Tonight’s gig was completely sold out which is good to see especially since it’s midweek and it’s only a couple of months since the band played Wolverhampton civic hall a couple of miles away supporting Judas Priest, and fans had been queueing in the freezing cold outside the venue early. By the time I got into the venue it was absolutely packed and American bend Venrez were on stage. They’re fairly active despite only having a small amount of space on stage, but despite making a valiant effort to get some enthusiasm and involvement from the crowd, the applause was faily muted and there was a definite lack of interest on the faces of most of the audience. To be brutally honest I was less than enthused by their set – the vocals in particular just didn’t do anything for me.
After a long changeover it was time for the main act – Michael Schenker and his Temple of Rock band. It’s a very talented lineup – alongside Michael Schenker on Lead guitar, on vocals he has Doogie White, a man who has sung with bands including Rainbow, La Paz, Yngwie Malmsteen and Praying mantis. On drums he has former Scorpions rummer Herman Rarebell. On bass it’s another former Scorpions member, Francis Buchholz, and the lineup is completed by Wayne Findlay on guitar and keyboards.
Tonight’s show kicks off with the UFO classic, “Doctor doctor”, which is a great start and means right from the start the fans are really having a great time. Tonight’s set really does span Michael Schenker’s career with songs from Temple of Rock sitting alongside classics from UFO, The Scorpions and Michael Schenker Group. Doogie White is a superb frontman who knows how to work a crowd, as well as being a great singer. Michael Schenker spends most of his time at the front of the stage close to the fans with a big smile on his face and really does look to be having a great time on stage – such a contrast to how he used to be. His playing is as always superb, and there’s plenty of interaction with the rest of the band, particularly Francis Buchholz. It’s a fantastic performance from the whole band with all the members working perfectly together as a team.
Unusually at the end of the set, the band stay on stage and go straight into the encore. The night finally ends with a great performance of “Blackout”.
It says a lot about how good the Temple of Rock albums are that those songs stand up so well when played alongside some of the most popular rock classics around. I for one can’t wait for the next album.
A great set from Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock – great songs performed by extremely talented musicians and the the mix of great new songs and old classics meant the fans all left happy.
Live and Let Live
Where the Wild Winds Blow
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Victim of Illusion
Coast to Coast
Too Hot to Handle
Lord of the Lost and Lonely
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Attack of the Mad Axeman