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Live in Germany
I just came home from the UFO-gig in Hannover (2000-11-02), it passed by so quickly, too quickly I would say.
This evening was opened by "Moon Doc", the group of former Accept guitarist Herman Frank who lives in Hannover for several years now. There was an Accept-Medley somewhere in the set but the sound was bad and the only track I recognised was "Balls To The Wall" (Herman was playing a white Flying V during the Accept-Medley). They played about 35 minutes.
Second on stage was Glenn Hughes who I saw on the Thin Lizzy/MSG/Glenn Hughes tour last year. This time he had a few more minutes to remember his past (one Black Sabbath track and several Deep Purple tunes with "Burn" as clear highlight; "Stormbringer" wasn't played this time). All in all the sound was better than with "Moon Doc" but far from good. Glenn's voice was all right but there was a strange feeling on stage and that paralysed the audience as well. With the exception of "Burn" (encore) we can forget about the show. Glenn apologised for being "stoned" in the eighties and not playing concerts.
After about 25 minutes of waiting some strange opening theme was played. Finally it ran into the intro of "Love Is Forever" which obviously was played from tape/sample. The sound was much better than with the opening acts but not as good as I remember it from past Ufo-tours in Germany. I was surprised by this beginning of the concert. Three tracks from Covenant! I didn't expect that. I personally wanted them to play even more tracks from Covenant than they did but my absolute highlights "Midnight Train" and "Unraveled" were played and I was satisfied. "Mother Mary" was the first classical track. Hmmm. You can read the set list yourself, can't you? Sound improved during "Self Made Man"; from then I could always clearly hear Michael's guitar - which was in about 6 meters distance to my position in the audience. Reactions by the audience were somehow poor during the tracks. Only very few dancing and jamming. But surprisingly after each track everybody raised their hand to clap and cry for more! To me this is a strange thing.
Michael (!) changed the loudness of Pete a few times in the beginning by manipulating his bass-amplifier! Pete didn't seem to care about it at all.
The solo of "This Kids" was the first outstanding performance of Michael this evening and was only topped by "Rock Bottom" later on. There were a few minor misunderstandings within the band and some notes were forgotten. "Midnight Train" wasn't as catchy as on the CD. At first I thought, Michael's guitar would have lost it's connection to the amplifier (what happened to Pete three times) because I couldn't hear any of the fills which are played above the base riff on the CD. But he just didn't play them! "Midnight Train" definitely lost compared to the CD-version. The other new tracks were fine anyway. In general there were quite some differences compared to the studio-recordings (also holds for the classical tracks); maybe this is because of the new drummer and rhythm guitarist/keyboarder.
As usual the audience enjoyed most "Too Hot To Handle" and "Only You Can Rock Me". But they went completely crazy during "Rock Bottom", the best track and best performance of the evening. Michael changed some parts of the solo from what he played during the last tour but the basic concept did not change. The first part is played with only few distortion and a lot of muted notes. High distortion high speed rules in the end. Maybe it would have been better to play these three favorites earlier in the set. And I would have loved them to rush into "Lights Out" directly after "Rock Bottom" - but they left the stage to come back after two minutes cooling down with "Cherry". Hmmm. The only "exotic" track of the evening and an obvious one. That was disappointing.
All in all I was satisfied. Phil and Pete were exact doubles of themselves. Michael was ok but a bit lazy during most of the solos. Only in "This Kids" and "Rock Bottom" he showed all his abilities. More or less it was what we could expect. We must keep in mind that we here in this group are the few mad who love to hear "Try Me", "Oh My", ... live instead of "Mother Mary" and "Too Hot To Handle". All the others really come to the show to hear Strangers. Sad but true.
Don't misunderstand me. It was a great evening. It is my personality to describe things by their bad aspects - everything unmentioned was the greatest thing in the world!!!!
Michael didn't sell his MS2000-CD as you could have read in the Ufo-News before, but he obviously produced another instrumental CD "The Odd Trio" with ten tracks which is a funny project because the cover states "Michael", "Harry" and "Kathy" playing guitar, bass and drums. But actually all three are the Meister himself. I am hearing the CD right now. Some tracks have acoustic guitar in it, some are electric. Nothing clearly "classical" so far but as with Covenant I prefer to listen a few more times before I come to a definite conclusion. Wow! The riff of "Rockin' and Lovin'", wow! Easy but wow!
I don't know yet what to think of Michael's tattoos. Some Japanese Kanji, ...
At first I didn't intend to visit Hamburg just one day after Hannover, but a fairy godmother touched me out of the dark and gave me enlightment and a key. I couldn't resist.
The admittance was a bit late. They seemed to need more time for the sound check than the day before. The "Fabrik" filled quickly and Moon Doc opened the show. Wow! What a sound! I could hear every instrument clearly right from the beginning! Now I can tell you more about Moon Doc which was impossible after Hannover because I had just about no idea what they sound like. Moon Doc is playing Heavy Metal, yes (a lot of double bass drum). And it is melodic and Herman Frank (former guitarist of Accept and Victory) is very good. The band really was perfect, running from one track to the other. And they seemed to be happy too. I felt sorry that they had to leave after only 30 minutes, finishing with an Accept-Medley.
Wow! Next was Glenn Hughes, perfect sound again and also they were "in a good mood tonight", said with the words of Glenn. The band celebrated themselves on stage and that spreads to the audience. Everybody seemed to enjoy the concert this time.
Wow! Ufo entered the stage half an hour after Glenn left with "Burn" and sound was perfect right from the beginning. The audience was on 100% at once. Yes, it were not the classical tracks that were welcomed most but the new ones from Covenant. The first two notes of the intro of "Love Is Forever" and the man next to me shouted "Yes, Love is Forever!". And, what can I say, I was in 2 meters distance to Michael, Phil and Pete! Yes, I was in heaven.
Even the set list was the same as yesterday the concert was completely different! How is that possible? Did Michael read my report from yesterday? Michael's play was at 100% right from the beginning. No laziness at all! SCHENKER IS GOD!!! Even they do not play unexpected tracks again, it was very enjoyable even for a long time fan like me because of all the bits and pieces they did inside the tracks. Michael replaced the solo of Venus by a new one, superb! A short drum solo was added before the last chord of Too Hot To Handle. And so on and so on. They had to turn the Lights On right after Lights Out to prevent to be forced to keep playing for another hour or so...
I knew that I had to go to two shows at least. Hannover had the sound problems and I guess the band lacked a bit in self-confidence not knowing how the crowd would react to them and the new tracks. Everything was different in Hamburg. Above all Michael and his playing. He played perfect in Hannover and his play was far from perfect in Hamburg but brilliant! He improvised a lot more and took more risks in order to give us - the fans - what we came for. Thanks a lot! As long as Ufo and Michael keep performing as engaged as in Hamburg not even the die-hard-Fans will be disappointed - I promise!
Also the mood onstage was much better. Michael was joking around with Pete and Jeff. Phil told a few good jokes (sorry, my memory for guitar solos is much better than for jokes...) and everybody was happy including me and the rest of the audience.
After the concert Michael signed all that he was asked for even if the official policy is only to sign what is bought at the show. I get to know two Schenker-fans from Hamburg who came with pictures of their own Flying-Vs to have them signed by Michael. It's nice to feel as a family.
I only had one disappointment that night: I didn't manage to get a picture of me with Michael's Flying V and Phil and Pete surrounding me...
All pictures on this page are taken by me at this very unique Hamburg-Gig.