LAST Saturday night saw the annual Oh Yeah Music Centre awards for album of the year held in the Mandela Hall Belfast, but there was a difference this year as they were handing out their Legends award to our very own Vivian Campbell.
The award was handed to Viv by Mike Edgar from the BBC and Oh Yeah Centre who gave a very nice and personal introduction to the man himself. With Stuart Fleming of PRS doing to the honours
Viv strode on to stage to the backdrop of an ear shattering and emotional Belfast’s crowds adulation.
During a humble and sometimes humorous acceptance speech more befitting the man's upbringing than his superstar status with Def Leppard Viv managed to tick all the boxes in his thank you’s, covering friends, family, especially his Father to former band mates with Ray Haller, Trevor Fleming and Davy Bates getting special mentions for their band Sweet Savage setting out to conquer the world and getting as far as Kilkenny!
He also managed to poke a bit of fun at Metallica for listening to them as it had worked out rather well for them. The late Jimmy Bain was next with a late night drunken phone call to his father getting him an audition for Ronnie James Dio’s new band, the rest of course is history.
To conclude his speech Viv mentioned some of his heroes and influences as a young 15 year old which included Marc Bolan, Rory Gallagher, Phil Lynott and to use Viv's words…Gary fuckin' Moore!
But Viv wasn’t just here to give a speech, his band Last In line came with him half way across the world on the promise of a curry and a Jamieson!
From the opening riff of ‘Stand up and Shout’ it was clear they meant business with Andrew Freeman proving to be a more than capable frontman getting the now packed hall involved at the right times by singing the opening verses to ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ and ‘Holy Diver’.
Vinny Appice was his usual animal on the drums with Phil Soussan stepping into Jimmy Bains’ shoes admirably.
The set was a nice mixture of Dio classics from the first two albums as well as songs such as ‘Devil in Me’ and ‘Martyr’ from the bands “Heavy Crown” album. But it was Viv who stole the show.
Clearly enjoying himself he wrung the neck off his Les Paul with more than a hint of Gary Moore’s influence evident especially in some of his soloing.
The set was delivered with such dynamism that it was hard to believe we had nearly lost this fit and healthy looking Vivian only a few short years ago.
Legend is a difficult label to attach to anyone and there will always be detractors but for a man who has spent over 35 years providing us with some music that will stick with us forever and never forgotten where he comes from he’s one that deserves the tag.
Review by Andy Gillen
Pictures by Liam Kielt