On 4 January of this year it was thirty years since Phil Lynott, leader of Irish hard rockers Thin Lizzy, passed away. Today marks thirty-three years since I saw the band on their farewell tour of the UK, at the Bristol Colston Hall.
Support on the tour came from fellow Irishmen Mama’s Boys. A three-piece featuring brothers John McManus (vocals / bass), Pat “The Professor” McManus (guitar / fiddle) and Tommy McManus (drums), their second album “Turn It Up” was released in 1983, following the previous year’s debut “Plug It In”.
I recall very little of the band’s performance after so long, and haven’t got a clue what their setlist was, but I am positive that they left a favourable impression on me and that they played their single “Needle In The Groove”, which is still a great track to listen to, and likely “Crazy Daisy’s House Of Dreams”.
The main event, however, was of course Thin Lizzy. Promoting their heaviest ever album “Thunder And Lightning”, the lineup saw Lynott joined by longtime members guitarist Scott Gorham and drummer Brian Downey, alongside keyboardist Darren Wharton (who’d joined in 1981) and the new boy, hotshot guitarist John Sykes.
With the “Thunder And Lightning” album not released until the day after the gig, and no fewer than six of the new album’s nine tracks in the set, there was a lot of unfamiliar material performed. The exception being the single “Cold Sweat”, which had hit the charts in February.
The remainder of the set was heavy on classic material, including “Jailbreak”, “Cowboy Song”, “Emerald” and “The Boys Are Back In Town”.
Lynott and his boys were on top form, giving no clue (at least to an innocent teenager like myself) of the substance abuse issues that were plaguing various band members. My personal highlights on the show were the atmospheric “Angel Of Death”, Brian Downey’s drum solo at the end of “Sha La La” and the ever beautiful “Still In Love With You” with its timeless guitar solo. Magical stuff and a great night…
Setlist: (probable – I haven’t been able to track the info down for certain but this seems to have been the set at a number of shows on the tour)
1. Thunder And Lightning / 2. Waiting For An Alibi / 3. Jailbreak / 4. Baby Please Don’t Go / 5. This Is The One / 6. Angel Of Death / 7. Are You Ready / 8. The Holy War / 9. The Sun Goes Down / 10. Cold Sweat / 11. Cowboy Song / 12. The Boys Are Back In Town / 13. Suicide / 14. Sha La La / 15. Drum Solo / 16. Emerald / 17. Baby Drives Me Crazy / 18. Still In Love With You / 19. Rosalie / 20. Whiskey In The Jar / 21. Dancing In The Moonlight (It’s Caught Me In Its Spotlight)
1, 4 , 5, 8, 9 and 10 originally from “Thunder And Lightning” (1983) / 2 originally from “Black Rose : A Rock Legend” (1979) / 3, 11, 12 and 16 originally from “Jailbreak” (1976) / 6 originally from “Renegade” (1981) / 7 and 17 originally from “Live And Dangerous” (1978) / 13 and 19 originally from “Fighting” (1975) / 14 and 18 originally from “Nightlife” (1974) / 20 originally a single (1972) / 21 originally from “Bad Reputation” (1977)