Album review: MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Live Tokyo International Forum Hall A

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST - Live Tokyo International Forum Hall A

Inakustik [Release date 24.03.17]

Surely, not another Michael Schenker live album and Bluray?  The propensity of live releases – including a focus on Japan where he remains popular -  is really a testament to Schenker’s great revival in recent years.

In truth only die-hard fans will want to seek out these releases.  Either that or you actually attended some of the gigs in question.

The novelty of this latest release – recorded in August 2016 – is that Schenker went out on the road with a posse of MSG vocalists: Gary Barden, Robin McAuley and Graham Bonnet.

In that context, this is both a tribute to those heady times and also to the vocalists who have kept their powder dry all these years, and in spite of the proverbial revolving door.  Original MSG bassist Chris Glen also features, as does Steve Mann who contributed keyboards to the first two McAuley Schenker Group albums.

Bonnet was only on one MSG album and Gary Barden does most of the heavy-lifting on this album.  (Bonnet sings lead vocals  on ‘Assault Attack’ and ‘Desert Song’).

Of course, setlist comes into it as well and invariably the Tokyo set is built around the hardy perennials.  There’s naturally an emphasis on the early MSG albums but, then, there is usually anyway.  Songs like ‘Into The Arena’, ‘Attack Of The Mad Axeman’ and ‘Armed And Ready’ are staples along with the encores, ‘Doctor Doctor’ and a 15-minute wig-out on ‘Rock Bottom’.  It’s a pity, though,  that ‘On And On’ (from MSG, 1981) is left out.

Only ‘This Is My Heart’, ‘Save Yourself’ and ‘Love Is Not A Game’  (all sung by McAuley) break with tradition and reflect the 1987-1989 period when the band produced a more melodic version of the Schenker template.

More than anything, this nicely boxed package (2CD/DVD) reflects the heritage of the German guitarist who cut his first album at the age of 15 and who has had stints in Scorpions and UFO.  It will delight his fans as a modern-day take on the seminal ‘Live At The Budokan’ album.  ****

Review 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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Power Plays w/c 20 March 2017


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VANESSA COLLIER Cry Out (Ruf Records)
KOBRA & THE LOTUS You Don’t Know (Napalm Records)
INVIDIA Feed The Fire (SPV)
AS LIONS One By One (Better Noise)


Featured Albums w/c 20 March 2017 (Mon-Fri)

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12:00-13:00 KXM Scatterbrain (Ratpak)
14:00-16:00 MADISON VIOLET The Knight Sessions (Big Lake Music)



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