Hi guys, just returned from a weeklong trip to Ireland.
We landed on Friday morning, after a sleepless overnight flight from New York, and immediately checked into our hotel and went right to sleep. Later that afternoon, we headed out towards Grafton Street, where the statue of Phil Lynott was due to be unveiled at 6:30pm. We planned to meet other Lizzy-ites at a pub, but once we noticed that people were already gathering early around the statue, we grabbed a place on Harry Street, opposite Bruxelles, and waited.
The statue was covered by a wooden box then. The statue is actually located on Harry Street, in front of a pub called Bruxelles, just off Grafton Street, Dublin's pedestrian-only main shopping street. There were police barriers around the statue for VIPs to gather, and I spotted Philomena and Dennis, and eventually Gary Moore, Scott Gorham, Robbo and Darren Wharton. I'm sure that Brian Downey and Eric Bell were there, but I didn't see them in the crush of people. Smiley Bolger and Brush Shiels were there, too. As the unveiling time got closer, the crowd kept growing (one Dublin newspaper reported the next day that 5,000 people were there). Some Thin Lizzy music was piped out to the street, and one fan yelled out "Are you ready, Dublin!", which got a big response. At 6:30pm, Jack Gilligan, arts officer for the Dublin City Council, introduced the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Catherine Byrne. The Lord Mayor recounted how, the first time she went to see Thin Lizzy, she missed the band because she'd passed out before the show! Then she said how wonderful it would be that, 100 years from now, people would still stop at the statue to remember Phil.
Philomena spoke next; she was very emotional. She thanked all the countless fans who helped to raise money for the statue through donations and tribute events. Then Audrey O'Neill of the Roisin Dubh Trust spoke next, and then it was time for the unveiling. The wooden boards came down, then the canvas covering over the statue, and what do you know? I'm facing the back of Phil's head! We eventually got around to the front of the statue, which looks towards Grafton Street, and it looks wonderful. Tall, rock-star skinny, with coat and tie billowing in the breeze, there's Phil standing with his bass guitar. Loads and loads of Lizzy fans in the crowd, and I spot several with Lynott tattoos. One woman had a tattoo of Phil on one arm, Scott Gorham on another arm, and the Lizzy logo, Black Rose and John Sykes on her back. I was afraid to ask where her tattoo of Robbo was!
The Lizzy members posed with Philomena around the statue, and then they disappeared into Bruxelles, with one exception: Robbo stayed outside for a long time. I shook his hand and got my picture taken with him, and then I met Soren, his manager, too. People were walking up to Robbo with all sorts of things to sign, and others were passing album covers and other things through the Bruxelles window to anyone who'd sign them.
Friday night, we were invited to an party at Liberty Hall. Roddy Cleere made presentations to Graham Cohen and Audrey O'Neill for all their hard work, and then he presented a black glass piece to Philomena. Thin Az Lizzy then took the stage and played for the next two hours. It was their first gig in two years. Wonderful band, from Ireland, and the singer does an excellent job at channeling Phil's voice. For Dancing In The Moonlight, and again for the encore of Baby Drives You Crazy, they brought out a special guest: John Earle on saxophone! John's not in the best of health, and he had to be helped on and off the stage, but he sat there with the biggest grin the whole time. Even Philomena got up to sing Whiskey In the Jar. I met more Lizzy fans from many countries, including Roger Costa from Toronto (I asked him to say hello to you, James).