Leadmil Sheffield 7/11/03

Thin Lizzy are Back In Town so are the Bailey’s going to be there? Well do bears shit in the woods? Some critics have questioned the validity of a band consisting of only two original members still touring as Thin Lizzy. Scot Gorham and John Sykes both played a major part in the history of the band fronted by the legend Philip Lynott so no doubt feel they have earned the right to continue using the name. Thankfully John and Scott have proven they can do with out Lizzy if need be by writing great albums and forming great acts such as 21 Guns and Blue Murder. To be Frank (or Mick) we would have been there to see a Gorham/Sykes band no matter what they were called. With so many Lizzy tribute acts coining it in and keeping Philips' work alive surely these two guitar gods deserve to be earring a living from something they helped to create. Enough of the politics bull shit, the sirens wail as Thin Lizzy enter the stage. Gorham immediately shakes a fans hand as he takes up his position to the right hand side of the stage as the fans look at it. Sykes donned his trademark black Les Paul and before you can say “So who’s the cool looking bass player?” they rip into “Jailbreak.” In your face, confident seasoned professionals Gorham and Sykes take no prisoners as one of Sheffield’s oldest live venues gets it’s arse kicked Lizzy style.

“Waiting for an Alibi” is up next, the melodic harmony guitar parts are a great link leading into a stabbing verse line and a narrated vocal style as Sykes tries to keep the Lynott phrasing as best he can. “Thank You Sheffield, Every minute and every second of the show we dedicate to Philip Lynott, the king” or words to that effect, as Sykes greets a very receptive audience.

“Don’t Believe a word “, “Chinatown “ and “Coldsweat “ were performed with a smile and a drive of a band who know they are good. When you have so many cool songs to deliver it don’t matter which order they come in as long as they arrive. Let’s take a moment to pick up on the rhythm section because they are playing their part admirably in making this a concert worth seeing. Randy Gregg on Bass is probably best known for his work with Dee Snider (Twisted Sister fame) it’s not easy following in Lynott’s footsteps and many remember Phil for his vocals rather than his bass playing. Gregg has great stage presence and was constantly smiling and interacting with all band members and the audience. He kept it more or less to the book and held it down with drummer Michael Lee. Michael’s CV consists of the likes of Paige and Plant and he is well respected on the circuit. He reminded us later backstage that it had been ten years since we last met (doesn’t time fly when you’ve put the toast under the grill?)

“We’re gonna slow things down for you” - yes you guessed it “Sun Goes Down”. No Darren Wharton on keyboards (or anyone else.) We heard he decided to get his next album finished so we will keep you posted and maybe interview him for the latest Dare exploits. Meanwhile back at the gig it’s not the best vocal performance from JS on this song as he drifted in and out of key like a dingy on a stormy key side.

Gorham treated us to some beautiful guitar work, nice and slow, played with feel and the dodgy vocal was long forgotten. At this point in the proceedings a wire had fallen from the light rig and it could have been very dangerous, A roadie from the Spider man club scaled up the PA rig which was rocking nearly as much as the crowd and pulled it up from the audience. The bouncers were not impressed with Mick capturing this health and safety issue on film and not for the fist bloody time tonight started to get right on the crowds tits. Stick to dance club shit and leave rock fans to get on with it! Shit man, most of the audience is between 30 and 50 not exactly rioting material! Sykes introduced the band members and then said “I have a question for everyone in the F*****g house - Are You Ready?”

Sheffield responded, not for the first time, with a very loud vocal cry and certainly gave a good performance that made the band feel welcome (a point picked up by Sykes during the show.) Once again Gorham showed he can play lead guitar with a style that is both melodic and precise. He’s got great phrasing and doesn’t seem to be doing anything too flash but that’s the sign of a great player, making it look easy.

I had to laugh when Sykes asked are there any Cowboys here tonight? Obviously the one who left the light lead dangling from the rig sprang to mind as Gorham played the intro and Sykes sang it before the band joined in. The crowd were joining in at every cue point especially when the words “The Kyote Call” met with a howling as at most Lizzy gigs.

Obviously they followed up with “Boys Are Back In Town”, only two original members left but there was thunderous applause at the end of what was a superb and intimate performance. Sykes posed for the camera (not for the first time tonight) and told the crowd they would definitely be back in Sheffield to play. Returning back to the stage with “Suicide”, Rosalie” and then Sykes asked the audience what they would like to hear? Well it would take the FBI and the whole of Scotland Yard to decipher the number of songs hailed in one go at a bewildered Sykes,

He tried to simplify it by asking, “do you want to hear “Massacre”? My reply of “Yes!” got lost up someone’s hair nostril as the obvious icing on the cake had to be Mick’s favourite “Black Rose”. I have seen many tribute bands perform this so let’s put it this way, there are the boys with their toys but it’s the dads who taught the lads. This was just erection material. It could even make the hair stand up on Tony Martin’s head. (Sorry mate) So the up shot of this quality performance is Thin Lizzy have a loyal audience who want to see this band perform live. It’s a fact that if Gorham and Sykes can keep the rhythm section as tight and as enjoyable as tonight’s performance, the Lizzy Logo will be donned for many years to come, especially as the guys still look in pretty good shape.

Overall performance 9 out of 10 (if you want the maximum take time out to meet the fans after the show guys)

Backstage gossip

Nobody back stage is like a red blanket to a bull for Mick so needless to say we were with the band and John Sykes was first out to greet us. We went through some of the photos of us together with Phil Lynott just before he died. John asked for a copy of these and also took away the Judgement Day album (Bailey’s Comet debut).

I told him about us playing Valley Of The Kings live and he said “Tony Martin is a fantastic vocalist and yeah, we did work together for a minute”.

We asked if there was a new album on the way? “Well I really need to get the new songs done and the album finished I have just been so busy doing this I ain’t had the time to complete it”... So maybe JS will get his writing head on and give us some more recordable gems next year.

Scott was in fine mood and really enjoyed the gig. I told him he was bouncing around to Suicide like a youngster! Still got the energy mate! “Yeah why not? May as well get into it” He was up for an interview at some point so another encounter with Lizzy will be on the cards. He wasn't leaving with out asking for a copy of some of the magazines we write for, Fireworks and Forbidden Freak (Polish Rock/Metal magazine).

Bass player Randy Gregg was well into the UK tour. “It’s been fantastic to play and hang out with John and Scott. It’s only my 3rd week in the band and I’m loving every minute of it. They are great musicians and people.” If the Thin Lizzy tour bus is rolling into your town then get there before the “Sun Goes Down and grab a ticket because Thin Lizzy are still "Alive and very Dangerous"!

Rock Not pop - Bailey Brothers
Photos by Mick Bailey

and the tour goes on...

It is always a pleasure to sing along to some good old Lizzy songs and at the end of this show my voice was totally worn out from shouting and screaming along...

Yes, Thin Lizzy is back in town, the guys are doing their Global Chaos Tour 2003 and seeing the enthusiasm of the band and the fans, this will not be their last tour. The “Live And Dangerous” album from 1978 is still one of the best live albums ever and also the “One Night Only” album(2000) is a great Lizzy live experience. From that album they played all the eleven songs this evening; so when the alarm went off at 22:25 it was “Jailbreak” time, followed by the melodic semi-ballad “Waiting For An Alibi”. The twin guitar solos by Scott Gorham and John Sykes are still a delight for all rock ears and if you closed your eyes, you would swear that Phil Lynott came down from heaven performing the vocal part. To complete the band Sykes and Gorham had Michael Lee on drums (from the Page/Plant camp) and Randy Gregg on bass guitar who a.o. played with Dee Snider.

Surprises on the set list were: the rather heavy “Chinatown” and “Killer On The Loose”(love that one), the “funky” “Dancing In The Moonlight” and the semi-ballad “The Holy War”. The rest of the set consisted of classic Lizzy tracks with highlights such as “Black Rose” – I can not get enough of this one - , the steaming “Cold Sweat” and one of the best rock ballads ever written “Still In Love With You”. What did I miss then?? This night would have been perfect with 4 extra songs, namely “Warriors”, “Emerald”, “Massacre” and “Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed”. Well, you can’t have it all, but maybe next time??? However, this was without any doubt a memorable rock evening and a wonderful honour to Phil Lynott’s legacy!!!

Live report by Martien Koolen

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