Live and Dangerous

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Live and Dangerous
Thin Lizzy - Live and Dangerous.jpg
Live album by Thin Lizzy
Released 2 June 1978
Recorded 14 November 1976, London, England
20 & 21 October 1977, Philadelphia, USA
28 October 1977, Toronto, Canada
January 1978, Studio Des Dames, Paris, France[1]
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Length 1:16:27
Label Vertigo (UK)
Mercury (Canada)
Warner Bros. (US)
Producer Thin Lizzy and Tony Visconti
Thin Lizzy chronology
Bad Reputation
Live and Dangerous
Black Rose: A Rock Legend

Live and Dangerous is a live double LP by Irish band Thin Lizzy, released in 1978. It was recorded in London in 1976 and Philadelphia and Toronto in 1977, with further production in Paris. It was also the last album to feature guitarist Brian Robertson,[a] who went on to form Wild Horses with ex-Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain shortly after release.

Despite debate about exactly how much of the album is overdubbed, it has received critical acclaim from several sources as one of the most popular rock live albums ever recorded. In 2009 the album Still Dangerous was released from the Philadelphia concerts on 20 & 21 October 1977, which were source shows for Live And Dangerous. The tracks "Emerald", "Massacre", "Cowboy Song" and "The Boys Are Back in Town" were included on both albums and the Still Dangerous versions showed that Thin Lizzy were a formidable live band and the significance of the studio production on Live and Dangerous may have been overstated.


Thin Lizzy live on the Bad Reputation tour in 1977

By early 1978, Thin Lizzy had stabilised around founding members, lead singer and bassist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey alongside guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. The band had found commercial success with several hit singles and developed a strong live following by headlining the Reading Festival. Robertson had briefly left the band but subsequently returned.[2] The group had planned to make a new studio album at the start of the year. Working with producer Tony Visconti, Thin Lizzy maintained huge success with their previous album Bad Reputation, and the group wanted to work with him again. However, Visconti had a very tight schedule, committed to producing several albums for other artists, so Lynott suggested they spend two weeks together compiling a live album instead from earlier recordings.[3]

The band and Visconti listened to over 30 hours of archive recordings, looking for the best performances to release.[3] The album sleeve notes credit two live recordings as the source of the album – Hammersmith Odeon, London, England on 14 November 1976 (as part of the tour for Johnny the Fox), and Seneca College Fieldhouse, Don Mills, Toronto, Canada on 28 October 1977 (as part of the tour for Bad Reputation).[1] The band had listened back to the Hammersmith tapes shortly after recording and agreed that the performances sounded better than the studio versions.[4] Thin Lizzy biographer Mark Putterford believes the majority of recordings on the finished album are from the Hammersmith show.[5] Visconti later said the performance of "Southbound" came from a soundcheck with the audience reaction dubbed in from another song.[3]

On this album, the band segues immediately from "Cowboy Song" into "The Boys Are Back in Town", on the line "a cowboy's life is the life for me" – the last chord of the former was the first of the latter anyway, although their studio versions were recorded as separate songs.[6] This segue between the two tracks remained a staple of the band's setlist for the rest of their career, and examples can be found on virtually all of their live releases. The band had rearranged "Still in Love with You" to be slower and more emotional, and the version recorded on Live and Dangerous was considered by Putterford to be the highlight of Lynott's musical career.[5]


All sources agree that Live and Dangerous contains some overdubs, although there is considerable disagreement about the extent of them. According to producer Visconti, the album was "75% recorded in the studio" with only the drums and audience noise remaining from the original live recordings.[3] Visconti later said the overdubs and production were essential in order that the listener could hear a professional sounding band.[5] He claims to have created some audience sounds from a keyboard-triggered tape loop in a similar manner to a Mellotron or sampling keyboard. Nevertheless, Visconti was happy with the production and believes the end result sounds authentic.[3]

However, manager Chris O'Donnell said the album was 75% live, with overdubs restricted to backing vocals and a few guitar solos to "clean the sound up".[5] Mixing and overdubs were done at Studio Des Dames in Paris in January 1978.[1][7] Robertson in particular has been critical of Visconti's opinion. He had said the album is all live, and the sound levels on stage would make overdubbing impossible due to the lack of acoustic separation between instruments. He claims a take of "Still In Love With You" with a solo he considers better than the version released could not be used due to phaser noise on the bass, which Visconti could have corrected if necessary.[8]


Thin Lizzy on the Bad Reputation tour

O'Donnell hired Chalkie Davies, a photographer for New Musical Express for two weeks to photograph the band on a US tour in early 1978 in order to capture enough pictures suitable for the album artwork. The front cover, featuring Lynott at the front was originally supposed to be the back cover, as the group wanted equal coverage of all members. But O'Donnell disagreed and reversed the front and back photographs at the last minute. The album had a working title of Thin Lizzy Live but Lynott decided that Live and Dangerous was better.[9]

The record sleeve includes a montage photograph in the studio consisting of a mirror, straw, razor blade and a rolled up five pound note (as an overt reference to cocaine consumption).[1]


The album was released on 2 June 1978. It reached No. 2 on the UK charts, held from the top spot by the Grease soundtrack album. It was also the first album to be released by Warner Bros. Records in America (after previously being with Mercury Records in that region). The band started touring to promote the album, but after a one-off gig in Ibiza, Lynott and Robertson had an acrimonious argument. Robertson, who had already briefly left the band the previous year, departed permanently, to be replaced by a returning Gary Moore.[10]

The album was reissued on CD in 1996. A DVD titled Live and Dangerous was released on 16 October 2007 which contains all the recorded video from a concert at the Rainbow theatre in Finsbury Park, North London on 29 March 1978. Comparisons have proved that the version of "Are You Ready" in the film is the same as the one heard on the album. It has a slightly different track listing. It also includes other Thin Lizzy performances, such as a recorded show from their farewell tour on 26 January 1983, and four Top of the Pops performances from the 1970s.

Material from the same tour was used for the 2009 live album Still Dangerous. Some tracks are shared between the two albums, though the latter uses pure live recordings with no overdubs.[11]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[12]
Classic Rock 10/10 stars[13]
Sputnikmusic 5.0/5 stars[14]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described the album as "one of the best double live LPs of the 70s", and "a true live classic", containing more energy and power than the original albums. He also praised the "expert song selection".[12] Stuart Bailie in his review for Classic Rock magazine writes that the album "still holds his own as a perfect tour document" and "has been studied by U2 and countless others as a masterclass in gig dynamics", staving off the rumors of tape doctoring.[13]

Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 50 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time". Reviewer Tim Chester declared the album one of the best despite if there were any overdubs, which he dismissed as irrelevant.[15]

The album continues to attract critical praise. In 2010 Live and Dangerous was ranked number one in's The Greatest Live Album Top 40.[16] The following year, the British music magazine NME ranked Live and Dangerous at No. 1 in its 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time.[17] The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[18]

Track listing[edit]

Side 1
  1. "Jailbreak" (Phil Lynott) – 4:31
  2. "Emerald" (Brian Downey, Scott Gorham, Lynott, Brian Robertson) – 4:18
  3. "Southbound" (Lynott) – 4:44
  4. "Rosalie/Cowgirl's Song" (Bob Seger/Downey, Lynott) – 4:00
Side 2
  1. "Dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in Its Spotlight)" (Lynott) – 3:50
  2. "Massacre" (Downey, Gorham, Lynott) – 2:46
  3. "Still in Love with You" (Lynott) – 7:40
  4. "Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed" (Downey, Gorham, Lynott) – 3:32
Side 3
  1. "Cowboy Song" (Downey, Lynott) – 4:40
  2. "The Boys Are Back in Town" (Lynott) – 4:30
  3. "Don't Believe a Word" (Lynott) – 2:05
  4. "Warriors" (Gorham, Lynott) – 3:52
  5. "Are You Ready" (Downey, Gorham, Lynott, Robertson) – 2:40
Side 4
  1. "Suicide" (Lynott) – 5:00
  2. "Sha La La" (Downey, Lynott) – 4:18
  3. "Baby Drives Me Crazy" (Downey, Gorham, Lynott, Robertson) – 6:36
  4. "The Rocker" (Eric Bell, Downey, Lynott) – 3:58


  • "Rosalie/Cowgirl's Song"/"Me and the Boys" – 28 April 1978

Remastered edition[edit]

A new remastered and expanded version of Live And Dangerous was released on 24 January 2011. This edition is a 2CD/1DVD set that includes two bonus tracks on Disc 2 and a DVD of the Live And Dangerous – Live at the Rainbow Theatre 1978. This DVD was originally released in 2007 as a separate release, with bonus features like "Sight & Sound in Concert" recorded for the BBC in 1983 during the "Thunder and Lightning" tour, and five Top of the Pops performances. However the featured companion DVD that comes with the remastered release does not contain any of these extras, only the Rainbow '78 footage. The Rainbow footage was in fact originally recorded in March 1978 for TV broadcast.

CD extra tracks[edit]

  1. Opium Trail (Downey, Gorham, Lynott)
  2. Bad Reputation (Downey, Gorham, Lynott)


  1. "Introduction"/"Rosalie"
  2. "The Boys Are Back in Town"
  3. "Emerald"
  4. "Dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in Its Spotlight)"
  5. "Massacre"
  6. "Still in Love with You"
  7. "Don't Believe a Word"
  8. "Are You Ready"
  9. "Sha La La"
  10. "Baby Drives Me Crazy"
  11. "Finale"/"Me and the Boys"



  • John Earle – saxophone on "Dancing in the Moonlight"
  • Huey Lewis (as "Bluesey Huey Lewis") – harmonica on "Baby Drives Me Crazy"[1]

At the time of the recording, John "Irish" Earle was in Graham Parker & the Rumour, and Huey Lewis was in Clover. Both of these groups were support acts for the tours that made up this album. Earle, born in 1944, died on 7 May 2008 in his native Dublin.



  1. ^ The live album Life, released in 1984, features Robertson as a guest artist.


  1. ^ a b c d e Live And Dangerous (Media notes). Thin Lizzy. Phonogram. 1978. 6641 807. 
  2. ^ Wright, Chris. The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 1073. ISBN 978-1-858-28457-6. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Live and Dangerous". Tony Visconti (official site). Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 150.
  5. ^ a b c d Putterford 1994, p. 151.
  6. ^ Putterford 1994, pp. 151-152.
  7. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 148.
  8. ^ Blackett, Matt (7 February 2012). "Brian Robertson Puts the Live Back in Live and Dangerous". Guitar Player. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 152.
  10. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 123.
  11. ^ Still Dangerous Comments by "Thin Lizzy – A Rock Legend"
  12. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Live and Dangerous review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Bailie, Stuart (February 2011). "Thin Lizzy - Reissues". Classic Rock 154. London, UK: Future plc. p. 88. 
  14. ^ g, manos (23 July 2014). "Review: CD Thin Lizzy - Live and Dangerous Album". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2015-01-01. 
  15. ^ Wall, Mick (21 January 1989). "Thin Lizzy 'Live and Dangerous'". Kerrang! 222. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. 
  16. ^ "The Greatest Live Album of All Time | Polls | Music". Planet Rock. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  17. ^ "The 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time". NME. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  18. ^ Outline Page