Thin Lizzy Newcastle City Hall 1st November 1976

Thin Lizzy Newcastle City Hall 1st November 1976
thintix761976 was Thin Lizzy’s year. The album “Jailbreak” gave them the breakthrough that they had been working so had for. Released in March 1976, it featured the worldwide hit “The Boys Are Back in Town” which broke the band and reached no. 8 in the UK. “Jailbreak” had all the right elements; the wonderful twin guitar sound of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson, great rock tunes which were heavy yet not metal, fascinating stories of the street (bet Phil listened to Springsteen), great use of Celtic mythology drawn from Phil’s Irish heritage, and an attitude and vibe that shone through in the sleeve and Phil’s image, and which completely captured the mood of the time. The album features some of Lizzy’s best compositions such as as “Emerald”, the single “Boys are Back”, and the title track “Jailbreak” which all quickly became concert favourites and would remain in their live set throughout their career. Suddenly Lizzy went from being the club band you could see all the time, to rock heroes who were selling out concert halls and theatres up and down the country.
thinscottPhil Lynott fell ill with hepatitis during a US tour; the tour was cancelled, during which time he wrote the follow up album “Johnny the Fox”. The album was recorded in August 1976, but there were tensions between Lynott and Robertson; including disagreements over the credits for their next hit single “Don’t Believe a Word”. “Johnny the Fox” is a good album, but falls short in comparison to the “Jailbreak”. The band went out on tour in the UK to promote the new album, supported by Clover, featuring Huey Lewis. They performed 25 concerts during the UK tour, all of which were completely sold out. I saw the Newcastle gig which was powerful, energetic and a celebration of Lizzy’s recent success. The crowd welcomed the band back as conquering heroes and Phil was becoming the ultimate rock frontman, who could command a crowd like no-one else at the time. A simple thing, like reflecting light off his mirrored bass front plate so that it cut across the concert hall and dazzled us all, seemed fantastic at the time.
thinphilPhil told us stories, got us to sing along with him, and led his two fantastic guitar compatriots Scott and Brian, and drummer Brian, in some perfect rock music. “Emerald” and “The Rocker” were my favourites, and when they played “The Boys Are Back in Town” we just knew that the song was about Phil and the guys, but we also felt that it was about us; and that we were all “boys” together. A wonderful, uplifting performance. We were so proud that this band, who we had followed through the clubs, ballrooms, and festivals was taking on the world, and was doing it with rock songs which we could relate to.
Thin-Lizzy-Prog76“Lizzy have walked away with the cup this year” and “….. there is no better bona fide rock band in England, maybe the world, at this moment than Thin Lizzy.” (David Housham reviewing the Bristol gig in the music press at the time).
A bootleg of the Newcastle show exists which includes the following songs: Jailbreak; Massacre; Emerald; Johnny; It’s Only Money; Still in Love With You; The Boys Are Back in Town; Rosalie; Suicide; Warriors. Encore: Baby Drives Me Crazy. I suspect that they may also have played “Sha la la ” and “The Rocker”.
Thanks to Mitch for his photo which was taken at this gig.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the length of Scott’s hair, which I was so jealous of. I never quite figured out why mine stopped growing at a certain length, and never quite reached my waist 🙂

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on October 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    This was the third time in thirteeen months I had seen them headline at Newcastle City Hall – the October 1975 Fighting concert and the Jailbreak show in March 1976 was the first two. But by this time they were in a class of their own.

    In my opinion Phil Lynott was a musical genius. The band went through a number of guitar players but nothing quite matched the energy and power that the Lynott, Downey, Gorham and Robertson line up had, which when everything clicked was so exciting to watch.

    This was the Johnny The Fox tour but surprisingly they only played a couple of tracks from the album.
    The full setlist was:
    Jailbreak, Massacre, Emerald, Johnny, It’s Only Money, Still In Love With You, The Boys Are Back In Town, Rosalie, Cowboy Song, Suicide, Warrior, Sha La La, Baby Drives Me Crazy.
    Encores: Me And The Boys, The Rocker.

    One of my favourite Thin Lizzy tracks appears on the Johnny The Fox album – Borderline – but I don’t think it was ever performed live.

    Reply

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