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Still Dangerous: Live at the Tower Theater, Philadelphia 1977
Released: 2009, VH1 Classic Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Admittedly, I was a late comer to the Thin Lizzy party, dismissing the band for years until I took the time to hear what all the fuss was about. But as the cliché goes: better late than never. Thin Lizzy in its prime was a hard rock juggernaut that has gone on to inspire bands as broad as Pantera, Metallica and Gorefest. Many hard rock and metal fans only know of the band’s token classic rock radio anthem “Boys are Back in Town,” but there’s so much more to the band’s diverse catalog than this one overplayed gem. This latest release, STILL DANGEROUS, is a great sampling of the band during an important period in their history and is intended to be a companion piece to the legendary LIVE & DANGEROUS album from 1978. The tapes for this recording were literally locked away in a storage facility unbeknownst to the surviving members of the band until recently. The songs featured on STILL DANGEROUS were pulled from two concerts in Philadelphia, PA during the same Bad Reputation tour that gave us LIVE & DANGEROUS. But as the 1978 concert album was littered with studio overdubs, STILL DANGEROUS is 100% live Thin Lizzy. No overdubs and no touch ups - this is as close as you’ll ever get to hearing the band in their prime first hand.
The song selection featured here is pretty consistent with the 1978 opus, save for a few tracks and the order of the set list. These are the band’s classic songs from their most creative period, so you won’t hear any complaints from me on that front. “Soldier of Fortune,” “Dancing in the Moonlight,” “Jailbreak,” “Boys are Back;” they’re all here and they sound phenomenal. Just hearing late frontman Phil Lynott’s smooth Irish brogue one more time was enough to get me grinning. There’s plenty of friendly banter between Lynott and the crowd between the songs, but make no mistake, he’s driving the crowd exactly where he wants to take them. A true front man if there ever was such a thing, the world was robbed of a true talent with his passing.
Scott Gorham, Brian Robertson, and Brian Downey round out the lineup for this tour and recording. The collective precision and sync between the quartet is awe inspiring, even more so knowing that there’s no studio wizardry present. Check out the urgency on “Massacre” or Lynott’s passionate warnings on “Don’t Believe a Word.” The back and forth between Lynott and the crowd on “Baby Drives Me Crazy” is pure 70’s arena rock, but even I (jaded cynic that I am) caught myself singing along more than once.
STILL DANGEROUS captures a moment in time when rock and roll was fun and unpretentious, and captures Thin Lizzy at their best. If you’re already a fan of Lizzy’s body of work, consider this to be mandatory listening. If you’re new to the band or like my former self, are wondering what all the fuss is about, this is a great introduction to 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
11. Bad Reputation
Phil Lynott – Vocals, Bass
Scott Gorham – Lead Guitar
Brian Robertson – Lead Guitar
Brian Downey – Drums
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