Venue: The New Inn - Dublin
The measure of the late Philip Lynott's enduring popularity was evident in the wall-to-wall throng that turned up at the New Inn last Thursday on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the Thin Lizzy main man's death.
Organised by Smiley Bolger, 'Remembering Philip Lynott', brought together old pals, veteran supporters and the more recently converted for a night of poignant celebration. Friends of Philip in attendance included Dave Murphy, Jim Fitzpatrick and Jimmy Faulkner, the latter happily now '90% recovered' from his horrific accident of last April, while the stage itself played host to The Elite, Stano, Trojan, Mark Dignam, Auto-da-Fe, Brush Shiels (performing 'Old Pal') and Philip Chevron (with a solo acoustic rendering of 'Faithful Departed').
Top of the bill and doubtless in large part the reason for the huge turnout was a three-piece band featuring Lizzy originals, Eric Bell and Brian Downey, with Mary Stokes' bassist Joe Lahart. The trio kicked off with a smouldering 'Red House', but the high point was undoubtedly 'The Rocker', this was the definitive version as cut by Lizzy back in '73 - Eric Bell's hard rock tour-de-force that's never been bettered.
Away from the stage however, the nights undoubted guest of honour was Philip's mother Philomena, who chatted with, kissed, hugged and signed autographs for a never-ending stream of fans come to pay homage to her son and wish her well in the '90's.
All in all, a hot, happy and nostalgic night in the old town. All credit to Smiley and co. for putting it together and carrying it off so succesfully.
Last Thursday night, Smiley promoted the best gig in town this week (and that includes Simply Red, Tears For Fears and Bon Jovi) with his tribute to Phil Lynott.
A minute's silence started off the Phil Lynott anniversary concert - after that it was action all the way. I'm not sure what the capacity of the New Inn Gig is but the walls were bulging from start to finish. For those unable to take the strain of the emotion, the atmosphere and the shear crush of people, the other bar had a large video screen showing Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott videos. For the rest of us it was the hot sweaty atmosphere of the New Inn Gig itself, a long low room with the stage at the front and the bar and the dressing room at the back (this produced certain difficulties as each band had to push their way through the crowds to get to the stage - imagine standing there waiting for Eric Bell and Brian Downey to come on when there's a tap on the shoulder and Eric Bell says in your ear "Can we get past please.")
Mark Dignan started the music with an acoustic set, followed by Trojan and The Elite, Dublin bands who do great cover versions of the Cowboy Song and Black Rose respectively. While at the front the bands were taking the limelight, at the back of the hall ther was a constant commotion as celebreties mingled with the crush trying to get a drink from the overwhelmed bar. Guest of honour was Phil's mother, Philomena, who was in constant demand from everyone wishing her the best and getting her to autograph tickets, posters and even copies of Black Rose. I even saw her autographing someones jacket at one point.
Philip Chevron did a moving rendition of Faithful Departed (the old Moving Hearts/Christy Moore number) to be followed by Auto Da Fé. In between acts the stage was taken by people reading lyrics from Phil's three books, the most memorable of these being by the artist Jim Fitzpatrick and a very amusing rendition by some twins. Brush Sheils came on to do one number - what else could it be but his tribute to Phil Old Pal. Stano did a couple of numbers and, before the main act came on, a live dub number was done made out of Thin Lizzy records.
I wonder if people were disappointed by the set that Eric Bell and Brian Downley played. It included the two most famous Lizzy tracks from when Eric was with the band, Whiskey in the Jar and The Rocker and Dave Murphy joined them to sing a particularly touching version of Ageing. Apart from that it was made up of standard blues numbers with Joe Lahart from the Mary Stokes Band playing bass and Eric doing the vocals. Time was charging on. "I don't usually play any other Thin Lizzy numbers" Eric said to the shouts of "More!, More!" at the end of their set and the band played the Kinks number You Really Got Me, which Eric started singing until relieved by someone who came out of the audience.
The whole evening was wound up by Smiley Bolger. He must take the credit for working very hard to make the whole thing come together. The atmosphere and the craic was great, the mood was hectic and I don't think anyone who was there will forget it in a hurry. The night was more successful than anyone could have predicted and next year's event, pencilled in for a much bigger venue, will be something to go for. And I wonder who will turn up for that?
There is currently no gallery for the 4th 'Remembering' Vibe, but images may be updated soon.