Gary Moore & Friends – One Night In Dublin, A Tribute To Phil Lynott, Blu-ray (2009)
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment EVBRD 33331-9
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 color, 1080i HD
Audio: English DTS Master Audio 5.1, Dolby 5.1, PCM Stereo
Length: 98 minutes
The late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy was greatly revered, not only by his Irish compatriots, but also by music lovers everywhere. As a black Irish rock musician, he was unique among his peers and a remarkably effective and willing ambassador for Ireland, and his unlikely fusion of rock and Irish traditional themes is still admired to this day. The Dual guitar lineup that he employed in Thin Lizzy – along with his hauntingly smoky vocal delivery – became their trademarks and led them to a string of hits throughout the seventies and into the early eighties. Unfortunately, and in a time of rampant excess, especially among musicians, he fell victim to drug addictions and died in January 1986 at the age of 36. On August 19, 2005, a statue of Phil Lynott was unveiled in Dublin; the ceremony attendees included former Thin Lizzy members Gary Moore, Brian Downey, Brian Robertson, Scott Gorham and Eric Bell. All the former members felt a musical tribute was in order, and the following night a concert was given that reunited them in celebration of Phil Lynott’s life, and this excellent Blu-ray disc documents that concert.
While I was fully expecting another one of those star-studded type tribute galas, the list of performers here was surprisingly sparse; almost everyone who appears on stage was at one time a member of Thin Lizzy. The sole exception was Jethro Tull bassist Jonathan Noyce, who filled in for Phil Lynott instrumentally, while Gary Moore handled most of the vocal chores. The entire affair was spearheaded by Moore, and the song selection is bookended by the Jimmy Rogers classic “Walking By Myself” (which opens the show) and the Gary Moore tune “Parisienne Walkways” (which Phil Lyott originally sang lead vocals on). All the other works are sourced from Thin Lizzy’s catalog. While Moore was not a long-time band member in terms of his presence on their studio albums, he did tour with them (as a working member of the band) extensively, and his roots include decades-old associations with Phil Lynott and the other band members. The interview segment of the disc is really very interesting, and describes not only how the concert came about, but the various participants also detail their tenures with Thin Lizzy and sometimes rocky relationships with Phil Lynott (especially later on, as his drug addictions deepened).
Musically, this Blu-ray is amazingly satisfying, and Gary Moore and company put on a veritable clinic of good guitar playing. As the opening “Walking By Myself” segues into the classic “Jailbreak” the audience really comes alive, and when guitarist Brian Robertson walks on stage to join in for “Emerald,” the crowd goes just about nuts. Moore and Robertson swap blistering guitar solos here, making it clearly evident to all how amazingly effective the dual guitar lineup was for the band, and how remarkably vital and classic their music still is. Robertson offers an astonishingly good solo on “Still In Love With You;” he displays a tenderness and melodicism in his guitar tone that’s almost unbelievable following the raucous “Emerald.” Robertson is then replaced by Scott Gorham, and he and Moore tear through “Black Rose” as the audience roars their approval. Gorham also doubles with Moore on vocals on Thin Lizzy’s signature tune, “The Boys Are Back In Town.” Original guitarist Eric Bell then comes onstage for a rousing encore version of “Whiskey In The Jar,” and then Gary Moore closes out the show with “Parisienne Walkways,” in which he offers some amazing fretwork. Moore is such a master of so many styles – it’s just unbelievable that he’s not really held in such high regard here in the states – his playing here is almost transcendental!
Technically, the Blu-ray disc is just a shade less than perfect, with only a couple of issues keeping it from five stars. The video content, while perfectly acceptable for a concert performance, is a bit soft and unfocused in a few places; otherwise, the color representation, contrast and image quality are uniformly excellent. I also had a slight issue with the sound mix; Gary Moore occupied the left on stage throughout, and it seemed as though the mix was balanced a tad too heavily in his favor. I had to play about with the settings to achieve what I thought was a good overall balance, and I found this to be true with all offered sound options, although I did most of my listening with the DTS MA 5.1 track. A minor quibble, but it did take a few minutes playing about before I could settle in and just enjoy the show.
As a tribute to Phil Lynott, this disc is little short of magnificent, and for fans of good guitar playing in general, it’s not to be missed, and will definitely make you rethink how you rate Thin Lizzy in the pantheon of rock music. Very highly recommended!
TrackList: Walking By Myself; Jailbreak; Don’t Believe A Word; Emerald; Still In Love With You; Black Rose; Cowboy Song; The Boys Are Back In Town; Whiskey In The Jar; Old Town; Parisienne Walkways.
– Tom Gibbs