Vivian Campbell took top billing at the Northern Ireland Music Prize On Saturday night (11th November 2017), being named the ‘Oh Yeah Legend’. The Belfast-born guitarist was on hand to accept the gong at the event which was held at the city's Mandela Hall, as well as perform with his band Last In Line, whose ‘Heavy Crown’ album was released in 2016.
Campbell, who has been a member of Def Leppard for the last twenty-five years may have been the main attraction, but attendees were also treated to celebration of the achievements of a variety of artists from Northern Ireland.
First up were Robocobra Quartet with their session of “suspended disbelief” which offered fans a unique glimpse into the world of post-punk jazz. Experimental folk song writer and producer Joshua Burnside meanwhile, proved a worthy recipient of the ‘Album Of The Year’ award, performing a selection of songs from his ‘Ephrata’ release.
However it was the homecoming of Los Angeles resident Campbell that rightly proved the highlight of the evening. Bestowed the ‘Oh Yeah Legend’ title, the former Dio guitarist said that he was honoured to be following on the footsteps of his hero, and previous recipient Gary Moore.
Stepping up to accept the award, Campbell, who began his career as a teenager with the Metallica-influencing Sweet Savage before going on to play with the likes of Dio, Whitesnake and Riverdogs joked that the phrase he most commonly heard when he talked of his dream of being a rock star was; “catch yourself on!”
Viv then went on to tell of the unyielding support that his parents - mum Mary and father and“original Vivian Campbell” – had given him. He also paid tribute Ronnie James Dio (who passed away in 2010), as well as Last In Line band mate Jimmy Bain who’s death Campbell previously told eonmusic had come as; “a real blow.”
Joined on stage by the rest of Last in Line for a run through some of their’s and Dio’s greatest tracks., Campbell finished off the evening doing what he does best - by playing blistering guitar.
Drummer Vinnie Appice meanwhile, took time out to praise Viv with the comical blessing; “In the name of the Father, my brother and the Holy Diver”, before going on to say; “I’d like to tell Viv how proud we are. I met him in 1982 when he was just little, and now look at him!”
During a career that has lasted almost four decades, Vivian has written, performed and toured with some of the biggest names in rock. He’s also been a “stunt guitarist” with Thin Lizzy. Currently with Def Leppard, the band are expected to celebrate this years’ 30th anniversary of the release of their multi-million selling ‘Hysteria’ album with a European tour in 2018.
Like this story? Like us on FaceBook and follow us on Twitter for regular updates & more of the same.
Check Out Our Gallery from The Northern Ireland Music Prize below. Click on the thumbnail to view the full image. All shots by Darren McLoughlin.