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Michael Schenker

Fest: Live Tokyo International Forum Hall A

Review by Gary Hill
This double live CD set captures a special event - Michael Schenker performing one show with three singers who recorded some of his most influential albums with him. I've reviewed the accompanying video in the previous issue of Music Street Journal, but this is the audio CD companion. It's quite an interesting concert that should definitely please Schenker's long time fans.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
CD 1

                
Intro: Searching For Freedom

This instrumental features some passionate guitar soloing. The cut almost lands in progressive rock territory in some ways.

Into the Arena
This hard rocker leans toward heavy metal. It starts with an extended introduction with some killer rock and roll guitar soloing and some serious crunch. There are some intriguing shifts and changes along the musical road. I love the bass work on this, too. I like this ride quite a bit.
Attack of the Mad Axeman
Gary Barden joins Schenker and company onstage to do this number. This really does have a lot of the old Scorpions sound to it as far as I'm concerned.
Victim of Illusion
This metallic stomper has the same lineup. They power through it in style. There are some cool changes on this.
Cry for the Nations
I like this one better. It's more of a dramatic hard rocker. It has some real meat on its musical bones. The lineup here is the same.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Moving forward with the same lineup, this a killer riff driving it. I dig a couple of the changes on this. It's definitely a metallic rocker. I really like guitar solo on this. It's very passionate and powerful.
Armed and Ready
This final song with Barden, I like the main riff on this tune. It's a cool rocker.
Coast to Coast
Here we get an instrumental that Schenker originally did with the Scorpions. It works pretty well.
Assault Attack
The first song with Graham Bonnet, I love this tune. It's definitely a better cut than the earlier stuff. It has some prog-like tendencies and just works really well. The guitar playing really shines on this one.
Desert Song
Another tune with Bonnet on lead vocals, this is another hard rocker. The drop back section mid-track features an expressive guitar solo.
Dancer
I love the rocking break on this stomper. Beyond that it's just another effective metallic rocker.
CD 2
              

Captain Nemo

This instrumental is a dynamic and diverse number that works really well. It has some cool guitar soloing and other instrumental work. It gets pretty neo-classical at times.

This Is My Heart
Robin McAuley comes in as the lead singer here. This has more of a mainstream hard rocking sound. It's a solid tune, and actually one of the stronger numbers here. The chorus is pretty hook laden and catchy.
Save Yourself
With the same lineup, this is more of a straight rock and roller. It has some of the best guitar work of the show. It rocks pretty well. There is some neo-classical guitar soloing on this one.
Love Is Not A Game
Another in the accessible vein, this has a real mainstream rock vibe to it. It's not far removed from power ballad, but it never gets quite that mellow. It's one of the standout tunes here. It's just very effective.
Shoot Shoot
Here we get the first of several UFO songs. This one is delivered with style and charm. It's a good solid rocker.
Rock Bottom
I suppose that it's an obvious choice, but I've always loved this song. This is a screaming, extended live version of this stomping hot hard rocker. The exploratory jam mid-track takes us in some cool directions. It includes some of the most expressive guitar soloing of the whole show.
Doctor Doctor
The show's closer is another of my favorites from UFO. I know, again, not much of a shock, right? They put in a smoking version of this classic tune.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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