Grand Slam

Live Document

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A bootleg by definition, Live Document is possibly the only remaining record of the brief existence of Grand Slam -- Thin Lizzy mastermind Philip Lynott's last stab at musical salvation. Secretly recorded during the band's Christmas 1984 shows at London's legendary Marquee Club, Live Document is quite simply a treasure trove for serious Lizzy fanatics. Not only because it captures Lynott, the doomed rock legend in one of his final, uniquely charismatic stage performances, but also because it contains many of the last songs he composed before his untimely demise. Admittedly, these are somewhat scattered, creatively speaking, often breaking away from Thin Lizzy's straightforward hard rock to embrace the more pronounced pop leanings, which Lynott had first explored on his two solo albums. In fact, the show opens with one of his most controversial creations, the synth-laden "Yellow Pearl," an unlikely collaboration with Ultravox guitarist Midge Ure. This is followed by a slew of new material, ranging from the uncharacteristic pop inflections of "Harlem" and "Crime Rate Is Going Up," to more familiar hard rock fare like "Crazy" and the scorching "Nineteen" (later covered by short-lived teenage hard rock band Bad for Good). For the most part, this is great stuff, and, in some cases, even brilliant -- particularly "Sisters of Mercy" (a fantastic commercial hard-rocker containing Irish-isms reminiscent of Lizzy's "Black Rose") and the dramatic "Military Man," which would soon crop up on Gary Moore's acclaimed 1985 album Run for Cover. Speaking of Moore, the erstwhile Lizzy man and frequent Lynott collaborator is represented here by guitarist Laurence Archer's impassioned performance of the duo's beautiful joint effort, "Parisienne Walkways." Also included is "Dedication," an Archer original which would later be rudely co-opted for the Thin Lizzy retrospective by the same name. Later-day Lizzy chestnut "Cold Sweat" and Lynott's solo gem "Dear Miss Lonely Hearts" are also rolled out as crowd-pleasers, and as the set concludes with Philip's heartfelt wishes for a merry Christmas to all, one is again reminded of the terrible circumstances of his tragic passing. Ultimately, only obsessed Thin Lizzy completists will go to the trouble of tracking down this extremely rare release -- you know who you are.