Thin Lizzy’s ‘Live And Dangerous’ has been described as one of the best double live albums of the 70’s hard rock genre, I wouldn’t disagree with that statement, but perhaps a sneak behind the curtain will reveal that a totally authentic live album was not really the case here.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Thin Lizzy
ALBUM: Live And Dangerous
SERIAL: 6641 810
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Ireland
LINEUP: Phil Lynott – lead vocals, bass * Scott Gorham – lead guitar, backing vocals * Brian Robertson – lead guitar, backing vocals * Brian Downey – drums, percussion
Additional Musicians: John Earle – sax ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ * Huey Lewis – harmonica on ‘Baby Drives Me Crazy’
TRACK LISTING: 01 Jailbreak * 02 Emerald * 03 Southbound * 04 Rosalie * 05 Cowgirl’s Song * 06 Dancing In The Moonlight * 07 Massacre * 08 Still In Love With You * 09 Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed * 10 Cowboy’s Song * 11 The Boys Are Back In Town * 12 Don’t Believe A Word * 13 Warrior * 14 Are You Ready * 15 Suicide * 16 Sha La La * 17 Baby Drives Me Crazy * 18 The Rocker
It’s been described as one of the best double live albums of the 70’s hard rock genre. I wouldn’t disagree with that statement, but perhaps a sneak behind the curtain will reveal that a totally authentic live album was not really the case here. A few studio back-hander tricks have been added to give this a bit of gloss over.
The same could be said for other classic live albums of the era too, namely Judas Priest‘ ‘Unleashed In The East’ and UFO‘s seminal ‘Strangers In The Night’ which was given a Ron Nevison makeover before release.
I will say that Thin Lizzy were at the height of their powers during the late 70’s, with a raft of good albums (‘Jailbreak’, ‘Johnny The Fox’, ‘Bad Reputation’ etc) and a hectic touring schedule all around the globe. Thin Lizzy proved a popular draw wherever they played, but London would always be a home away from home, and this double live album cherry picks performances from a 1976 gig at Hammersmith Odeon, 1977 gigs in the USA and Canada and supposedly a London performance as late as March 1978 (this album was released in June 1978).
Wikipedia suggests some conflict and indifference between the band and producer Tony Visconti. The band state that 75% of the material here are ‘live’ recordings while Visconti states that 75% of it was manipulated in the studio. Go figure! Let’s check out the songs regardless of who is right and wrong.
‘Jailbreak’ sets the scene, the Thin Lizzy boys open up with all guns blazing as they did many times during their concerts. The pure-bred Irish anthem ‘Emerald’ takes the twin-guitar approach to new highs. The tone is lowered for the laid-back and melodic ‘Southbound’.
It’s the calm before the storm as ‘Rosalie’ kicks in, one of Thin Lizzy’s tried and true anthems. The audience participation at the end is great, but the best audience bits are to feature further on in the album. We jump to another Lizzy classic, the smooth as a snake rendition of ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’, the sax work from John Earle (Graham Parker & The Rumour) is very cool.
Next we break into a tribal backbeat on ‘Massacre’, which was one of the highlights on the ‘Johnny The Fox’ LP. The version of ‘Still In Love With You’ is perhaps the quintessential of their recorded discography. I have heard other live versions of this track but they pale against this one. The split guitar solos from Robertson and Gorham is spellbinding to say the least.
Like Larry the Lounge Lizard, ‘Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed’ is a departure for the band, but it’s a cool and slinky song nonethless. It has a bluesy vibe not disimilar to the Pat Travers Band. ‘Cowboy Song’ sits comfortably in the center of this album, and commands its place by virtue of its popularity on Lizzy’s 1975 LP ‘Jailbreak’.
The next two songs are standard bearers among Thin Lizzy’s discography: ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ needs no introduction, while ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ is a 2 minute 19 sec power-packed delivery. Jumping ahead to ‘Suicide’, this one features some southern rock riffing a la Point Blank with Lynott growling his way forward. ‘Sha La La’ is a pumping track, it also allows Brian Downey to let off steam with a drum solo toward the end.
The best singalong track on the album is without doubt ‘Baby Drives Me Crazy’, complete with OTT audience participation plus Huey Lewis on harmonica. A great fun-filled track, one of my favourites on the LP. One of Thin Lizzy’s earliest tracks ‘The Rocker’ finishes up what is a terrific live album, one of the best of its kind IMHO.
I owned the double live LP for many years, but like many of my past vinyl collection, it has sadly been done away with. I only wish I kept all my LP’s, a decision to part with them is one I have since regretted over and over again, but having moved house many times and even overseas, it was a pragmatic decision at the end of the day.. lol!
Not that I will be stocking up on vinyl again.. what’s done is done. In the reissue stakes, L&D has been given numerous reissues, the first CD appearing in 1996. There have been CD/DVD sets which includes live footage from the 1977 Rainbow Theatre gig released specifically for DVD in 2007.
A 2011 CD/DVD includes both audio and video, but none of the video extras which appeared on the 2007 DVD. No two ways about it, ‘Live And Dangerous’ is a one of a kind live album, and no doubt it sits pretty high in the collection of many of the regulars here.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)
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