Having just received the recent UFO boxed set, 10 albums in as many years, where do you start for a live show? It seems that the band have taken some criticism on the chin, with Phil Mogg referring to comments about the static setlist in recent times. All this was put to rights tonight, with Mogg cheerfully asking for additional lighting to help him read the lyrics to ‘Pushed To The Limit’ (from ‘Walk On Water’) and ‘Making Moves’.
It is very easy for a band that is essentially “between albums” to fall back on their core back catalogue and indeed ‘Strangers In The Night’ the classic live album that has informed their stage shows since the 1980s.
Thankfully, tonight UFO laced the classics with some of the highlights from ‘Seven Deadly’ (including ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Burn Your House Down’) whilst dipping into albums like ‘Obsession’ (‘Only You Can Rock Me’, ‘Ain’t No Baby’ and ‘Cherry’).
A band that starts with ‘Lights Out’ is definitely on a mission and even if the hardy perennials (especially the extended ‘Rock Bottom’ and ‘Love To Love’) remained amongst the standouts there was just enough here to please the die-hards.
It is a shame that they didn’t include ‘Venus’ this time round (even though a kindred spirit was shouting for it persistently stage right) as it would have shone another light on their sometimes overlooked 1990s period and not least a great album ‘Walk On Water’.
Overall there was more of an emphasis on rock and roll rather than the light and shade that is usually primed by Paul Raymond’s keys – and few concessions were made to the last couple of decades except for ‘When Daylight Goes To Town’ and ‘Baby Blue’ from 2004′s ‘You Are Here’.
This meant that the set was fairly one-paced. But it was full of highlights, not least Vinnie Moore’s guitar work. And – as ever – Mogg is a master of the random observation – tonight there were references to an open stage door, Lenny Henry looking down on him at Premier Inn (“It doesn’t work”) and Miley Cyrus – whilst his world-weary but soulful vocals remain convincing.
In a couple of nights’ time the band would be headlining at AOR2 in North Wales before an extensive European tour (with guests Voodoo Six), but here was an opportunity to savour a band who are definitely not resting on their laurels and recent albums have shown that a fire still burns.
Setlist: Lights Out 2. Fight Night 3. Wonderland 4. Let It Roll 5. When Daylight Goes To Town 6. Baby Blue 7. Pushed To The Limit 8. Makin’ Moves 9. Ain’t No Baby 10. Only You Can Rock Me 11. Burn Your House Down 12. Too Hot To Handle 13. Love To Love 14. Rock Bottom Encore: 15. Doctor Doctor 16. Cherry 17. Shoot Shoot
Review and photos by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
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