I must admit, before this gig, my knowledge of Russian rock was limited, bar Gorky Park, who back in the late 80’s were doing their best Bon Jovi impersonation. But thankfully Reds Cool, a five piece from St Petersburg, eased my ignorance with an hugely impressive performance. Taking to the stage, the band led by vocalist Slava Spark, looked a tad daunted by the lack of bodies in the venue. But as the masses gathered the band’s mojo grew. Rattling out some hard edged melodic rock tunes like Love & Pain and Bad Story, what looked a formidable task at the beginning ended in glorious triumph.
When Phil Mogg eventually decides to end his UFO days, he should seriously consider joining the after dinner speaking circuit. His laid back, wonderfully humorous interaction with the Dublin crowd was a pleasure to witness, especially his tale about not being invited back to Geddy Lee’s house, and then recognizing a fan he’d seen in a bar earlier that day.
But this crowd didn’t come to hear Mr Mogg shoot the breeze, all they wanted was to revel in a band that has produced some of the most memorable rock songs in music history. A robust, We Belong To The Night followed by Fight Night kicks things off in true UFO style.
Touring in support of new album, A Conspiracy Of Stars, their 22nd studio album, only two songs were performed, Run Boy Run and album opener The Killing Kind. Not that it disappointed their public, this only left the path clear for the classics. The always brilliant Lights Out and a stirring Only You Can Rock Me had their faithful in raptures. Guitar god, Vinnie Moore performed as you’d expect, majestic all night, especially on Burn Your House Down and Venus. Proving why this man is worshiped by guitar enthusiasts the world over. Sadly his paper aeroplane making isn’t the same, as he tried to launch the set list sheet into the crowd but unfortunately nosedived straight into the photo pit.
But there can be no doubting the highlight of the night,Love To Love is now 38 years young, although never mentioned among the so called best rock ballads, it’s enduring power and emotion still remains beautifully undiminished. Mogg’s heartfelt vocal and Paul Raymond’s soothing keyboards still grab you tight. The attentive Dublin crowd were thoroughly transfixed, even the hardest of rockers had their heartstrings tugged with no resistance. Rock Bottom once again showcased Vinnie Moore’s incomparable genius, and giving the well lubricated Mogga brief sit down.
First encore, Doctor Doctor, without doubt the bands live security blanket still retains it’s live zest. Drummer, Andy Parker and bassist Rob DeLuca provide the steely rhythm that gets the place in a state of full on delirium. Hordes of ageing rockers shamelessly slung on their precious air guitars to mimic Moore and Raymond’s relentless riffing. And slung they stayed for the ballsy closer Shoot Shoot, a smug and contented looking Mogg delivering yet another unblemished performance to finish off a truly memorable night of classic rock.
The only real flaw was that it wasn’t long enough, but don’t forget longest serving members, Messrs Mogg, Raymond and Parker have a combined age of 200. So lets just be thankful that we still have the opportunity to witness these legends, and god willing for a little longer.