By Sean Palmerston
Although a new version of Thin Lizzy is currently together and touring, the brand new Live at the National Stadium Dublin DVD is comprised entirely of archival material original filmed for Irish television by national broadcaster RTE television during the band’s heyday of the late 70s and early 80s. The main feature on the video is a live performance by the 1975 Fighting era line up of the band: Phil Lynott on bass and vocals, Brian Downey on drums and Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on guitars. Filmed live at said stadium in Dublin, an outdoor venue that was actually used primarily for boxing events, this was not a typical venue for concerts and, as the liner notes attest to, the security at the show was not really one used to rock concert. With that in mind, it becomes obvious quickly why the audience is so stoic throughout the show. The odd time you do see someone stand up they are quickly told to sit down by the stadium’s ushers.
This by no means is to imply that Thin Lizzy play a low-intensity show here. In fact, if anything, the quartet does an excellent job entertaining the seated, extremely polite crowd. Robertson and Gorham have already locked into their twin-leads before the end of the second song, “It’s Only Money”, and are completely in sync playing around each other by “Wild One”. This show is a great peak into what Thin Lizzy were about to become with 1976’s Jailbreak – one of the best hard rock bands in the world.
As this was shown live on Irish television, the simulcast was only available for about an hour. Because of this, the band’s entire live show is not available here. There are only ten songs available, including the aforementioned as well as set highlights of “Suicide”, “Rosalie” and “The Rocker” all in a row. You can tell that the band is continuing on after the television simulcast ends with the ballad “Still In Love With You”. It would have been nice if they went on to capture the rest of the show, but of course they had no idea back in 1975 that it would be released as an archival release some thirty-seven years later.
There are two other full-length features on this DVD that are also previously unreleased on home video. The first, entitled Renegade: The Phil Lynott Story, is a television documentary focusing on the Thin Lizzy bandleader and talking to him about the history of the band starting with “Whiskey In The Jar” and also including some Lynott live performances with his solo band shown side by side with classic Lizzy live shots and some rarely seen videos. The interviews for this set also include chats with Brian Downey and Scott Gorham as well as footage shot at a Lizzy band rehearsal.
The Sun Goes Down, the third feature on the DVD was a RTE documentary program spotlighting the band’s farewell Irish tour. It shows an insider’s look into the setup of a concert, including interviews with the tour’s lighting director, sound engineer and stage manager that took care of the tour in its entirety. It’s also worth watching because of the (edited) footage of the band playing “Cold Sweat” and “The Sun Goes Down” live in Belfast.
Tack on a few bonus tracks comprised of Irish television live performances on the RTE program 6/5 and a Phil Lynott solo music video and this is a pretty comprehensive package that will appeal to any Thin Lizzy fan willing to give it a shot.