For all the talk about how difficult that young talented black musicians had in 1950s America, one can't help but wonder how Phil Lynott had to deal with such adversity. Born to an Irish citizen from a father who returned to South America after he was born, Phil was raised in England by his mother, and he turned to rock music as a comfort and, by the mid '60s, as a vocation of sorts. He met Brian Downey and eventually formed the band Thin Lizzy with guitarist Eric Bell (Downey handled drumming and Lynott was the bassist and vocalist). The band's success was slow to come on, but by the second album, was regularly achieving Top 10 sales status in the U.K. Success in America was fleeting though, as 1976's "Jailbreak" was the only one to crack the Top 20. And while songs like "The Boys Are Back in Town" and "Don't Believe a Word" were contemporary successes, the band's popularity and influence were of greater legacy. Metallica (and other American bands) have frequently performed cover versions of Lizzy songs as their tribute to Lynott. Sadly though, Lynott was not around to see this appreciation for his work, as he died of liver failure from years of drug dependency at the age of 36.
His worth and value in England and, to a greater degree, his adopted country of Ireland, has become so overwhelming that in 2005, a statue of Lynott was commissioned and unveiled, with its placement prominently in Dublin. Members of Lynott's former bands, like Skid Row (not THAT one) guitarist Gary Moore, along with Downey, Bell, former guitarist Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham all reunited for a tribute concert shortly after the dedication at Dublin's Point Theatre. While it was a short set and 72 minutes, the hits were played for the crowd, and those hits are:
"Walking By Myself"
"Don't Believe A Word"
"Still in Love With You"
"The Boys Are Back In Town"
"Whiskey in the Jar"
I've picked up a growing admiration and respect for Thin Lizzy songs, because while they might be songs with topical things like fighting, loving and raising hell, Lynott managed to convey a heartfelt emotion in any of the songs, be it about the good times, bad times or times in between. It's easy to write a song about your woman leaving and make it sound schmaltzy, or going to the pub and having a few pints with friends, but Phil did it with soul and style, then you couldn't help but get along with the music and have fun in the process. It's that fun that translates over into the concert. Moore handles the vocals on most of the songs, and the musicians are good live. They jam quite a bit and almost forget about the vocals sometimes, and rush a verse through in a couple of beats, which almost kills a passionate crowd who loves singing the songs. At the end of the day, it's about the man and the music he helped create, and the show is enjoyable and good fun.
Presented in 1.78:1 1080i high definition, this is the second concert disc on Blu-ray I've seen recently (the first was Styx' One With Everything concert), and both were done by Eagle Rock. They use the AVC MPEG-4 and the result is an excellent video presentation. You can see how vivid Moore's Les Paul sunburst guitar looks, not to mention the removed varnish on Bell's Stratocaster. And you know who looks really good in high definition? The crowd. You can spot faces on many crowd members in the wide shots as they pass around the occasional joint or two, but each person is also readily discernible. Nicely done by Eagle Rock.
And like the Styx concert disc, you get three tracks to choose from; a two-channel PCM track, a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, and the DTS HD Master Audio lossless 5.1 track that I went for again here. In doing an on the fly comparison of the DD and DTS tracks, it's clear there's more punch on the low end on the DTS track, and a tighter and cleaner sound range to enjoy. Moore's vocals are crisp and require little adjustment, and speaker panning/directional effects aren't abundant, but help bathe the viewer in a nice environment of crowd noise as if you were right in the middle of things. Another solid sonic effort on Blu-ray.
The only thing of note is a series of interviews with the participants of the concert (25:44), as they recall meeting Phil and playing with him, the fun times they had together and the work they put in to get the concert together on top of the statue unveiling.
While One Night in Dublin might not be an accurate or even slightly flattering portrayal of Lynott's music, or the music of Thin Lizzy in general, it does at least generate interest in the music that some modern musicians cite as a reason for becoming a rocker. The audio and video remain outstanding work, and help show off why the music is so popular. Go ahead and check it out, broaden your horizons already!