The un-matchable guitarist Mr Michael Schenker,of UFO and Scorpions fame, also known for his solo group ( The Michael Schenker Group ), brought his powerhouse of sound the “Temple Of Rock” show to Rock City, Nottingham this weekend. On stage tonight with Michael were the ex-Scorpions star’s Herman Rarebell on drums and Francis Buchholz on bass, while M.S.G. regular Wayne Findlay was on keyboards and guitar. The irrepressible Doogie White of Rainbow and Midnight Blue fame, plus too many more to mention, got the hardest job of the night bringing it all together in his unforgettable style of singing. Mr Schenker came on stage first, and to a deafening round of applause and cheers, he then proceeded to play the crowd with a little tinkering about on his Dean V guitar just to get things warmed up. The rest of the band now followed out and got the evening off to a very loud start with the Scorpions hit song “Love Drive” – Schenker giving us a taste of what was to come later in the evening. Then, straight into another Scorpions classic “Another Piece Of Meat“.
The next track was the first from the Michael Schenker Group “Assault Attack“. Michael took us on a magical musical trip with “Armed and Ready” which was one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard for a long time.
Lead singer Doogie White, well what can be said about this guy? He worked his butt off tonight! His part in the group has got to have been the hardest position to be in, bringing all the songs from both UFO, the Scorpions and the Michael Schenker Group together in one great gig. A true professional, he just breezed through the group’s set list and brought to life some old favorites I’m sure Jack Black might have a rival here, looking at times like a Scottish version of the said actor/singer. Doogie gave us his best yet, and in his own inimitable style, added to the songs.
M.S.G.’s new song Horizons, from the soon to be released album Bridge The Gap, was next. Sorry to say that although we know it’s a new track , it received a bit of a muted reception. Not the reaction I was expecting and caught me slightly off balance.
Coast To Coast, this seemed to bring the gig back on track as once again Mr Schenker, with head down wearing his trademark beanie hat and swinging from side to side ” did his thing”! They all now took us on this musical trip through the next five songs all classic UFO hits, culminating with an enigmatic performance of Lights Out, which brought to a conclusion the first set of the show. The band now took their bows, and duly left the stage to great admiration. This then prompted the crowd, numbering just over 1000, to start chanting “SCHENKER! SCHENKER! SCHENKER!”
With the first encore, the guys bounced back onto the stage to a noisy reception. Three classic songs followed, Holiday, Rock You Like A Hurricane and, of course, a crowd favorite Rock Bottom. On the song Rock You Like A Hurricane, veteran drummer Herman Rarebell took to the mic, and while standing behind his drum kit he belted out a few lines from the hit, still keeping the beat on the base drum with his feet. The audience went wild and gave Herman the recognition he deserved last night for a brilliant performance.
Doogie now asked for any requests from the house and the whole place shouted “ROCK BOTTOM”. Michael and crew now took us on a trip down memory lane with this hit track. Doogie played the punters in a sing-along with them giving them chance to sing a few lines of the song while directing them like a concert conductor. Mr Schenker surpassed himself, playing his guitar like it was a part of his body, the man looked so cool and relaxed. He played some of the song with one hand while holding the instrument high in the air, just pure showmanship and done with style. He gave a full six minutes ( I counted ) of guitar solo which was an absolute joy to watch unfolding right in front of you. But not only did he do this, he then proceeded to take some pictures of the Nottingham crowd with his own personal pocket camera! Classic.
Once again the guys now took a bow, and left the stage as the lights went down for the second time, prompting the crowd to start the chant “SCHENKER, SCHENKER, SCHENKER, SCHENKER”!!!!
Coming back out now for the last time, they went into the track Blackout. It was great to hear this song again. Finally, we got what the crowd had been baying for: UFO’s timeless and sometimes covered by Iron Maiden song Doctor Doctor. Every time I hear this played live, it gives me goosebumps, and to see and hear this group of guys take this song to the max was an experience I’ll keep forever. What a great night out, everyone went home with smiles on their faces and even the Rock City staff looked like they had enjoyed the show. Michael, Doogie, Herman, Francis and Wayne did us all proud. Come back soon guys, Nottingham rocks for you all.
Photography By Jane Smith.