I caught the guitar pick that Def Leppard’s Vivan Campbell used at this the gig. How rock is that!
Tonight Thin Lizzy original band members Scott Gorham, Brian Downey & Darren Wharton are joined by Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell (guitars), Marco Mendoza (bass) and the Almighty’s Ricky Warwick (vocals and guitar). Fact is that if any of the non original Thin Lizzy artists alone here were playing Cambridge I’d want to see them, add them to a line-up of Thin Lizzy with 3 original members of Thin Lizzy and it’s an event not to be missed.
First up, the Supersuckers from Arizona. From their appearance for a few moments I expected them to be a country band, but they soon kicked into a powerful 45 minute set similar to Motorhead meets AC/DC with some country style deep south vibes in the music. Frequently letting us know that they were our new favourite band, the fast tempo’ed relentless rock got everyone warm pretty quickly. CD’s are available on the merch stand and I later pick up “Devil’s Food”, a collection of singles and rarities.
But, tonight everyone in the packed out Corn Exchange is here to see Thin Lizzy. After the lights drop the chant of “Are you ready” booms through the PA, no doubt about it, we are. The Thin Lizzy logo in red lights shines through the black stage curtain in red circling lights and he set kicks off with a fast pulsed Are you Ready with a blinding display of lights. We’re house left at the front with Marco and Vivian right in front of us.
The first time I saw Ricky Warwick live was on the Almighty’s Soul Destruction tour about 20 years ago in this very venue and I was wondering how Thin Lizzy’s numbers would be with his vocals – he was close to Phil’s sound, but with his own edge, perfect. Hearing his calls of “Thank You” in his strong Irish accent after the audience showed their appreciation between songs took me back to the Almighty gigs of my youth. Wild and Wonderful!
Up front the legendary Scott Gorham is the face that has kept the touring version of Thin Lizzy going for some time. Last time they played Cambridge he brought a line-up including Tommy Aldridge and John Sykes, but the guitar limelight tonight is shared with Vivian with his many sparkly Les Pauls – presumably Vivian handling the Brian Robertson parts. Behind the double bassed drum kit Brian Downey pounds away and treats us to a drum solo mid set. Scott Gorham and Brian Downey on stage together playing Thin Lizzy classics – what a treat!
Early on in the set we’re treated to Jailbreak and the set rolled with every song a classic, delivered and received with complete enthusiasm there wasn’t a dull moment during the night. Ricky said that if Phil was alive and onstage today he’d be in the front row with us, Vivian was wearing a massive smile whilst soloing with perfection, you got a vibe that those on stage were as excited to be a part of tonight as us in the crowd. Marco Mendoza with his black and chrome Yamaha provides the perfect and precise driving moody bass tones delivered with charisma and real rock and roll style.
Images of Phil Lynott appear on the rear video screens many times throughout the night, Still in love with You being dedicated to his memory with Darren Wharton sharing vocal duties with Ricky. Set wise we’re treated to all you could hope for – Emerald, Whiskey in the jar, Dancing in the Moonlight, Don’t believe a Word, Rosaline and finishing with Black Rose.
Epic would be the word I’d use to describe tonight, it’s set the bar high for gigs in 2011. With Ricky up front I hope they will be touring for years to come after tonight’s performance. I would have liked to have seen Thin Lizzy with Phil, but after tonight’s performance I’m happy to say that I’ve seen an excellent Thin Lizzy live show – tonight the boys were back in town.
Thin Lizzy touring band site: http://www.thinlizzyband.com/
Thin Lizzy official site: http://www.thinlizzy.org/
Marco Mendoza site: http://www.marcomendoza.com/
Ricky Warwick site: http://www.rickywarwick.com/