Less than a fortnight after the death of former guitarist Gary Moore, rockers Thin Lizzy rolled back into town last night for an emotional reunion show at the Waterfront Hall.
The new incarnation of the legendary Irish band paid tribute to east Belfast-born Moore with a searing rendition of Still In Love With You, featuring Def Leppard axeman Vivian Campbell — another Belfast native — handling the famous solo.
New frontman Ricky Warwick — from Newtownards — spoke in honour of both Moore and the late Lizzy founder Phil Lynott to a rousing cheer from the crowd.
“As Phil said and as Gary Moore played, You Can Do Anything You Want To,” Warwick roared, introducing the track from 1979's Black Rose, a legend of an album. Lynott may have died in 1986, but this revitalised line-up did his legacy proud. Only drummer Brian Downey remains from the early days, but with guitarist Scott Gorham — who played on most of Lizzy's biggest records — and 1980s-era keyboard player Darren Wharton also on board, this is as close as anyone is going to get.
And for a storming evening of vintage hard rock, few groups could deliver more.
Setting their stall out with thunderous opener Are You Ready, the six-piece delivered a fan-pleasing selection of hits and lesser-known numbers.
Highlights included blistering renditions of Waiting For An Alibi, Jailbreak and Emerald.
The last time Thin Lizzy played this venue it was the heavy metal-oriented version led by guitarist John Sykes, with drummer Tommy Aldridge.
Having Downey back on the drum stool last night made all the difference.
The Dubliner — who formed the band with Lynott in 1969 — has much more feel for the Lizzy catalogue, with a smooth and characterful performance.
Cowboy Song and signature anthem The Boys Are Back in Town brought the main set to a climax, with fans of all ages singing themselves hoarse.
This may not have been Lizzy as people remember them, but the sweat-drenched souls tumbling out of the Waterfront certainly weren't complaining.