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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

UFO

Live In Milwaukee, WI, May 2011

Review by Greg Olma

I have always been a UFO fan.  The guitarists that have collaborated with Phil Mogg have always been top notch.  I am tired of the old “it’s not UFO without Michael Schenker” argument because they have created some great music with other six string players.  I think the Paul Chapman and Vinnie Moore eras are great too.  Sure, there is something special about those tunes that were recorded back in the ‘70s but I love the songs on The Visitor also.  That being said, the band is more than happy to oblige the fans with a trip down memory lane with a set list that is predominantly derived from the Strangers In The Night record.

The surprise of the concert for me was the set list opener “The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent” from the album of the same name.  I always felt that the Chapman discs never got the respect they deserve so it was great to hear that song again.  Since Moore joined the band, they have been able to incorporate one or two songs from that era into their shows.  That is something Schenker would have never agreed to.  As I mentioned above, a good portion of the show consisted of the hits.  Tunes like “Mother Mary,” “Only You Can Rock Me”, and Too Hot To Handle” are all mainstays in the setlist so you know you are going to hear them.  For the hardcore fans, UFO decided to pull out a couple of deeper cuts from their catalogue.  I have never seen them perform “Try Me,” so I was pleasantly surprised when Paul Raymond started that tune.  Another one that has been making its way into the show is “Ain’t No Baby” from the Obsession album.  These types of tunes are just another reason why UFO concerts are more events than just plain old shows. 


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

I was a little surprised that the Moore era was only represented by “Saving Me” and “Hell Driver” from their latest disc The Visitor.  Both songs are great and I would be happy if they included even more tunes like “Mr Freeze” or “Hard Being Me” from the Moore catalogue.  “Rock Bottom” was played also and although it was (and still is) a vehicle for  Schenker to stretch out, Moore did do it justice.  The guitar solo part had a few similarities to the version we all know but Moore has changed a good portion of it to fit his style.  This was probably the only spot that he really deviated from the original solo.  The show ended with a great version of “Lights Out” with the crowd singing the chorus as loud as the band.  A special mention has to be made for bass player Barry Sparks.  Even though I do miss seeing Pete Way up there on stage, Sparks played flawlessly (something Way is not know for) and he really channeled the spirit of Way in his stage performance.  Sparks was all over the stage and he really made his mark.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

Those of you who are not willing to overlook the Schenker aspect of UFO are really missing out on a great band.  You are getting 3/5 of the classic line-up with this version of UFO.  Andy Parker is back on drums and he is one of the loudest drummers out there.  Paul Raymond has been back for a while but his presence (and playing) is so integral to the UFO sound that I can’t see them going out as “UFO” without him.  Which leaves us with Phil Mogg.  His voice is still great and his between song banter still puts a smile on faces.  UFO has a new record coming out and I’m sure there will be a tour to follow.  Do yourself a big favor and go see them.  I guarantee you will witness a great band and enjoy an evening of quality music. 

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Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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