UFO at The Edge, Palo Alto, CA
9th August and 11th August 1995

So much contemporary rock that we hear on the radio fades into obscurity after only a few months. Radio stations play songs that reflect current trends in music. Oftentimes these so-called musical trends are nothing more than re-hashed riffs and hooks from songs that were written a decade ago. However, there is one section of my record (and CD) collection that still provides me with aural enjoyment many years after I first heard the songs on these discs. Of course, I'm referring to my UFO collection. Anyone who doubts that UFO were way ahead of their time in terms of their contribution to melodic hard rock should listen to songs like "Love to Love," or the somewhat more obscure "Love Lost Love" or "High Flyer." It is difficult to put my finger on why these songs sound so fresh even after the 50th listen, but maybe it has something to do with a combination of musical skill (both technical and songwriting proficiency) and honesty. By honesty I mean inspiration. One can FEEL these songs, feel the emotion that went into them. Forget about the "Schenker is God" thing (although I suppose he might be)-let the MUSIC do the talking. He simply is the best at making a very emotional statement through music. And by the way, if you don't have it, buy the new album-it is great! It has become one of my favorite UFO albums, up there with "Lights Out" and "Obsession." There is something about this line-up that works extremely well, that is evident. I hate to use the word, but it is kind of magical. Moggy is singing probably better than he ever has, but what impresses me most about the disc is how tight it is. For example, listen to the breaks in "Pushed to the Limit."

I had never seen UFO with the classic line-up, although I had seen them several times during the Chapman era as well as MSG and its various incarnations. Thus, when I heard that they had regrouped and that they were coming to my town, I decided I would do almost anything save self-mutilation to check out a show or two. It was to my great surprise (and dismay) that the two scheduled shows had sold out very quickly and that an added third show had done so as well. I was able to buy a ticket from one scalper (another had said he'd be rich if he had tickets to the shows) for the 8-11 show and another before the 8-9 show from someone outside the venue. There were a huge number of people looking for tickets for that show, and I was incredibly lucky (and 80 dollars poorer). It's great to see that so many fans have remembered the band so long after this line-up disbanded.

On to the shows! I've read some of the other reviews and I fear that some of them were somewhat colored by the bias of the reviewers. So I'll try to be objective. The first night was thrilling for me, since it was my first time seeing this line-up, but I didn't think the sound was so good. Moreover, a lot of assholes were pushing toward the stage, which not only almost caused me to pass out (I was pinned to the stage; one woman had to be lifted out) but at one point disconnected Schenker's guitar, forcing us to listen to a good portion of "Love to Love" without guitar. It was great to see the guys rocking together-Way was all over the place, but fortunately was in control of himself, Mogg sang well (what I could hear of the vocals), and Raymond and Wright held the rhythm together nicely. Schenker was good, but I personally feel he was a little off that night. The band didn't seem to work together as much as I would have liked, but I wouldn't read to much into that-I don't think UFO are so into bonding on stage all the time. The song list has already been reported, and they stuck to it faithfully. After the show, we got to meet the whole band and have them autograph UFO memorabilia. That was a lot of fun, and the guys were really nice. They seemed to truly appreciate the adulation.

The second show I attended on the 11th was absolutely superb. The band were together and Schenker really shined. One could sense the energy, and it was obvious that the band were really into it that night. This was the third sold-out show in Palo Alto, and Mogg referred to UFO's "residency" in our town. He also said the band appreciated us letting them into our living room, or something like that (the Edge is a pretty small club). It was truly a special night. As cliched as it may sound, for me, it was a dream come true. Welcome back, boys. We hope this is the beginning of an era.

Dr. John Manak
Stanford University Sch. of Medicine

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