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Michael Schenker

Artist: Night Demon, Michael Schenker

Venue: Sheffield, Corporation

Date: 29 November 2023


"If you are one of those, and think Schenker has stopped, then get out of your armchair, check your nearest venue, and see him at the next opportunity. These people won’t play forever!"

 
© Andy B
© Andy B

Having last seen Michael Schenker live at the Stonedead Festival in August last year, I expected to see mainly the same show, with possibly a couple of changes, to the one that night. For all I knew, he was still on the same tour, as I don’t believe he’s released a new album since then. Having said that, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what they played at that show, so it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference. Having seen Uli Jon Roth at this same venue a week previous (albeit (and unfortunately) on a smaller stage), I fully expected to see a bigger crowd tonight. Bearing in mind that this show was swapped from the larger Academy 2 venue just down the road (owing to the fact, so I had been told, that venue had been closed as it was constructed using the dodgy concrete) that was to be expected, although when we turned up the queue wasn’t longer than a week ago. This show then was in the main room, and when we eventually got in, there was plenty of room to move about. 


By the time the first band, Ventura Metallers Night Demon came on at 7.30, it resembled more of a sardine tin. They were a three piece, and the theme tonight was definitely “Flying V’s”, as both the guitarist and bass player had V-type guitars. I was obviously unfamiliar with the music, and when I am photographing at the start, not all of it goes in, but what did go in sounded quite good. There was obviously Metal in there, but there were quite a few variations also, some of which you could nearly call Progressive, but with a very small “p”, alongside melody and some hooks that, had we heard it on record, we would probably recall after. They had around thirty minutes to present their case, and they succeeded with their; well, I’m not sure how many songs they did. The set list had eight on it, but there didn’t seem to be a break for quite a while, so there may have been three sounding like one. Whatever, they got a very enthusiastic round of applause at the end, and they looked happy so, result.


Set-List


What a treat to see two of the finest Guitar Heroes/Gods/Virtuosos, call them what you will, in the same building in a week. It doesn’t happen often, so when it does I will always take the opportunity to attend if I can. And I had been informed, by one of the crew, that Michael Schenker, after playing his Dean Flying V for around twenty years, had now returned to his original Gibson make of that model. “Perhaps we will get to see him perform with his classic black and white “split” version”, I thought. I was surprised when the band walked on, and then Michael Schenker himself, indeed, armed with a Gibson V (but not the “split” one), that there wasn’t a louder cheer from the audience. They were soon with him though when he kicked off with ‘Into The Arena’, the always popular instrumental from his first solo album from 1980, also performed excellently by those around him, namely Steve Mann (keyboards, guitars), Barend Courbois (bass) and Bodo Schopf (drums), all of whom played on the ‘Universal’ album. This was immediately followed by ‘Cry For The Nations’ from the same album, at the start of which vocalist Robin McAuley came on stage. The almost “must be played” ‘Doctor Doctor’ came next, and the temperature started to rise, the audience singing enthusiastically on these second two songs. McCauley announced “Back to 1981” for ‘Looking For Love’ from the second album titled simply ‘MSG’. 


They played for a total of an hour and forty-five minutes, and for most of that time I was stood in one position that I couldn’t move from, the place was that packed, and my foot was dead when I finally could move at the end. The set list had two songs under a line that I assumed was the encore, but at the end of ‘Rock Bottom’, they didn’t leave the stage, but went straight into those last two songs, and Schenker hadn’t changed guitar all night. As I had seen the set list, I knew that ‘Rock Bottom’ was coming up, and I decided to video that one on my phone, figuring it was an old UFO song, and it wasn’t that long. Due to extended leads and other things, the song lasted for over thirteen minutes, and my arm felt like lead. One thing I noticed about the songs that were done through the night was that they were all, apart from one, from the first four Schenker albums, or earlier UFO material, and it was interesting that the one that wasn’t was ‘Emergency’, the only one from the latest album, ‘Universal’, which, bearing in mind that this tour was titled ‘The Universal Tour’ was a bit of a surprise, and it wouldn’t have been out of place to hear a few more from it, particularly ‘Under Attack’ which would have gone down really well I think. That isn’t a complaint, as we heard some really classic material this evening, but it did surprise me.


So that was it for another album/tour, and while Mr Schenker is one of the younger Classic Rock heroes, none of them are decreasing in age, and when Classic Rock fans, such as me, get older, they often lose touch with bands they used to see back in the day, and sometimes don’t even know they are still playing. If you are one of those, and think Schenker has stopped, then get out of your armchair, check your nearest venue, and see him at the next opportunity. These people won’t play forever!

Set-List

 

Review: Andy B/Lou C Photos: Andy B

 

 

Location

 

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