Brian Downey’s Alive and Dangerous @ The Cathouse, Glasgow
Glasgow holds a special place in it’s heart for Thin Lizzy, From the cities very own Brian Robertson to the immortal moment Phil Lynott walked out onto that huge Glasgow Apollo stage with a Scotland football top and pronounced us champions.
Brian Downey was a founder member and one hell of a drummer so all the naysayers can crawl under their rocks as this man has every right to bring forward his own incarnation of the most famous and loved of Irish bands.
Before we got to the headliners we had support in Blue Nation and I think the guys will probably admit to having their worst night ever. The entry tonight was delayed by almost an hour so people were restless and happy to see the three members take to the stage even if it was in scruffy hoodies or t-shirts but to our amazement this was the sound check. It was as rough as hell and I for one was not too interested in seeing what they had to offer after that as it was just a shambles of noise. The sound check lasted all of 3 minutes and the boys disappeared only to come back a few minutes later in some of the most awful shirts you can imagine.
I have a feeling the crowd tonight were ready and waiting to rip this poor band apart but the tension was released slightly when singer/guitarist Neil Murdoch stated quite forcefully that they were not an Oasis tribute band(sort those haircuts out boys).
With the tension released the band slipped into some excellent blues infused numbers, I had made my way from the back(as I was wanting a quick exit) and I had turned around my preconceptions…these lads were damned good. We got all of about three songs before disaster struck and their guitar amp died completely. No amount of cable changes sorted it so it was left to the main band’s sound tech to work wonders while the singer filled in the time with some good craic, stories and lots of chants of Brian Downey.
When they finally got it sorted their was only time for one last song but they had built up the anticipation so much when that guitar sound came out of the speakers there was a huge cheer and the last song went down a treat.
There were no surprises tonight from the headliners as this was Alive and Dangerous in its entirety(well, apart from a few dropped from the end due to the late start). This show was a no brainer for me as this is in my top five live albums of all time. If I remember correctly this was the third live album I ever heard after Whitesnake and Rainbow(these two are also still in my top five as well).
No matter what people say live albums are not like they were back in the day, they were a magical beast and it was a sign when a band had made it…that was why I was here tonight.
From that opening bass line to “Jailbreak” I was in heaven. This for me was Lizzy, that lazy assed riffage, the tied up emotion, the waiting for a fight to break out…it was what the band was all about. No matter what cheeky smile was on their lips or that glint in their eyes…you don’t mess with the Irish boys.
Of course one of the first things I focused on was Matt wilson on vocals and bass. He has incredible boots to fill and the fact that Phil still holds such respect 32 years after his passing says what a legend he was. As much as Matt has his look tied down it is his voice that will blow you away.
As he fires into “Emerald” I have goosebumps, I love this song and Matt owns it. During songs “Dancing in the Moonlight”, “ Still in Love with You” and “Johnny the Fox” I close my eyes, I have walked to the back of the room and I swear I am listening to Phil, I am transported back more than 30 years.
I will admit this is an older crowd tonight but like me they have all stepped back in time, the weight has fallen off, the wrinkles disappeared, the hair has grown again and we are back in a moment that we can still remember so well.
I take my hat off to Brian Downey for putting together this band, every member is so tight and they have this album note for note. The boys out front seem to be enjoying themselves no end and for us, the paying punters we are as happy as a pig in the proverbial.
This was an incredible night, an incredible show based on one hell of a live album. That show was what I grew up with and played constantly and tonight I relived all those memories and sang my heart out.
I take my hat of to this incarnation as it was a night to remember and slot right alongside that original.
Images and words Ritchie Birnie
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