatly segued into the next one.

Darren Wharton got his chance to shine on the keyboards intro to ‘Angel Of Death’, one of my personal favorite Thin Lizzy songs and he shared vocals on ‘Still In Love With You’. Otherwise you were hard pressed to hear his keyboards in the mix!

‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’, with the guitarists pounding out the drum intro and ‘Whisky In The Jar’ both sounded excellent tonight. You could sense the band were having a good time ploughing through the classics and a few lesser known gems like ‘Wild One’.

Encoe time gave us ‘Rosalie’, ‘Bad Reputation’ and for a second, final encore ‘Black Rose’. A very enjoyable show that has thankfully removed the memories of the John Sykes version and this line-up certainly help keep the spirit of Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy’s music alive. The next big question is whether this line-up will go onto record new songs or be merely content to keep playing the classics. But that’s for another day and in the meantime it would be great to see the band appear at a few summer festivals this year.

Jason Ritchie

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