Black Star Riders UK Tour 2023 - Manchester 17th February Live Review
Hot on the heels of the release of their fifth studio album, Wrong Side Of Paradise, Black Star Riders hit the UK for an extensive 11 date tour. In a year that sees the band celebrate their 10th anniversary it’s clear they wanted to pull out all the stops to truly mark the occasion, and it started with pulling together a fantastic billing of bands. Sharing the stage with BSR are wholly outstanding Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons and Hanoi Rocks frontman and solo artist Michael Monroe, both of whom delivered sets where you could have 100% believed they were the headliners. The former, as well as having their own clear identify, respectfully and powerfully maintain the spirit of Motörhead, the latter providing a showcase for what it truly means to be one of the greatest frontmen in rock. Focussing now on the headliners, the magic begins with the personnel of the band. Whilst they may have not been part of the recording process for the latest album, this tour sees mainstays Ricky Warwick and Robbie Crane enjoying the return of Jimmy DeGrasso on drums and the absolutely spellbinding Scott Gorham on guitars. Also joining the band is Wayward Sons guitarist, Sam Wood who, after a casual glance, could be very easily mistaken for the 70’s image of the Thin Lizzy guitarist.
The set begins with Pay Dirt, an interesting choice in that it’s track 7 from the new album, but it goes down an absolute storm. What’s more though is that this capacity crowd are singing along to all the words, testament to the impact Wrong Side Of Paradise has had in such a short time following its release less than a month ago. This would be the first of 5 songs to be played from the new album tonight.
Next up is Another State of Grace before the new album’s lead single Better Than Saturday Night is performed to rapturous applause. A highlight of the set is a cover of The Osmonds’ classic Crazy Horses. Whilst this may seem like an unusual track to cover and include on the new album, the crowd are clearly in no way disappointed. BSR’s version with its crunchy staccato riff would surely convince anyone unfamiliar with the 70s classic that this is a Ricky Warwick penned original.
As the band were being introduced to the stage, the host made it very clear that Thin Lizzy legend Scott Gorham would be gracing the stage. However, it wouldn’t be until the eighth song All Hell Breaks Loose that he would make an appearance. As he takes his place in the spotlight the deafening cheers show the immense love the crowd have for this man, and it’s wonderful to hear Ricky shout “Alright, Scotty!” as he begins his solo. It’s also absolutely wonderful to see fine musician and performer Sam Wood standing alongside his idol throughout tonight‘s incredible show.
Of course, it’s expected that a Thin Lizzy song would be played and the first one we enjoy is Don’t Believe A Word, and it sounds as fresh today as it did in 1976. The title track to the band’s sophomore album Killer Instinct soon follows and is given a false ending, taken as another opportunity to justifiably worship Scott before concluding in earnest.
As the set reaches it’s final quarter, Ricky Warwick welcomes Michael Monroe back to the stage to share vocals on Tonight The Moonlight, his return simply creating scenes of elation. The show closes with another Lizzy Number, Jailbreak, before Finest Hour provides a poignant and satisfying conclusion to what has been an incredible night of rock.
The full set list was as follows:-
Another State of Grace
Better Than Saturday Night
When The Night Comes In
Riding Out The Storm
Wrong Side Of Paradise
All Hell Breaks Loose
Don’t Believe A Word
The Killer Instinct
Before The War
Testify or Say Goodbye
Tonight The Moonlight
Kingdom Of The Lost
Bound For Glory