What a show! The opportunity to see Michael Schenker does not come along too often here in Seattle, but to have him bring three classic Michael Schenker Group vocalists for one show is incredible. The Neptune Theatre in Seattle was sold out on this night and the crowd was ready to take a trip deep into Schenker’s immense catalogue of music. The show featured 32 songs and ran for around two and a half hours. I must admit I lost track of the time I was so immersed in the concert. Considering the amount of songs in Schenker’s catalogue, he could have played even more.
In case you do not know who Schenker is, he was in the Scorpions very early on, the main guitarist for UFO and has had several versions of the MSG over the years. He is 63 years old and started playing guitar at the ripe old age of 11. Whenever I go to a show where the band is named after the guitarist, I get nervous that it becomes a guitar-fest with not enough actual songs. This was not the case. Schenker showed off his fantastic, effortless guitar playing all night, but the songs kept on coming as well. It was a great balance. Schenker is an artist on the guitar and you could see the pure enjoyment he got from performing written all over his face.
The entire band was rock solid and then we have the three different vocalists. Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley shared the vocal duties this night and sometimes all three sang at the same time. It was like being at several different concerts in one night! The best part is, they were all really good. This three-headed monster of vocals just kept coming at you with Schenker wailing away on guitar. It is really hard to describe how well the show was done with all these logistics in a review, you would have to see it for yourself.
This is a very tough show to list some of the highlights from, since there were so many. There was one Scorpions cover and seven UFO covers in the performance. One was Coast to Coast by the Scorpions which he said he wrote as a gift to them. It was flawless, and the crowd ate it up. The last seven songs of the night were all UFO classics. We were treated to Rock Bottom, Doctor Doctor, Shoot Shoot, Natural Thing, Lights Out, Only You Can Rock Me and Too Hot to Handle. This was the fist time I had ever seen UFO songs performed live and they were great. It really added a special touch to the evening hearing these songs done live. I also think adding those eight sort of cover songs into the set added just a little variety from all the MSG songs and was a stroke of genius.
The rest of the night was MSG through and through. Some of the real highlights were Attack of the Axeman, Armed and Ready and Assault Attack. Three absolute classics that were done to perfection. I also really liked Night Moods, which just had a great sound and feel to it throughout the song. Save Yourself was also one of my favourites back in the day and thankfully it made the set list. The final MSG songs of the night were Take Me to Church, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and Warrior.
It was quite a spectacle with all the different vocalists performing around Schenker who was dealing out awesome guitar licks, riffs, solos and about anything else you could do with a guitar. Add a sold out venue and a rocking crowd, and you have the formula for one great night of music. If you get a chance to see this show live, don’t miss it! Even if you are just a casual fan of Schenker you will have a great time seeing this show.
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