October 20, 1977. Where were you when Thin Lizzy rolled into the Tower Theater just outside Philadelphia to record & play a sold out show on their Bad Reputation tour? Me? I was 10 years old and it would be another few years until I would truly discover the majesty of Phil Lynott & the boys. But as most kids in the USA in 1977, I had heard the song "Boys Are Back In Town", it was blazing a trail on AM radio & I can remember hearing it while driving with my Mom in her dark green Chevy Nova. The kind of car that had the antenna in the windshield!! So without saying, the reception was not the greatest, but the seed had been planted & I knew that cool harmony guitar line. You could hum it & it was cool.
As I grew up and REALLY got into Lizzy, which would really be around 1983-1984 with their last record, the AMAZING Thunder & Lightning, I would come to appreciate and completely idolize all things Lizzy. It took this kid years to track down ALL of their records on vinyl, because at the time (mid '80's into the early '90's) CD's were not around yet & then when they were, Lizzy's back catalog were only available as Japanese imports (Thank God for the Japanese and their love for all of the underground Hard Rock/Metal of the '70's, '80's & '90's!!!!). But as I would come to fall in love with the classic line up of Thin Lizzy, which of course is Brian Downey on drums, the MAN.. Phil Lynott on vocals & Bass and the incomparable guitar duo of Mr. Scott Gorham and Mr. Brian (Robbo) Robertson, I would come to realize just how much Lizzy had actually molded and shaped the ENTIRE landscape of Hard Rock and Metal and still does today, whether some of the kids even know where they got some of their ideas from. What am I talking about? The twin harmonized guitar lead! Did they invent it? Of course not. Even the English band, Wishbone Ash, had used this technique in the early '70's, but not in the way that Lizzy would come to use it starting on with the "real" beginning of the Hard Rock Thin Lizzy, the album from 1974 called Nightlife. This was the first record with Gorham & Robbo and the formula was born. NO ONE had ever done the harmonizing guitar lead in the Hard Rock realm before Lizzy did it, and did it they certainly did. Need examples? See Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and all of the other great twin lead guitar bands that would follow. Thin Lizzy ARE a legendary band that unfortunately never received the complete popularity that they deserved.
Enter this amazing Still Dangerous performance from 1977 that was discovered only in past few years, by Scott Gorham himself! Lizzy were on fire here & this completely live performance captures them in full flight. Their classic Live & Dangerous live album had some songs included from the show that they did at The Tower Theater (as legend has it…) and these 10 songs honestly sound EVEN better than Live & Dangerous! I could not have even begun to think that this was possible, but one listen will make you a believer. All 10 songs sound completely fresh and were all delivered the way that Lizzy always did it on stage..take no prisoners style. Thin Lizzy were almost at their peak with this release. Let's break this gem of a record down:
1.) Soldier Of Fortune- This is the 1st track on their brilliant Bad Reputation album, which was the album that they were promoting on this tour. The first thing that you will notice is how punchy and tight Brian Downey's drum sound is. Phil Lynott's vocals on this song are just spot on. So very emotional and passionate and this is the FIRST song in their set! They sound so amazing it's hard to believe they were recorded in 1977! They sound better than most of the drum tones that you hear today. And at the fore front of Soldier of Fortune is that trademark Scottso/Robbo harmony guitar work. What a great show opener!
2.) Jailbreak- Another album opener & an all time Thin Lizzy live favorite! The sirens wailing on this just makes you feel that you are front in center at this show & it's the first of several audience participation segments. Great song and an excellent version. Fantastic mix.
3.) Cowboy Song- "I am Just A Cowboy, lonesome on the trail". What imagery! Another Rock radio classic! Again another fired up performance with a great solo from Scott Gorham!
4.) Boys Are Back In Town-THE song that put Thin Lizzy on the map. And that winding harmonized guitar lead. Their album Jailbreak (from '76) was just pushed through the roof with this Hard Rock anthem. Phil sounds great on this version.
5.) Dancing in the Moonlight-A classic Lizzy also on the "Bad Rep" album. This should have been a hit for them! It eventually became a live standard, and just showed the versatility of Phil Lynott's amazing writing. You could never pigeon- hole Lizzy. What Hard Rock band could write a classic song with Saxophone in it?
6.) Massacre- Now it gets good! Another barnstormer of a song and this version is so powerful and clearly displays what made Lizzy so great.
7.) Opium Trail- This song has always given me goose bumps and this live version does not disappoint. The guitar genius duo of Robbo & Gorham are just so amazing in this show. Great tone, great playing. Robbo's 2nd solo here on "Opium Trail" is so emotional. Check out his immaculate use of the wah-wah.
8.) Don't Believe A Word- From the album, Johnny The Fox and another live Lizzy standard. This is the 2nd version, the faster, rockin' version. The original is a slow love song type of thing. Both are great and yet so very different. The Philly crowd was just putty in their hands with this one.
9.) Baby Drives Me Crazy- A song written for the stage. A great tune for Phil to be able to play around with the audience and get them to sing and make some noise. A fun playful song always played at the end of their live set in the '70's.
10.) Me And The Boys- Another song written for the stage and was the show closer for Lizzy for years. A fun set closer that let Robbo stretch out and riff it up. A great way to close a show and a good representation of the power that Thin Lizzy possessed. You can hear in the background that Lynott was working the crowd up into a frenzy.
Thank god for discovering old tapes that were not even known to have existed. Still Dangerous is a live document of the power, subtlety and complete magic that the "classic" line up of Thin Lizzy had. Brian Downey was and is a drum, groove legend, Scott Gorham & Brian Robertson STILL continue to influence generations of guitar fans (and thanks to being included in the up & coming latest version of Guitar Hero, Lizzy will find even a wider base of "new" fans!!) and one of greatest songwriters in music history, Mr. Phillip Parris Lynott passed away just as I was discovering his unique voice and he will always be my very favorite songwriter. He is very truly missed. Music is such a gift and Still Dangerous captures Lizzy at their devastatingly best.
It is a fantastic live record that is sonically a complete joy to listen to and was perfectly produced by Glyn Johns & Scott Gorham himself. Not like some other live albums that are just a chore to even get through even once, Still Dangerous is a MUST HAVE for any Thin Lizzy fan, new or old. The only complaint with this record is that it is simply TOO short.
Brilliant, simply brilliant. This is easily one of the best sounding live records that I have ever heard! It's from 1977 so there are No overdubs!! Impeccable.
Long Live Phil Lynott & Long Live Thin Lizzy!!!!
1.) Soldier Of Fortune
3.) Cowboy Song
4.) Boys Are Back In Town
5.) Dancing In The Moonlight
7.) Opium Trail
8.) Don't Believe A Word
9.) Baby Drives Me Crazy
10.) Me And The Boys