I first saw LL almost exactly five years ago at the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth. They have now been touring for twenty- five years. Thin Lizzy toured for seventeen years. As custodians of the music, Limehouse Lizzy can lay claim to the songs even more strongly now than the original band!
At the heart of the action is Wayne Ellis who has bulked up considerably in the time since I last saw him. As muscular as a cage fighter, the packed house on a hot summer’s night (yes we did Dance in the Moonlight) was red hot (I mean steaming), causing a perspiring sheen to glint on his muscular exposed biceps, much to the excitement of the ladies.
The set opened to a blazing “Jailbreak” and never looked back, a greatest hits set culled mainly from the seminal “Live and Dangerous” album, augmented by some judiciously chosen album tracks the best of which was “Opium”. Visually pleasing, but not clone like facsimiles of the original band members, the spirit of the band, and the music, was captured perfectly. The ubiquitous “Boys are back in Town” and “Whiskey in a Jar” raised the roof at the end, but for me “Don’t Believe a Word”, and particularly “Are You Ready”, were the rockers that really rocked. The latter is a hermetically sealed explosive charge which ticks, goes off, and is then gone. A perfect pop song. The former I have always found multi layered, and Ellis skilfully squeezes the ambivalence out of the lyrics. Is it a laddish, misogynist taunt and boast? ( you know you’ll want it anyway). Or is it an elegiac paean from a man who cannot settle down, a cri de Coeur warning someone whom he knows deserves better?
A tremendous show, at a great venue., and credit to the sound man, loud, clear, no distortion, no deafness until the following morning!
My only gripe was time. I thought a 9.30pm start was late for a band that plays a long two hour set. But with an electronic timer on stage that barely touched fifty five minutes before the break, they then had to gallop through the second half which finished a few minutes after 11.30pm as they were being told to hurry up. Two highlights of the Tamworth show, “Still in Love with You” and “Parisienne Walkways” were not played, nor replaced by something similar, denying the guitarists a bluesy work out opportunity. The second half, for all of its glory, felt as though bits were missing. The promoters should set a start time sufficient for the band to play a full set. What happened on Friday left frustrated fans, and I suspect frustrated band members.
Despite this the set was fresh, interesting and vibrant. I would love to see them do a mash up of “Rosalie” with Springsteen’s “Rosalita” not least because it would make further use of the excellent sax player who guested on “Moonlight”. I look forwards to seeing them again soon- so should you
For the review five years ago: