2011 is proving to be an important year in the history of Thin Lizzy. Not only did January see the 25th anniversary of the passing of frontman Phil Lynott, but this was to be Thin Lizzy's first appearance at Download Festival. Faces may have come and gone, but long time members Scott Gorham and founding member Brian Downey are still to hand to monitor the preservation of the Thin Lizzy soul.
Whilst some may be sceptical of the current musical body that is Thin Lizzy, to hear hits like 'Waiting For an Alibi' and 'Jailbreak' reeled off live is nothing short of a treat. However, nothing can quite compare to the ecstatic reaction to, and subsequent performance of, 'Whiskey In The Jar'. The iconic song still possesses a timeless quality and, thanks to a magnificently tight rendition from the six-piece, was a definite highlight of the set. Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell was invited to the stage to join his former band as they shuffled into 'The Boys Are Back In Town,' unsurprisingly providing an equally unforgettable memory.
Thin Lizzy have never been, and will never be, the same without Lynott. Stepping in to his place is the respectful Ricky Warwick, a man who is no stranger to Download. The Irishman's voice may be too raucous in the eyes of many Thin Lizzy fans, but knowing that they were never going to be able (or even WANT to replace) the spirit of Phil Lynott, it seems that the band have made an approvable move.
Forty two years on and it seems Thin Lizzy have yet to waste away, their signature sound of classic guitar leads and immaculate vocal harmonies sounding as good as ever. The sextet were perfectly suited to the mid-card main stage slot and offered two genuine 'Download moments'. It is pleasing to see that the group continue to operate under the celebrated name of Thin Lizzy primarily for the love of the music, rather than for financial gain. Although it is truly saddening to remember the losses of Phil Lynott, Gary Moore and one-time drummer Michael Lee, it is shows like these that make us appreciate what they have gifted us.