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Music DVD Review: Thin Lizzy – Are You Ready?

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The legend of Thin Lizzy is a glorious and ultimately tragic one, perfectly reflecting the life of the band’s founder, Phil Lynott. He was a larger than life character, both literally and symbolically. Towering at well over six feet, Lynott was of mixed-race descent, but considered himself an Irishman. Watching him lead the band on the Are You Ready? DVD, it seems as if Phil Lynott was born to be a rock star.

Many of us Yanks first heard of Thin Lizzy with their anthem “The Boys Are Back In Town” in 1976. It really seemed as if they had the world at their command in the late '70s. In 1978 they released one of the all time great double-live LPs Live And Dangerous, and in 1979 followed it with Black Rose: A Rock Legend.

Running parallel to these achievements, though, were internal struggles that eventually overpowered the unit. Besides Lynott’s uniquely poetic lyrics and singing style, a huge part of the Lizzy sound were the twin guitars of Gary Moore and Scott Gorham. Moore had left and rejoined the band a couple of times by 1981, the year Are You Ready? was filmed.

Guitarist Snowy White takes Moore’s place on Are You Ready? While the music does not suffer at all from this change in personnel, White had little of the charisma of Gary Moore. Still, the main focus of this concert remains Phil Lynott. The 19 songs that make up the nearly two-hour show are excellent and run the gamut of the band’s career.

The concert was filmed in Loreley, Germany and became the first to be shown on the legendary German TV program Rockpalast. A definite highlight is “Cowboy Song”/”The Boys Are Back In Town,” and live versions of “Chinatown,” “Jailbreak,” and “Rosalie,” stand out as well.

The only drawback in the footage is the lighting. In 1981 the kinks in filming a live concert had yet to be worked out. Consequently, there are a few instances where the entire band is washed out by the spotlights. I guess that is the price we pay for seeing such historical material, but it is a shame nonetheless.

There are no bonus features at all contained on Are You Ready? but with a nearly two-hour concert to enjoy, I have no complaint. This is a nice document of a great band, and even without Gary Moore, they put on an remarkable show. Are You Ready? is essential viewing for rock fans of all ages.

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About Greg Barbrick

  • Alun Williams

    Hey Greg,
    This isn’t a dig, but I just wanted to say there’s a slight error in your reporting of Gary Moore leaving & then coming back again after 1979’s Black Rose.
    Moore did a large part of the Black Rose tour which I saw them twice on that year in the UK, but toward the end he pulled out for ‘personal reasons’ etc.
    Dave Flett (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) initially stepped in to finish some European dates, including 2 UK Christmas gigs that year, 1 that I attended. Midge Ure (Ultravox) also played keys on those Christmas dates.
    Snowny White recorded Chinatown that was released in ’80 & Renegade in ’81. They also recorded Trouble Boys / Memory Pain as a single(45), after Renegade & those are both also in the set list on this DVD.
    Snowy was an odd fit for Lizzy, but class nonetheless. I saw Lizzy 3 times on the Chinatown tour & twice on the Renegade tour.
    I loved Lizzy, my fav live act to be honest, although sadly the John Sykes led line up, wasn’t a patch, but was still fun to hear those songs live.
    I interviewed Scott Gorham earlier this year for a rock site great guy.

    As a fan I’d like to add a thanks for covering Lizzy, they deserve much credit. What a shame that Phil threw it all away.
    All the best,

    Alun

  • Greg Barbrick

    Alun

    Thanks for the detailed info about the Moore situation. I never was fortunate enough to see them live, a huge regret. I totally agree with you about Phil, what a talent, and what a shame. –Greg