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UFO

Live in San Antonio, Texas, October 2019

Review by Greg Olma

It had to happen someday but it’s still sad.  UFO is making the last round of touring before Phil Mogg hangs up his mic stand for good.  I have been a loyal fan since 1979, so it feels like I’m saying goodbye to an old friend.  The band has been a staple in my concert schedule for so long that it will definitely leave a void that won’t be easily filled.  I decided to make a trip from Houston to San Antonio to see the band, and as usual, they did not disappoint.

They started off the show with oldie “Mother Mary” and right off the bat, they had the crowd eating out of their hands.  Neil Carter, who took over when Paul Raymond tragically died earlier this year, ran all over the stage and showed more energy than people half his age.  He was fun to watch because you could tell that he was genuinely have a great time playing.  In fact, the whole band was playing like they had to something to prove (which they didn’t).  Phil Mogg may move around a little less than he used to but he was just as animated as ever and still exuded class in the way only an English front man can.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

I was surprised that since Carter rejoined for this last go-around that they didn’t play more from his original tenure with the band.  They did play “We Belong To The Night” from Mechanix but that was the only piece from that lineup.  It didn’t make that much of difference to me (or anyone in the crowd) because their catalogue is rich with great tunes.  I was really happy that they did play tunes from the Vinnie Moore era as I feel that there are quite a few songs from that period that belong in any UFO set list.  They performed “Run Boy Run,” “Baby Blue” and “Burn Your House Down,” which are all great tunes. 


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

Of course the band played many of their classics like “Lights Out,” “Too Hot To Handle” and “Only You Can Rock Me.”  I don’t think they would be able to leave the building without performing those tracks.  While many people feel that “Rock Bottom” belongs to Michael Schenker, Moore does a great job with the piece by sticking to the general themes during the solo but still injecting his own style to make it his own.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

The encore started off with quite a surprise.  The band played “Fighting Man” from the overlooked record Sharks.  I’m not sure if they ever really toured for that album, but I was floored when they pulled that one out to start the encore.  They followed that with “Doctor Doctor” and “Shoot Shoot” to end the show.  During the latter song, they threw in a little bit of “All Right Now” by Free, which makes me wonder why they didn’t include it on The Salentino Cuts since they do a great job with it.  I want to make a special mention of the great rhythm section of Andy Parker and Rob De Luca.  Those guys are as solid as that they come, and Parker beat on his kit like he was auditioning for the band.  Although I knew this day was coming, I did leave the venue a little misty eyed, partly because that was my last UFO concert and partly because they were so good that night.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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