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Black Star Riders

Live in Saint Charles, Illinois, April 2015

Review by Greg Olma

I have been a Thin Lizzy fan since the late 70s and unfortunately, I was too young to ever catch the original version live.  I was able to catch the later day versions but really it wasn’t the same.  The decision to change the name to tour and record under the Black Star Riders was a wise choice.  Even though the band still has many elements of Thin Lizzy in their music (they even play some classic material live), Black Star Riders needs to stand on its own merits.

The show they performed was a truncated set due to their support slot status on Europe’s tour of the US.  While they only had approximately 45 minutes to perform, they made the most of their time on stage by promoting both records along with squeezing in a few Lizzy cuts.  Songs off All Hell Breaks Loose like “Bound for Glory” and “Kingdom of the Lost” sat nicely next to “Finest Hour,” “Through the Motions” and the title track off their latest CD.  I was glad to see the fans really getting into those tunes because it showed that Scott Gorham and company still have plenty to say musically.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

It would be difficult for this band not to play any Thin Lizzy songs so they played their two most famous songs, namely “The Boys Are Back in Town” and “Jailbreak.”  What surprised me was the inclusion of “Emerald” and “Rosalie” (the Bob Seger tune) into this shortened set.  Now, I’m not one to complain about having more Thin Lizzy songs played, but I would have figured that they would rely less on their past and focus more on the present, especially when the present material is so good.  Either way, Black Star Riders is a band that deserves to be seen.  Ricky Warwick is a great front man, adding additional guitars when needed and Damon Johnson is the perfect guitarist to duel with Gorham.  Even new member Robbie Crane (who took over for Marco Mendoza) was energetic throwing shapes all over the stage.  Even though Black Star Riders is well worth a listen on disc, the stage is where they really shine.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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