Anyone growing up in Northern Ireland with even the remotest interest in guitar will know the name Vivian Campbell. Viv was the icon of hope for every young, aspiring musician that one day that big break would eventually come.

Vivian is well known for his side projects away from Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy being just one example. It is just over thirty years since Viv won his ‘big break’ in legendary rock band Dio and Belfast saw the first European date for the newly formed tribute band ‘Last in Line’.

The five piece, made up of Vivian Campbell (guitar), Vinny Appice (drums), Jimmy Bain (bass), Claude Schnell (keyboards) and vocalist Andy Freeman packed Belfast’s Limelight to relive the Dio classics.

Ray Haller

Last in Line were supported by Viv’s first ever rock band ‘Sweet Savage’. Ray Haller & co alongside guest guitarist Simon McBride offered up a remarkable performance and in many ways it felt like a ‘double headline’ event than a support act.

Simon McBride

Belfast’s Limelight venue was packed and it was remarkable just how many people I knew from bands growing up in the 1980s who, just like myself didn’t find that ‘big break’. It was clear this was a crowd of devout fans and the early Dio albums were known with passionate detail.

Last in Line Audience

Andy Freeman who also fronted George Lynch’s band ‘Lynch Mob’ enlisted a bit of vocal support from a number of enthusiastic audience members.

Andy Freeman

As I was shooting in a smaller venue, within touching distance of the bands I opted for the Fujifilm X100s and a Canon 5D with 50mm lens. In hindsight the 35mm focal length offered a much better view of the stage and at times I struggled to get everything in frame at 50mm, especially the up close guitar solos.

Click on any of the thumbnails to view larger.

It was clear from Last in Line and Viv’s guitar performance that his so called “lucky break” (his words) was really only a small factor in his success. Vivian has a natural talent for guitar, it is effortless.

Vivian Campbell, Last in Line

This isn’t something that can be learned, you either have it or you don’t. Vivian Campbell has it excess. That said I would still like to discuss my investment in the “Riffmaster” exercise device that I bought on his endorsement. It didn’t work.

It would be amiss not to mention that Vivian is currently being treated for Cancer. He had chemotherapy on Monday and performed in Belfast on Thursday. I think that says it all. The Last in Line UK tour takes in the following dates and venues:

See Last In Line on their UK tour this August 2013:
8th August – Belfast, Northern Ireland (Limelight)
9th August – Glasgow, Scotland (Cathouse)
10th August – Derbyshire, England (Bloodstock Festival)
11th August – London, England (Islington Academy)

Apologies to Vinny, Jimmy and Claude, I got caught up in the guitar playing. If you are interested in 80s rock then check out a few interviews I did with Ricky Phillips (Babys, Bad English, Styx) Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner, War and Peace) and Paul Gilbert (Guitarist & Mr Big).


Last in Line
Def Leppard