Live albums, usually a lazy attempt to fulfill contractual obligations or fill the time between studio releases, have generally been a sloppy affair for most rock bands. Only a select few can claim the right to be “must-haves” in people’s collections. In my eyes, the perfect live album achieves three things: it pumps new life and energy into an existing catalogue, it updates and refreshes the sound quality and sterility of the original studio recordings, and in the best possible cases, revitalizes interest in the members’ bodies of work. Surprisingly, (considering the awkward circumstance of lacking their late founder,) Thin Lizzy’s “One Night Only” does all these things beautifully. Yes, many say this not a true Thin Lizzy record without Philo. But how can you fault the earnestness and fire with which original Lizzy members John Sykes, Scott Gorham, and Darren Wharton deliver with the capable and furious backing of Marco Mendoza and Tommy Aldridge? Just last month, I caught the real thing at a small hall in the Midwest, and this album is an accurate, poignant document of what the 21st-century Lizzy is capable of. Old favorites “Jailbreak”, “Rosalie”, “Cowboy Song”, and “Boys are Back in Town” jump out of the speakers with amazing new bite, and the oft-underlooked gems such as “Alibi”, “Don’t Believe a Word”, and “Sun Goes Down” prove that Lizzy never had much album filler, just deftly crafted perfection. John Sykes not only does a competent Lynott impersonation, but offers a convincingly loving take on Philo’s quirky vocal phrasing and “hey there, girls” throatiness. His guitar work is a delight (no disrespect to Robbo, Eric, or Gary, but Sykes was really the one who took the gunslinger gauntlet and ran with it!). If you’ve never heard Thin Lizzy before (other than the ubiquitous “Boys”) and love well-written hard rock, this is an excellent introduction. If you are a die-hard Lizzy fanatic with serious bias against any cheap attempts at reformation, this recording should make you a believer that their music, no matter when or how it’s executed, is still the best stuff around…..