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Music Review: Thin Lizzy – Still Dangerous: Live at Tower Theatre Philadelphia 1977

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Written by Fantasma el Rey

Laying forgotten for over thirty years this Thin Lizzy live performance is finally available and stands as a testament that this small band from Dublin, Ireland still kicks ass and can rock your socks off. Recorded live from the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia in 1977, Still Dangerous documents a moment in time just before the band was ready to kick off its proper tour, a warm-up run if you will, and would record the amazing and very popular Live And Dangerous. But make no mistakes this show is no mere warm-up as Thin Lizzy rocks and rolls relentlessly through ten tracks in 47 minutes.

Thin Lizzy, led by singer/songwriter Phil Lynott hit the scene in 1971 with a self-titled debut that didn’t fair too well, but the boys kept at it developing that true Lizzy sound we know and love over their next seven albums. Killer albums such as Night Life, Jailbreak and Bad Reputation would produce the songs that the band would come to be known for, especially Jailbreak with the title anthem and perhaps their biggest hit “The Boys Are Back In Town.” Yet as with any truly great band the real test lays in their live act and in 1978 with Live And Dangerous Thin Lizzy provided this proof to fans that couldn’t (and in the not-too-distant future wouldn’t be able to) catch them live. LAD ran through all the heavy-hitting, twin-guitar-led power tunes that would cement the Thin Lizzy legacy for all time.

Now just over thirty years later we get the companion piece Still Dangerous and are treated to more Thin Lizzy magic. Not as long as LAD but just as enjoyable, it contains the hits by the classic line-up (Lynott lead vocals/bass, Scott Gorham guitar, Brian Robertson guitar, Brian Downey drums) and some tunes not found on LAD. What remains the same is that overall power and drive that places Thin Lizzy among the best of the ‘70s rock world. Twin guitars attack fast and hard as Lynott swings his bass like an axe while the drums hammer out beats to keep the feet moving and the fist pumping.

Thin Lizzy (pronounced in the proper Irish as “tin lizzie”) jams through the biggies, “Jailbreak” complete with sirens and alarm bells, “Cowboy Song,” “Dancing In The Moonlight” with its sax break, and the heavy-hitting anthem “The Boys Are Back In Town” which sounds just as good live as it does from the studio. Not found on LAD are the social-conscious war tune “Soldier Of Fortune,” the story of the “Opium Trail” and the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll inspired “Me And The Boys.” “Opium Trail” has some major KISS-sounding riffs while “Me And The Boys” must have been heard by the boys in Van Halen. Screaming guitar, hyper drums, and Lynott’s scat-like, jumbled vocals are reminiscent of David Lee Roth; think “Hot For Teacher” on this track. Rounding out the CD are “Massacre,” “Don’t Believe A Word,” and “Baby Drives Me Crazy.”

Its clear that Thin Lizzy was the inspiration for many bands that would follow and fill the void left as the 1980s set in and Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy fell apart. The classic line-up heard here would split just after the release of Live And Dangerous while Lynott’s drug addiction would send him spiraling to an early grave. But we now have another great live recording in Still Dangerous left behind to ease the pain and keep us rockin’.

Thin Lizzy is rock ‘n’ roll at its finest. They may not be the best or most popular band in the world or from their era, but they can knock down walls with their powerful rock drive. If Thin Lizzy doesn’t get you moving then you either have no soul or simply don’t know shit about rock ‘n’ roll! Not once, not never!

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