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Michael Schenker

Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock - On a Mission: Live in Madrid DVD

Review by Greg Olma

It is no great secret that I am a Michael Schenker super fan but I can be critical of his output when I feel that he is not playing up to his potential.  I know, I really have no right to judge someone else’s talents but as a super fan, I have awarded myself that right.  During the period of 1999-2003, Schenker’s albums were a bit lackluster, and he seemed lost. I’m happy to say that since he hooked up with Doogie White, Schenker has found his mojo, and this Temple of Rock band is full of great riffs and memorable solos.

It has been approximately four years (and two studio albums) since he released his previous live DVD, so it is about time for more recent footage.  The band is the same as last time and includes Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell as the rhythm section and Wayne Findlay on guitar and keyboards.  The band has really gelled into a tight unit and On a Mission: Live In Madrid really showcases how far they have come since their last release.  The set list is pretty extensive with a good third of the material pulled from the last three studio albums.  I’m glad that Schenker and company feature so much new material in the show because it shows the band is moving forward and not relying on the same old material.  That is not to say that you don’t get some of the classics like “Doctor Doctor” or “Rock Bottom,” but they do manage to squeeze in “Rock My Nights Away” from the overlooked Built To Destroy record.  Also included in the concert are a few Scorpions tunes like “Lovedrive” and “Coast To Coast” from Schenker’s stint with the band.  They even include “Blackout” and “Rock You like a Hurricane” as a nod to the two ex-Scorpions members who are currently treading the boards with Schenker.

Visually, the DVD is very good.  The show was filmed in a small theater in Madrid with all the angles covered nicely.  The edits moved along without being overbearing and ruining the “feel” of the concert.  All the guys looked like they were having a fun time up on stage playing the songs and (as mentioned earlier), they have grown into a very tight unit.  My only gripe is that there are too many crowd shots.  While it does give the viewer a sense of being at a show, I don’t really need to see that many shots of the crowd enjoying the concert; just show me the band on stage.  There are few bonus features with a sound check being the more enjoyable.  All in all, aside from my minor gripe about crowd shots, On a Mission: Live in Madrid is essential for all Schenker fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

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