Now we’ve all been stung by “last ever” tours before, some bands seem to be permanently saying goodbye, but when Thin Lizzy announced that their recent run of dates was to be their last I decided to take the opportunity to pop across to Belfast to see the band on home soil..
A decision made easier by the small matter of the awesome Trucker Diablo supporting…
Arriving at the venue in the late afternoon with the Trucker guys the first thing that struck me was that the Limelight 1 isn’t exactly the biggest venue I’ve visited, I thought the band would have been more of a draw in frontman Ricky Warwick’s hometown, but then again a medium sized hall packed to the rafters is better than a big one half empty.
After a typically rockin’ performance by Trucker Diablo it was clear that Lizzy were going to have to be on top of their game to compete, but any thoughts of this being one of those “support band stealing the show” evenings were displaced as soon as Ricky. Scott and Co. took to the stage and delivered a reminder that there was no one quite like the late, great Phil Lynott when it came to writing a classic rock song.
Tonight’s setlist was an unashamed “Greatest Hits” collection, with as many of the band’s highlights squeezed in as time allowed. Now I remember being among those who was slightly unsure about the Lizzy reunion, I’ve been a fan of Ricky Warwick since The Almighty played the Edinburgh Venue “back in the day” but Lizzy are a band who were so synonymous with their late frontman that many viewed it as almost sacrilegious that they would come back. Well whatever worries may have existed about that before have well and truly been blown away by a string of awesome festival shows and some genuinely unforgettable live dates. Ricky is undeniably one of the best frontmen on the planet, and Marco Mendoza certainly isn’t found wanting when it comes to filling Phil-o’s shoes bass-wise.
Rather than being some slight to the memory of Phil Lynott and Gary Moore, this Lizzy lineup playing these songs this well is the best tribute I can think of. It’s almost impossible to pick a highlight from a setlist composed entirely of stone cold classics, put a gun to my head and I’d probably choose the heartfelt Still In Love With You, but in truth it was all highlights.
When I saw the band again a few days later in London Ricky ended the set by saying “these boys will be back in town”. Whatever they may be called if they retire the Lizzy name, and whether or not they record a new album, I hope he meant it as Thin Lizzy 2012 are one of the best live bands on the planet, and the Belfast show was definitely one of my top gigs of the year.