What follows is a personal diary of my time with MSG over the past week. I actually knew I was 'doing' the tour when I received a phone call from Gary in April. Gary asked me if I'd fly to Dublin with him for the first gig. Needless to say, I said I would.

On Tuesday 12th May, my partner Michelle and I drove to Gary's home in Kent. I stayed the night (Michelle returned home) The following morning, we had a taxi booked for Gatwick Airport which was due to leave Gary's at 10am. We were up, ready and waiting for the taxi. We left on time and arrived Gatwick at 10.45am. We had breakfast and caught the flight at 1.20pm (it was delayed 1hr) we arrived in Dublin and went straight to the hotel. After checking in, we decided to get a taxi into Dublin, so we could experience the local hospitality. Whilst in the city centre, we met up with Shane Gaalaas, Seth Bernstein and Jeff Kollman. Basically, the guys were excited about playing live with Gary and it was clear from the outset that they had a tremendous respect for him. After an afternoon in Dublin we returned to the hotel, where we stayed for the rest of the evening. Apparently, Michael and David Van Landing were at the venue with Satch and Uli, rehearsing the 'jam'. At 10.00pm, Michael and David entered the hotel lobby, at which point, Gary, Michael and David greeted each other.

Thursday 14th May-Dublin

I travelled to the venue with Gary and when we arrived Tonio (tour manager) issued us with access all areas laminates. Gary and I entered the hall and MSG were on stage soundchecking. Gary went up on to the stage and Michael asked him what song he'd like to rehearse. "On and On", Gary replied. At that point the band went straight in to 'On and On', with Gary and David sharing vocal duties. I'd not heard, or seen this song live for over a decade and I was truly emotional as Michael played the outro lead break. Throughout the day, Michael seemed to be in good spirits. This was reflected in his performance. I spent most of the day with MSG in there dressing room. They were extremely friendly, thus, I knew, the coming week would prove to be memorable. After the gig, I helped Leon Lawson (Michael's guitar tech) dismantle and encase MSG's gear. I travelled overnight with one of the truckers (Jeff Whitlock) to Glasgow.

Friday 15th May-Glasgow

Arrived at the auditorium at 12.30pm, three hours late. This was due to a late ferry crossing from Ireland. When we arrived, there was a distinct panic setting in amongst the crew. No matter, the crew worked hard to get everything ready for showtime. Again, I spent the day with Gary and MSG. Gary and I took a taxi into Glasgow, so we could take in the city's sights. There was no soundcheck today, so we didn't have to rush back to the venue. Michael arrived at 6.30pm and went straight to his dressing room. He didn't emerge 'till he was due to take the stage. I took some ace photo's tonight (hopefully you'll be able to view some of them on Tristan Greatrex's 'Michael Schenker Story' web-site soon) After MSG's set, I went backstage to see Michael. He was in fine form, very witty. After the jam, I conversed with MSG in their dressing room. I couldn't believe how welcoming they were. Up until Dublin I'd never met them, yet they treated me like I was one of the band. It was great to see ex-MSG drummer, Ted McKenna, milling around backstage after the gig. Again, I helped Leon with the gear, after which, I travelled to Manchester (overnight) with Jeff (Whitlock) It was 7.30am when we arrived at the Apollo.

Saturday 16th May-Manchester

This was an exciting day for me, because I was due to meet up with Michelle and Marc for the first time on this tour. Also, my brother Ian and his son Richard (my nephew) plus friends from my home town of Halifax were attending this gig. In addition to this, Michelle brought the car with her, thus, I was mobile for the rest of the tour. The venue opened at 8.30am and I went to one of the dressing rooms to shower. That done, I went onto MSG's tour bus to see Gary. It was really hot day and we lazed around for most of it. At 2.00pm Michelle, Marc, Ian and Richard arrived. Gary had managed to secure VIP laminate passes for Michelle and Marc. I obtained working passes for Richard and Ian. This was also the day when a certain Dr Dave Wood came on board. It was already arranged (by Mr Van Landing) for Dave to have a pass. Thus, Dave was issued with a VIP laminate. As for Richard, he's only 13yrs old and he's been playing drums since he was six. I introduced him and his father to MSG and we were amazed when Shane offered to give Richard a drum lesson, which he scheduled it for 7.00pm.

When the time came, Shane showed Richard how to do various things. He also took him on stage and showed him round his kit. Shane was true gentleman. After the jam, I took my brother and nephew to meet Michael. As ever, Herr Schenker was courteous and posed for photo's with them. After this, we thanked Michael, at which point Ian and Richard left for home. After all the excitement, Gary, Michelle, Marc and Myself went to the local pub for an after time drink. We eventually left the pub and made our way to Yorkshire. Got to bed at 4.00am.

Sunday 17th-Birmingham

We arrived at the NEC at 2.00pm. I entered the backstage area and located MSG's dressing room. As ever, the guys were very welcoming. I had a conversation with Coy (the lady who was dealing with MSG merchandise) and it transpired that she was short-staffed. That being so, I offered to help her. Subsequently, I spent the rest of the afternoon pinning Schenker posters to the walls of the NEC. Whilst I was at the merchandise stall, some MSG fans were talking about Michael. One of them then said "I wish Gary Barden was still with him." I replied that they were in for a "nice surprise." I asked them to wait, whereupon, I went backstage to see Gary. I told him that some MSG fans were 'dying' to meet him. We went out to the front of the hall, where Gary chatted with them and signed their merchandise. What a gentleman! They thanked Gary and myself, then returned to their seats. Prior to MSG's set, I saw ex-MSG bassist Rocky Newton chatting to Michael in the backstage area. After MSG's set and the jam, I accompanied Michael and Tonio to Michael's signing session. After which, Gary and myself helped Leon with Michael's cabs. How many lead vocalists do you know who would do that? After taking photo's of MSG in their dressing room, Michelle, Marc and I, headed south for Surrey. We arrived home at 3.00am.

Monday 18th May-Day off

The three of us travelled to the bands hotel in London (Gary and I had arranged this the previous day) We arrived at 6.00pm and he (Gary) was very tired. We chatted for an hour, then left Gary to catch up on some much needed sleep. The rest of MSG (except Michael) headed for central London, for a night on the town. We got home at 2.30am.

Tuesday 19th May-Wembley

Got to Wembley Arena at 1.00pm and Gary was in fine form. He was very happy and relaxed. I drove David (Van Landing) into Wembley town centre, so that he could purchase some photographic equipment. We returned to the venue and I spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with Gary. At 6.30pm Michael arrived and I carried the flying V to his dressing room. When he gave it to me he said "Alan, you know how to carry that?" I replied "Yes Michael, don't worry." I dutifully placed the guitar in his dressing room. Tonio then asked me if I would accompany Michael and himself to the signing sessions after the show. How could I refuse? At 7.00pm I went outside (to the box office) and met my dear friend Tristan (Greatrex) I handed him a VIP laminate pass (courtesy of Mr Van Landing) I then returned to the backstage area. I was really pleased to see Tristan, as it was the first chance he'd had to attend one of the shows. Top man!

After Michael had finished MSG's set and the jam, I went with him to the signing. After this we returned to Michael's dressing room, where a multitude of people were vying to see him. Satch, Uli and Brian May (separately) called on Herr Schenker. After this, ex-MSG keyboardist Andy Nye visited Michael, along with Gary (Barden) Leon, Michael's ex-wife Pam Schenker and his two sons Taro and Tyson. Michelle, Marc, Tristan (Greatrex) Dave (Wood) and myself, were all ensconced in Michael's dressing room. It was somewhat crowded, but Michael was very open and receptive to conversation. In fact, he was very jovial. Eventually, people dispersed and once the dressing room was empty, Michael prepared to leave. Along with Tonio, I carried Michael's baggage to his car. At this juncture, I bade him farewell and Michelle, Marc and Myself left Wembley for home. It was an early night. We got to bed at 2.00am.

Wednesday 20th May-Croydon

What a nightmare! We were late leaving for Croydon and a mile from home the car 'broke down'. It was 6.10pm and MSG were due on stage at 8.10pm. I let the car cool down for 45 mins. There was a distinct possibility that we were going to miss the gig, thus, I phoned Gary to let him know what had happened. After this, I decided to risk driving it. We set off at 6.55pm and arrived at the venue at 8.05pm. I went straight into the venue, said my hello's and placed myself at the front of the stage, so I could take the customary photo's. Gary's mum (Mrs Shirley Barden) was in attendance and she was really happy to see Gary up on stage with Michael again. A very proud mum indeed. Also, Tristan (Greatrex) and Dave (Wood) were present. After the show, I went to the signing session with Michael and Tonio. Before we left for home, I entered Michael's dressing room and had a conversation with him about him coming back to play in the UK. We agreed to continue the conversation ("tommorrow night") in Cardiff. Throughout all this, Michelle had been outside the venue, with the car, waiting for the RAC to arrive. She watched MSG's set, but missed the jam. She is a trooper. When the mechanic appeared he couldn't find anything overtly wrong, but surmised that it might be the carburettor. We arrived home, with a very unwell car, at 2.30pm.

Thursday 21st May-Cardiff

We rose early, but we didn't have time to put the car in for a check-up. We decided to risk driving to Cardiff and arrived at 12.30pm. On entering the venue, we found no band members. I went to the tour bus and was informed that all the band had gone in to Cardiff City centre. Michelle, Marc, myself and Keith (MSG and UFO's sound engineer) decided to follow suit and we had a great time. In the centre, we met up with Seth Bernstein. After leaving Seth, we 'bumped' into Shane (Gaalaas) and Jeff (Kollman) We then visited the Britanicca pub for some lunch. From inside the pub, I saw Dave (Wood) walking along the street. I ran outside and called out to him. Subsequently, Dave joined us for lunch. We headed for the venue and arrived at 6.00pm. Gary informed me that he'd been booked into the 'Moathouse' hotel (it was supposedly his final night of the tour) Consequently, we booked a room there as well. Again, I accompanied Michael and Tonio to Michael's signing sessions.

After the jam, Gary was asked by Tonio to go to Michael's dressing room. They were talking for, at least, an hour when I entered. Gary asked me to "wait a minute". Thus, I retreated. Gary came out and I went in to see Michael. We talked for 45 mins and he signed all my MSG CD inserts, along with some photo's I'd taken at Croydon the previous night. At this point I beckoned to Michelle, Marc and Dave (Wood) to come in. I was amazed when Michael hugged Michelle and Marc. He then thanked them and Dave for their continuous support. It was a great moment. Michael then posed for photographs with each of us. A true gentleman. We then filed out into the corridor where Gary was waiting with a huge smile on his face.

I said to Gary "Well, we'd better go to the hotel matey!"

Gary replied "I'm not staying in a hotel."

"Why?" said I.

Michelle then quipped "He doesn't know."

"Doesn't know what." I cried.

Marc then chipped in with "What a sad bastard! He doesn't know"

"Gary's doing the whole tour." Blurted Michelle.

"It's your fault." said Gary.

"No" I said, "it's because you've done the business. That's why Michael wants you to do the rest of the tour."

I then said "He never even told me. He never even mentioned that you'd be going to Europe. I can't believe it. I've just sat with the man for 45 mins and he didn't say a word about it!"

At this point, it was approximately 1.30pm and Michael emerged from his dressing room and I bleated "Michael! You never said anything about Gary doing the rest of the tour."

Michael looked bemused and said "Oh." And, in his own inimitable style he added "I have to go. Thankyou!

'Enigmatic to the end', thought I.

He then left the venue with Tonio, whilst Gary, Michelle, Marc, Dave and myself burst into fits of laughter. It was then that Michelle and I decided to cancel the hotel booking and drive home. We got to bed at 5.00am. What a week it had been. I was so happy for Gary, because I always believed that he deserved another chance with Michael. I truly hope that they make another album together.


After spending ten days with the G3 tour, courtesy of MSG, I was exhausted. The hospitality that was shown to, not only myself, but also to Marc (my son) and Michelle (my partner) was exceptional. The list of people I would like to thank is endless, so I'll keep it short by extending thanks from Marc, Michelle, Tristan (Greatrex) Dave (Wood) and myself, to all concerned. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Tristan and Dave for their inexorable support regarding 'all things' Schenker and UFO. True heartfelt thanks must be advanced to Michael Schenker. At every gig on the UFO and G3 tours, Michael has unconditionally allowed me to stand in the pit and take unlimited photographs of him. I am truly grateful to Michael for allowing me to do this. Hopefully, in the near future, many of these photographs will make their way onto Tristan's or Dave's web-sites, where all you Schenker fans can gain unlimited access. Happy viewing! Finally, a word regarding Gary Barden. Well Matey, who was it that said it wouldn't/couldn't happen? That is, yourself and Michael playing live again. You did it, make no mistake. And, you performed like a trooper. You did yourself and us, proud.

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