I have had a bit of a rant in the past regarding gigs starting early due to venue curfews, tonight though was a new one on me. The doors opened at 6.30, but the first band didn’t take to the stage until 8pm, is this a new ploy to get the bar takings up?
Anyway, none of that mattered because tonight we were back once again to celebrate the musical talents of the one and only Michael Schenker. After witnessing him and the band last year on the ‘Temple Of Rock’ tour, my wife and I signed up for this one as soon as it was announced. The Glasgow gig was one of my highlights of last year and we were hoping for more of the same tonight.
First up though we had a short but sweet set from Virgil And The Accelerators. I had read lots of good things about Virgil and crew and I wasn’t disappointed. The power trio can seriously rock and over the course of their twenty minutes on stage they gave their all. Virgil McMahon is an amazing guitarist whose fingers were a blur on the fret board and he was ably supported by his brother Gabriel on drums and Jack Timmis on bass.
Highlights of the set were ‘Backstabber’ and a fantastic cover of the Hendrix classic ‘Are You Experienced?’. All too soon though the guys left the stage, I later found out that the guys had luggage stolen prior to the gig, hence the hold up, hopefully I will catch them again at some point in better circumstances.
And so to the main event of the night, Mr Michael Schenker. As I say, the gig last year was firmly in my top 5 of 2012 and I was hoping for more of the same tonight. The band took to the stage with little fuss and kicked off with the Scorpions classic ‘Lovedrive’. The band once again contained the ex-Scorpions rhythm section of Francis Buchholz on bass and Herman ‘Ze German’ Rarebell on drums which gave an added edge to the Scorps numbers played. Michael was in fine form as well. It is a joy to see him fit and happy once more and having the success he so rightly deserves.
‘Another Piece Of Meat’ followed keeping on with the Scorpions classics which went down a storm with the crowd. After this we headed into MSG territory with ‘Assault Attack’ after which frontman Doogie White announced the arrival on stage of an ‘old friend’, this turned out to be Chris Glen who took care of bass duties on ‘Armed And Ready’ much to the crowd and the band’s delight.
The set again proved to be made up of Scorpions, UFO and MSG classics, there was also a new song aired from the band’s forthcoming album, ‘Bridge The Gap’, called ‘Horizons’, which was a real driving rock song and featured some great drumming from Herman. Backing Michael up on guitar again was Wayne Findley who put in a solid shift providing some great lead guitar work on a number of tracks and great rhythm and keyboard work on others.
After ‘Horizons’ the guys played ‘When The Devil Knows Your Dead’ from the ‘Temple Of Rock’ album before going into a run of UFO tracks including ‘Lights Out’, ‘Shoot, Shoot’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and ‘Too Hot To Handle’.
For me though the highlight of the night was the double that followed in the shape of ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ and ‘Blackout’ both of which the crowd sang along to, note for note. The main set was rounded off with an extended version of ‘Rock Bottom’ during which Michael took centre stage with some stunning guitar work proving once again what an influential guitarist he has been over the years.
After a brief break the guys returned to the stage and after Doogie had indulged himself in leading the crowd in a chorus of ‘Flower Of Scotland’, the guys played a spine tingling version of ‘Holiday’, again with mass crowd participation followed by the inevitable riff of ‘Doctor, Doctor’ which once again rounded off another amazing night.
Schenker is most definitely in a golden period of his career at the moment and with the band he has assembled around him he can do no wrong. The band seem to go from strength to strength and it will be interesting to see how the new album does when it is released later in the year. For the moment though, just get yourself along to one of the gigs on this tour or catch them headlining the Steelhouse Festival for what, I can guarantee, will be one of your gig highlights of 2013.
Review by David Wilson
Photos by Steve Goudie and David Wilson
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