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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Michael Schenker

Group - Live in Portland, Oregon, February, 2012

Review by Larry Toering

Michael Schenker and the boys turned up in great spirits to a sold out show that was nothing short of the most fun night to be had in a while. Joining him was Robin McAuley returning for the first time on vocals, local legend and good friend Pete Holmes on drums, Wayne Findlay, (his longest running MSG partner) on guitar and keys, and Elliot Rubinson on bass (owner of Dean Guitars). This was a night not to be missed as the crowd was packed out the doors of the little inferno that is so famous for some of the best bands coming through Portland. After a pleasing opener such as Anvil, it wasn't hard to keep the crowd red hot and ready for a blistering MSG set that included all the very best of his most well known numbers from UFO and the Scorpions, to some of the most notorious numbers in his solo catalog. I always have to mention Holmes because he is half the fuss, and even though I couldn't make the last stop they made here, I rarely miss an appearance from him.

The crowd ate up every last second of it from beginning to end, and I haven't seen so many familiar faces at a gig in years. It was like one big Pete Holmes homecoming, which it usually is when he comes to town with MSG. There did seem to be some quirkiness going on behind the scenes and I think it was technical issues that couldn't be sorted out by the time the first three songs were over. I take it that they just went with what they had from there out. This only caused a thing or two that I noticed, one of them being  a problem with McAuley's vocal mix. Even though he seemed to be off a bit because of it, his voice was in fantastic shape, as he sounded completely untouched by the 20 years it has been since he's been here. There is really nothing else at all to complain about concerning the proceedings. For the rest of the show the crew stood back and didn't seem to need to get so involved.


Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
   

The show featured a set from the opener “Into the Arena,” going into “Armed and Ready” and then taking us through the Scorpions’ “Love Drive” and “Another Piece Of Meat.” After that it continued with “Shoot Shoot” from UFO, and then a couple of MSG classics in the shape of  “Save Yourself” and “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.” Then we were treated to basically a best of UFO fest with “Let It Roll,” “Lights Out” and “Too Hot To Handle” ending with “Natural Thing.” They also went through a track called “Lover's Sinfony” before bringing the house completely down with “On and On,” “Rock Bottom” and “Doctor Doctor.” They left the stage between each of those tracks, and returned to rock our socks off. This was a show I will certainly never forget, as the night didn't end until everyone was on the bus. Even Anvil hung out for the entire MSG set. It was a really great time watching the show and casually mingling afterward.

This is yet another MSG tour to say “yes” or “no” to. After the last few have been a bit rocky, Schenker seems to be back and apparently up to the task and then some. His mood was great. In fact, I haven't seen him this charged up in years. MSG are back and not pulling any punches. So if you haven't seen them in action lately, pick up the new CD Temple of Rock and see for yourself the current state of Schenker’s rock.

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Larry Toering
     
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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