The night Thin Lizzy frontman stopped a riot at Glasgow’s famous Apollo


GLASGOW fans of rock stars Thin Lizzy – including some who saw the band’s legendary performances at the Apollo — shared their memories for a new book.

Thin Lizzy – One People Story collects over 400 never-before-seen eyewitness accounts of the band in action from their Dublin roots until their breakup in 1983.

Music historian Richard Houghton, who compiled the book, explains: “Thin Lizzy is remembered for such hits as Whiskey in the Jar, The Boys are Back in Town and Dancing in the Moonlight. But they’re also remembered for their exhilarating live performances – the twin guitars, explosive percussion, dry ice, police sirens and flash bombs, all orchestrated by frontman Phil Lynott.

Thin Lizzy’s reputation as a live performer was built on years of gigging in Ireland and the UK from 1970, including frequent stops at the Apollo Theater in Glasgow.

Richard adds: “Thin Lizzy’s first incarnation had a hit with Whiskey in the Jar, but they exploded into public consciousness after bringing in two new guitarists, including Glasgow-born Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson.”

Glasgow Times: Phil Lynott in action 1983. Photo: Andy Small

Jackie Yuill first saw them at the Apollo in 1975, when she was 17.

“They were backing Bachmann Turner Overdrive,” she recalls. “Went there with my friends Janice, Ian and Johnny. At the end of the show, we exited through a door at the side of the stage. We noticed a narrow passage that led to a tiny dressing room where we found Phil Lynott, guitarist Scott Gorham and drummer Brian Downey.

“We asked where Robbo was and Phil said he was ‘gone home with his mum’. I had my program autographed before we had to leave to catch our last bus.

In October 1976, Thin Lizzy headlined the Apollo for the first time. Evelyn Hunter recalls: “They came exploding on stage with sirens and an explosion at the start of Jailbreak. It left me coughing for ten minutes as I was near the front – but it was a good night. If I put my records on, I’m back there.

Thin Lizzy’s last visit to the Apollo was in 1983. Cameron Martin was there.

READ MORE: When a star-filled movie was shot on Glasgow’s Bath Street

“It was the night Phil Lynott stopped a riot,” he says. “The Apollo had a 15-foot high stage. When Phil yelled, ‘Do you want to get a little closer?’ I jumped over the front row. The bouncers wouldn’t let the fans through and the problem got worse until Phil stopped the band playing. I thought he was going to step in and start to fighting with the bouncers. Needless to say they backed off. The rest of the gig was absolute chaos.

Have you seen Thin Lizzy in Glasgow? Connect with Times Past to share your stories and photos.

Thin Lizzy – A People’s History (Spenwood Books) will be released on July 8.


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