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