Thin Lizzy @ Colston Hall, Bristol – 4 December 2012

The classic rock music of Thin Lizzy has survived forty-odd years and numerous line-up changes. So, with a number of their 15-date UK tour shows sold out – it’s a surprise to see Colston Hall only three parts full tonight.

Perhaps not enough Bristolians believe that Thin Lizzy, twenty five years since the flamboyant Phil Lynott was at the helm, should still be appreciated as one of the most influential guitar bands of all time. If that is the case – I’m not sure how much more wrong they could be!

Kicking-off with the traditional ‘Are You Ready?’ followed by ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘Don’t Believe A Word’, the set-list is as near-perfect as one could wish for. Ricky Warwick, formerly of The Almighty, has the unenviable task of singing the music of Lynott. But he does so very well, with such an uncanny vocal resemblance to the big man, that at times it’s hard to distinguish the difference.

Thundering through the first-half of a show which includes ‘Killer On The Loose’, ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’, original drummer Brian Downey with Darren Wharton on keyboards and long-time bassist Marco Mendoza, form a trusted backbone.

Scott Gorham, a pivotal member of the line-up, who was instrumental in crafting the legendary twin guitar harmonies that form an integral part of the Lizzy sound, is joined by recent addition Damon Johnson, from Alice Cooper’s band, to spar on lead guitars.

A fantastic version of the slow, blues number ‘Still In Love With You’ is a distinguishable highlight of the evening. Warwick and Wharton deliver passionate vocals, with the dreamy solos of Gorham and Johnson providing a mesmerising few minutes for the Bristol crowd to soak-up and enjoy.

Warwick is superb in his role – not only his vocal performance, but in showing his complete respect for the songs, his fellow musicians, and his wish to keep the spirit of Phil Lynott and name of Thin Lizzy alive. The tail end of the set includes the classics ‘Sha La La’, ‘Cowboy Song’ and ‘Boys Are Back In Town’ before ‘Rosalie’ and ‘Black Rose’ bring the curtain down.

For any fan of old that may refuse to acknowledge the current tribute version of Thin Lizzy – all I can say is that you would be a fool to yourself, to miss an opportunity to witness and enjoy this present day reincarnation.

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston

Thin Lizzy