Words by: Robert Sutton
Images by: Robert Sutton Photography
Billed as the ‘Spirit on a Mission’ tour Michael Schenker has just finished a ten date UK tour with the last show being at the ‘Giants of Rock’ festival at the Butlins resort in Minehead. Most of the shows have been sold out and on Saturday 30th January it was London’s turn at the Assembly Halls in Islington.
Opening Act Venrez
On this tour the band comprised of Michael Schenker (guitars), Doogie White (vocals), Herman Rarebell (drums), Francis Buchholz (bass) and Wayne Findlay (seven string guitar and keyboards).
Being nearly the last show of the tour most of the usual clichés had already been written about the show…with the audience going to worship at the ‘Temple of Rock’ …Michael Schenker being an excellent guitarist with his trademark Gibson Flying V guitar…Doogie White (ex-Rainbow) being a great front man and vocalist…But for me though I wasn’t too sure about this one as I thought that it was going to be a slightly strange show… in that, in some part it was always going to be a bit of a cover band’s performance, with them covering some of Michaels old bands songs as well as songs from his new band and also promoting his new album ‘Spirit on a Mission’ which was released in March.
The band opened up the evening’s performance with the UFO classic ‘Doctor Doctor’ ,which quite simply got the evening off to a perfect start with the whole crowd singing along…I couldn’t think of a better way to get straight into a set than with this song..Then came a new song from the latest album ‘Live and Let Live’ to give us a taster of what the new material sounded like live…which certainly worked for me…They then went back to another UFO classic, ‘Lights Out’ ,followed by a song from Michael Schenker’s last album ‘Bridge The Gap’ from 2013 ,‘Where the Wild Winds Blow’.
The evening carried on with a great mix of new songs from the current album, and songs from UFO, Scorpions and the Michael Schenker Group (MSG). They finished their standard set with Rock Bottom (UFO cover). After which Doogie then said that the band would normally leave the stage and expect the crowd to cheer and chant to get them back on-stage for the encore…however as the dressing rooms were …down the stairs along a corridor and then out in the rain….they would stay on-stage …but still expected the audience to cheer….which of course is what we did..
The encore consisted of ‘Attack of the Mad Axeman’, ‘Communion’ and finally finishing with ‘Blackout’ ( Scorpions cover).
Yes, the evening was a mix of covers and new songs, but yes I did have a great time listening to the great vocals from Doogie, listening and watching a great guitarist with a great reputation perform..(Although I’m sure that Michael must get backache with the crouched stance that he plays with??) And watching the rest of the band simply enjoy themselves playing to an audience of a sold out show. So in conclusion yes it was a great evening paying homage at the Temple of Rock’s altar…
1: Doctor Doctor (UFO cover)
2: Live and Let Live
3: Lights Out (UFO cover)
4: Where the Wild Winds Blow
5: Natural Thing (UFO cover)
6: Before the Devil Knows your Dead
7: Victim of Illusion (MSG cover)
8: Lovedrive (Scorpions cover)
9: Coast to Coast (Scorpions cover)
10: Vigilante Man
11: Saviour Machine
12: Too Hot to Handle (UFO cover)
13: Good Times
14: Lord of the Lost and Lonely
15: Rock you like a Hurricane (Scorpions cover)
16: Rock Bottom (UFO cover)
17: Attack of the Mad Axeman (MSG cover)
19: Blackout (Scorpions cover)
The current album ‘Spirit on a Mission’ is available to buy now.