Gig Review and Photography by Mark Loraine

Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock

UFO and all their associated incarnations and members have been firm favourites of mine for many, many years and tonight was a night when I was catching up with one of its members that really was the backbone guitar sound of the classic line-up from the late 70’s. That and I had a poster of him on my wall when I was 13.

Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock

Michael Schenker was, and certainly after tonight’s performance, still is, a guitar god in any self-respecting Rock music fans eyes. Starting out in The Scorpions back in the 70’s and then joining UFO later that decade, Schenker supplied the killer riffs that under pinned the very heart of classic songs such as Doctor Doctor, Lights Out, Rock Bottom among many others. He then went on to front a myriad of line-ups of his eponymous band, which again produced fabulous tunes such as Armed and Ready, Into The Arena among many others.

Tonight then was going to be a treat. I hoped. Please!

Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock

Kicking things off, the new generation of British Rock was ably represented by Western Sand. Hailing from the South Coast of England they play a classic rock set that really gets everyone in the Academy nodding their heads – rock fans do that – and singing along to choruses as catchy as catchy things. If tonight was just about effort, then Western Sand would be on top straight away… mercifully it’s not and they also possess some fabulous guitar based Rock that really, really hits the spot.

Schenker could not have wanted for better.

Michael Schenker’s Temple of RockMichael Schenker’s Temple of Rock

Now the Michael Schenker Temple of Rock as presented tonight is a hybrid of some of the bands Michael has worked with in the past… Herman Rarebell and Francis Bucholz from The Scorpions… being the most prominent Alumni. Add in Doogie Whitye on Vocals and Wayne Finlay on Keys and 7 string guitar and the set up is as rocking as it gets.

Really tonight is all about history… and what a mighty fine history it is! Early in the set, Doctor Doctor rolls in and through that and various bits of Scorpions back catalogue – Coast to Coast anyone ! the whole gamut of Schenker and the bands past life passes in front of your eyes and ears.

Michael Schenker’s Temple of RockMichael Schenker’s Temple of Rock

Schenker still has the old guitar mastery and it is still a huge thrill to see such an awesome guitar legend doing his thing. As the set goes on, Armed and Ready from the solo years makes an appearance, finally arriving at Lights Out and Rock Bottom to bring the show to an end.

All told, this set tonight could not have been any better… I don’t think anything I would personally liked to have heard was left out, certainly all the best bits were there and still sounded awesome.

Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock

Classic Rock is making something of a stir at the moment, but lets face it quality has never really left and it was great to see that tonight there were a huge range of ages represented, from a guy in his late teens who knew more about UFO than was good for him, to a guy dancing around the whole venue as if it were Reading Festival in ’79.

He smelt of patchouli oil – it took me back – long may it live.

Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock

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