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UFO

Showtime

Review by Greg Olma

This is a difficult CD to review. When a band comes up with an album that defines their career, no matter how good the subsequent releases are, they are always compared to that album. For UFO, that album is Strangers In the Night. To give Showtime a fair review, I would have to forget that Strangers In the Night never existed. Well, we can not unlearn something so my comparisons will be limited. Showtime is a great live album. Phil Mogg hasn't changed a bit. He is also one of the few singers that sounds just as good live as he does in the studio. New guitarist Vinnie Moore also puts in a great performance throughout. He keeps the songs close to the original studio versions but still throws in bits that are his own. The rest of the guys put in solid performances also. This double CD contains the best of the Schenker era along with new track off You Are Here. If you are looking for Strangers In the Night part 2, then look elsewhere but if you are looking for another great live album from UFO, then get this disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Mother Mary
A great opener for the show and for this CD, you can tell that Phil and the boys are firing on all cylinders.
When Daylight Goes to Town
This is the first time we are treated to live recordings of tracks from You Are Here. I never really cared for this song on the studio disc but live, it seems to work much better. I like this version better because it has more of that raw live feel.
Let It Roll
I'm glad that they are still performing this track live. It is a great song and this "updated" version sounds a little different in the mid section. I can't tell if that is just the recording or if they changed it around a bit to keep it interesting for themselves.
I'm A Loser
The Schenker era gems keep coming. This is played pretty close to the Strangers In the Night version.
This Kids
The Force It album was always a fan favorite so I guess the boys decided to keep the fans happy. This is another one that is played pretty close to the bone.
The Wild One
This is the weakest track on the CD. They could have included a Chapman era song instead of this filler cut.
Fighting Man
Including this track in their live set will go down as one of the great mysteries of all time. I like the song but let's face it; there are so many other tracks that could have been included. It was originally on the Sharks album; an album that relatively few people purchased. I'm not knocking the cut or the CD but they could have included "Lone Gone" or "No Place to Run." Al least those songs are considered "hits" among UFO fans.
Only You Can Rock Me
I love this track but it has been played to death. For those of you who like "the hits", you will enjoy this relatively spot on version. I tend to skip songs like this because I've heard them a million times.
Baby Blue
Phil is one of those rockers who can sing a ballad and not be wimpy. The band play this very close to the CD version with Vinnie pulling out the acoustic guitar to make sure it sounds right.
Mr. Freeze
This is the best song off of You Are Here and I'm glad it has made it into the live set. It is played a bit rawer than the studio version but both are equally great.
Disc 2
Love to Love
Vinnie lets his style slip into this track by adding additional guitar work during the middle of the song. I like this version but you can tell it is not played by the book.
Too Hot To Handle
You can tell that this live disc did not go through a studio make-over. Phil is missing his mark a few times and I'm pretty sure he duplicated the lyrics a bit.
Lights Out
Phil must have had a few beers that night. He starts in on the chorus too soon. I will forgive him the few mistakes because he is a great front man and he has been navigating the UFO ship since the beginning.
Rock Bottom
They will never be able to beat the version on Strangers In the Night. That is the definitive version and Michael Schenker's show piece. This is not a dig at Vinnie. He plays it close in style but he adds his own soloing in spots. It is just difficult to separate this track from Michael Schenker.
Doctor Doctor
The guitar solo is a little different but otherwise it is played close to the original.
Shoot Shoot
I love this song but I wish they would close with something else. It is too predictable. UFO have been leaving the stage to this one since I can remember. This is great song and a great version but it's time to change it up guys. Play this one in the middle of the set.
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