It’s been a little while since I posted anything here at Heavy Metal Addiction but nothing gets the writing juices flowing like a good concert! I had my ticket in advance for Michael Schenker’s return to the New England area this past Thursday night, this time promoting his new album TEMPLE OF ROCK (2011) and featuring another former frontman, Robin McAuley. I caught MSG on the last tour in 2010 at Showcase Live to promote MSG’s 30th anniversary and the last two albums featuring original frontman Gary Barden and it was excellent, I expected the same this time around. Michael’s latest album, TEMPLE OF ROCK, is a great album and ‘Lover’s Sinfony’ is my favorite song on the album and features Robin McAuley. I saw the classic early ’80s Gary Barden led MSG last year, now I get to see the McAuley Schenker Group (the late ’80s/early ’90s lineup) live! What’s next? Will Michael bring Graham Bonnet out next? Wishful thinking…..
I arrived at the club about an hour before the 8pm start time, picked up my ticket at the box office, grabbed a real nice shirt for $30 and went inside. Another great crowd for another great show, capacity is about 1000 people so I guesstimate that there was at least 500, maybe more. No opening band this time around which was good news because everyone I spoke with wanted a nice long set from the band…..considering that the tickets were only $25 each, I expected a spectacular show. I got as close to Michael’s side of the stage as I could and ended up about 4 feet away from the master and between him and McAuley the entire show.
Michael Schenker Group setlist:
Into The Arena
Armed And Ready
Another Piece Of Meat
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Rock My Nights Away
Love To Love
Too Hot To Handle
Let It Roll
On And On
Honestly, that was like going to see UFO! Almost the second half of the set was classic Schenker-era UFO and the crowd was EXTREMELY receptive to hearing almost all of the STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT record. There’s no denying Michael’s guitar genius when he’s effortlessly soloing through ‘Rock Botton’, ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Lights Out’ but the UFO highlight for me was ‘Love To Love’ with Robin giving a powerful performance of one of the most underrated and underappreciated ballads of all-time! While I’m on the subject of Mr. McAuley, let me just say that the man is a spectacular performer with great vocal range and energy, he looked genuinely happy to be on stage with Michael (and vice versa for the guitar maestro!) and he just looks like a rock star. Seriously, has Robin aged at all? The guy looked awesome for a 59 yr.old rocker. As for the rest of the band…..Wayne Findlay is Michael’s jack-of-all-trades on stage performing that Paul Raymond role perfectly, Elliot “Dean” Rubinson (CEO of Dean Guitars) proved to be a great addition on bass and Pete Holmes (from Black ‘N Blue) hit the drums like a madman…..you can’t ask for more if you’re a guitar legend.
Back to the set…..the show kicked off with Michael’s showcase ‘Into The Arena’ and promptly went into crowd favorite ‘Armed and Ready’. If that wasn’t enough to get the crowd pumped immeadiately, the band kicked the show into high gear with back to back Scorpions songs ‘Love Drive’ and ‘Another Piece Of Meat’. The applause alone for those two songs was so great that you would have thought that Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker had joined the band on stage! A great moment of the night to see Michael soloing away on those two classics and Robin really nailed each song…..vocally I can hear some similarities to Klaus Meine. My favorite part of the set was the next two songs: ‘Lover’s Sinfony’ and ‘Save Yourself’. Now I realize that the setlist was full of classic Schenker tunes but hearing ‘Lover’s Sinfony’ (my favorite song off the new album) and ‘Save Yourself’ (the title cut from the 1989 record) were awesome! I never got to see the McAuley Schenker Group back in the day and SAVE YOURSELF is an underrated album from the late ’80s, actually the whole McAuley-Schenker era is completely underrated. It was cool to have Robin acknowledge many of us fans up front who sang all the words to ‘Save Yourself’ but I did notice a couple of looks towards a couple of us singing every word to ‘Lover’s Sinfony’…..honestly, that would be the highlight of the set if MSG played more recent material from the last 15 years. It was great to hear ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie’, ‘Rock My Nights Away’ and ‘On and On’ from early MSG albums but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that more MSG songs weren’t done. Of course that means you would have to cut a UFO or Scorpions song for proper MSG but it was good to hear the band run through Michael’s career and ending the second half of the show with almost all UFO classics. The band played close to two hours and the fans all had a blast, the band could have easily played a few more songs and the club would have exploded! Hopefully Michael and the band will come back again soon to the Showcase Live, judging by the crowd’s response I have no doubt they will.
Here’s a few videos I found on Youtube from the Foxboro show on 3/8/12…..