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Live In Chicago, April 19th 2008

Review by Greg Olma

UFO and Chicago have had a long standing relationship ever since they recorded their show at the International Amphitheater for the Strangers In The Night album. That record went on to become the live album of the '70’s and became the blueprint for what live recordings should sound like. That is why every time UFO play here in Chicago, it is always to a packed house.
They started off the show with “Mother Mary” and that was just what the doctor (or should I say "Doctor Doctor?") ordered. Even though they are touring on The Monkey Puzzle, an old classic was the right move to warm up the crowd. Ever since Vinnie Moore joined the band, I have been hoping that they would play something from the Chapman era. Well, my prayers were answered because they launched into “Long Gone” next. It was great to see this old classic get a live airing and my hopes are that they will add more from those albums next time around.

Now, this being The Monkey Puzzle tour, they did end up performing a couple of tracks from said disc. First up was “Hard Being Me." This cut has all the classic UFO elements and it transferred over really well live. After something brand new, the boys went back to the Force It record and pulled out “This Kid’s." By this time the band was firing on all sixes and had the crowd in the palm of their hand. Sticking with older tracks, they continued with a couple from Obsession. Although “Only You Can Rock Me” has been played countless times, they slipped in the not often heard “Ain’t No Baby." Talk about deep cuts; I have seen UFO many times and this was the first time they played that tune live.
To make sure that everyone knew that they were still a relevant band and producing quality music, they played the second Monkey Puzzle track called “Heavenly Body." They followed that with “Baby Blue” from the last record You Are Here. Both are first rate cuts but I would have preferred “Mr Freeze” (but that is just a minor quibble). A double dose of Lights Out material followed with “Too Hot To Handle” and “Love To Love." The set ended with “Rock Bottom” and it really showcased the talents of Vinnie Moore. He kept the overall structure of the solo but  put in his own bits that showed how versatile he really is.

They came back for one encore and “Doctor Doctor” it was. I found out later that Phil Mogg was sick and the set was cut short by a couple of tunes. Even with those couple of tracks missing, it was still a great show. To make it even more special, Andy Parker has returned to the drum stool (he has not played live in Chicago since 1982) and based on the crowd response (and mine), we were glad he came back.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at
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