Thin Lizzy's Live And Dangerous: now more live and more dangerous than ever

Thin Lizzy's Live And Dangerous a.k.a. The Greatest Live Album Of All Time – reissued alongside the seven shows recorded to make it

Live And Dangerous cover art
(Image: © UMC/Mercury)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Since June 1978 we’ve debated whether Deep Purple, UFO, Status Quo or even Kiss released a better double live album than Thin Lizzy's Live And Dangerous. We’ve also fretted about the impact of studio overdubs. Now we can answer the second conundrum.

Like UFO’s 2020’s box set containing all six gigs recorded to create Strangers In The Night, this Super Deluxe version of Live And Dangerous delivers again the original masterpiece, plus seven live sets. There are three Johnny The Fox tour nights at Hammersmith Odeon in November ’76; two from Philadelphia and one in Toronto in October ’77 when Bad Reputation was new, plus the Rainbow Theatre set of March ’78 (taped after work on Live And Dangerous had begun, sticking close to the album’s running order).

This amount of material, arguably, muddied the waters. The band and producer Tony Visconti could have released a brilliant Live And Dangerous a year earlier using only Hammersmith recordings (the third night’s disc is mind-blowing), but that would have meant a document without Southbound, Dancing In The Moonlight and Are You Ready (from the Rainbow).

Playing these seven bonus discs begins as an exercise in nitpicking, looking for mistakes repaired. Abandon that, it’s too hard. Besides, no change was as dramatic – not even snippets so subtly removed from Rosalie, Dancing In The Moonlight, Baby Drives Me Crazy etc – as the re-sequencing necessary to make the 17 songs fit across four sides of vinyl. 

Instead enjoy those left off: Johnny, It’s Only Money, Soldier Of Fortune, Opium Trail and Bad Reputation. Rejoice too in the spontaneous variations between performances while noting (despite what the original gatefold might have implied) that most come from the second night in Philadelphia (where Southbound was recorded at sound-check).

In 2023 we get unprecedented access to the legendary Lynott-Downey-Gorham-Robertson line-up in full flight, opening their sets with show-stoppers (Jailbreak and Emerald often in the first three), delivering favourites Still In Love With You and The Boys Are Back In Town before halfway, and climaxing with songs they hadn’t yet released: Baby Drives Me Crazy, Me And The Boys..., Are You Ready).

Visconti spent weeks polishing the original Live And Dangerous into a masterpiece. This box set suggests that all we ever needed was around 80 minutes, including encores. Seven additional, yet equally dazzling, versions prove that and give us Thin Lizzy in their prime: live, raw and dangerous.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.