Two years in from one Mr Vivian Campbell lifting the Lifetime Achievement Award at the N.I Music Awards we find Last In Line back in Belfast, as they were on that celebratory night. Hometown hero Vivian loves coming back to Belfast and Belfast loves having a legend of the local music scene grace it’s stages, from the Odyssey Arena to The Ulster Hall to The Limelight, Vivian is always welcome, and Having recently dropped their second album II they’re taking this Rock ‘N’ Roll rollercoaster on the road!
Tonight in tow they have UK AOR / Rock Band Vega to set the bar for tonight’s proceedings. A decade after forming Vega being a wealth of experience to the game with gnarly riffs, blistering guitar work and highly melodic songs that you can help but sing along too. Someone has cranked the volume to 11 tonight cos it’s loud in here, maybe even too loud as the sound is more than a little in your face. Their energy is off the charts and Vega rip their way through a hefty set that showcases why this UK band have made serious waves over the years and will no doubt continue to dominate the AOR scene in the UK, Europe and beyond.
A sign of things to come I think, the two Engl 4×12’s behind where Vivian will Stand is a good indication that this is going to be an old school affair. Old school heavy, old school loud as the opening number ‘Last In Line’ rips through the pa, all is confirmed! Vocalist Andrew Freeman is a weapon as he wails out the lyrics like a powerhouse vocalist to make the late Ronnie James Dio proud.
Vivian is clearly enjoying himself, grinning from ear to ear as he lashed his way through the classics like ‘Holy Diver’ and the newer tracks of their latest recording II. All backed up by the animalistic Vinnie Appice on drums and Phil Soussan on bass. Every track supported by the crowd as a packed out Limelight 1 relives the best of 80’s Rock and Metal.
The monstrous wall of sound coming from the stage reverberates from the floor right through your body and it’s reminiscent of that infamous Motörhead gig in The Ulster Hall all those years ago, Vivians high gain solo works with screaming harmonics take the breath away. The guttural fat riffage Vivian is achieving from that Les Paul has to be admired as its chunky, gnarly distorted depth blows your head off.
As I look round the room there’s a dedicated crowd who lived and breathed Dio back in the day, all whom tonight are reliving every thrash of the guitar and wailing vocal like it was the 1980’s all over fully embracing a Vivian Campbell with the leashes off once again. Amidst the strobing lights Vivian is laying down blistering guitar work and the Belfast crowd are loving every minute of it.
Their set whilst hefty flies by and before you know it arrives at the encore and the lads wrap up a phenomenal nights music with two classics in ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’, ‘We Rock’ and a new track ‘Devil In Me’ due out next week. By the looks of the crowd in the room these crazy kids don’t get out too often anymore, but tonight brought them right back to the heyday’s of Rock and Metal and it felt good, the aul heads or necks may not feel as good in the morning but as they say “No Pain No Gain”
Thanks Last In Line for the memories.
Review & Photography // Mark McGrogan
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