Sound — 9
Back in 1978, Thin Lizzy released Live And Dangerous, a double album hailed by many as one of the best live records ever released. While no one questions the quality of the music, some have been concerned that it was not necessarily a true live album. After all, that whole area gets tainted when overdubs and various post-production edit's are included. Over 20 years later, there is an answer to all the controversy in the form of Still Dangerous: Live at the Tower Theatre Philadelphia 1977. While it's no double album, Still Dangerous is still a masterfully mixed recording of two shows that Thin Lizzy performed back in October of 1977. Fans have the added pleasure of knowing that the tracks featured on the latest release have never been released and were actually discovered in a band lockup by accident. In America, Thin Lizzy actually only placed in the Billboard Top 100 once (with the iconic Boys Are Back In Town), which is a shame considering that this is a band that laid some serious groundwork in terms of twin guitar work. If you're a fan of Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, you will undoubtedly be impressed by songs like Opium Trail or Massacre, which highlight the amazing team of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. The entire show heard on Still Dangerous is impressive and you can't deny the charisma of vocalist/bassist Phil Lynott, but the guitars are what surge to the forefront of every song. Boys Are Back In Town is still the fun and highly memorable tune it has always been, but it pales in comparison to some of the other arrangements heard on the album. The CD begins with one of the most impressive tracks Soldier of Fortune, which shows off the contrasting sides of Thin Lizzy. From the slow, subdued beginning to the militaristic percussion to the descending/ascending lead guitar work at the end, it makes for an engaging piece. Dancing in the Moonlight already oozes cool with the grooving bass line, but it is energized even more with the addition of an impressive horn section. Another element that makes Still Dangerous a recording that can stand the test of time is Glyn Johns' amazing mixing throughout. He definitely deserves credit for turning a 1977 recording into something that has the quality of a contemporary live album. Johns' work allows the heart of the band to truly come through, which set the standard for musicianship in the 1970s. Apparently Lynott often wanted the band to experiment with different arrangements in order to make things a little interesting during live shows, and it's likely that some of the spontaneous creativity is chronicled on Still Dangerous.
Lyrics — 10
Phil Lynott either co-wrote or was completely responsible for every track heard on the CD, and there's an interesting mix of topics covered. Even more interesting than the actual topics is the adept manner in which Lynott relays themes like drugs in Opium Trail (I took a line that comes from the golden states of Shan; The smugglers trail that leads to the opium) or casualty-filled battles in Massacre (There's no place left to go; Six hundred unknown heroes; Were killed like sleeping buffalo). There might be plenty going on musically in Thin Lizzy's songs, but the lyrical content is just as impressive.
Overall Impression — 9
There are plenty of us who have only heard samplings of Thin Lizzy's music over the years, and the live performance captured on Still Dangerous really drives home the point of how talented the band really was. While Lynott absolutely deserves credit for being the foundation of Thin Lizzy, it's obvious that each member (particularly the team of Gorham and Robertson) is responsible for shaping the legendary sound. For fans who already own the entire Thin Lizzy catalogue, you will still likely enjoy the never-before-released renditions of the classics. There may be some disappointment due to the fact that hit's like Whiskey in the Jar don't show up on the tracklist, but Still Dangerous is still a highly entertaining 47 minutes worth of music.