The Alte Festhalle in Tuttlingen is the small cosy kind of place. Stage at one end, balcony running round the top supported by columns, like in a church. It will probably hold around 1'500 persons and my estimate of the audience was around 1'000.
Glenn Hughes's performance was flawless. Punch, melody, complicity between the musicians, good mood and a good dose of humour were obviously some of the factors that contributed to their success (ask that 20 year old girl head-banging away like a Priest fan back in the eighties). They started at 8 and played on until 9:05.
A lot of people used the 20 minutes break to assault the merchandising stand. Available there were the "Thank You" albums, the "Odd trio" album, the unforgiven tour Japan video, the making of the unforgiven video, various images and tee-shirts, etc..
At 9:30, the lights went down. "Ladies & Gentlemen ... will you please welcome from England ... U..F..O.. , and if not spoken out loud, that sentence was in each the fan's ears. In the still dark venue, a historical UFO set the place on fire with "Love is forever". Not only speaking for myself (actually sitting between the stage and the audience) I can say that the audience was in the show in a matter of seconds. We had a very lively Phil really getting the notes. No ostentatious looks, just a black jeans, white tee shirt covered with an open black shirt quite sober compared with Pete's glittering slacks and Michael's interesting look. He was wearing gray shorts and a black sleeveless t-shirt, a cross painted on his forehead and a very Viking looking beard under which his chin disappeared !
The set continued with "Unraveled", "Miss The Lights", "Mother Mary", "Self Made Man". Pete was giving us the Schenker - Mogg complicity eventually getting rid of his shirt, rolling about the stage. I think it may have been during "Out In Th Streets" that it took Pete quite some time to figure out his jack had stubbornly left his bass ...
Next came "This Kids". Unfortunately that's when Michael had a sound problem. I heard his sound go down in volume and that worried him just enough to start the mistake pattern all us musicians know so well : Remember when you loose your concentration , make a mistake, loose more concentration, make another mistake, get the look from another band member, etc.. That having happened to me on-stage before I am sympathetic. Schenker being Schenker, he is the only one to screw up with class and maestria ! It didn't affect the show.
There was this guy really blowing his lungs out shouting "Mikhaiiiiillll" up to the point where Phil asked him his name. He probably didn't understand as he never answered !
Next came "Venus", "Pushed To The Limit", "Love To Love" in which Michael got right down to where our emotions start. It's actually incredible how fast he switches between his V and the acoustic ! "Too Hot To Handle" and "Midnight Train" ended the show.
A very hot audience called for more and more we got - 2 encores : "Only You Can Rock me", "Doctor Doctor", "Rock Bottom" with a solo played with a very unusual lightness of touch in the first part and blazing licks in the second (God I like that!). Then the second encore with "Cherry", it's nice to have Pete alone on the front of the stage, "Shoot Shoot" and finally "Lights Out" ending a memorable show.
Michael then appeared in front of the show to sign whatever was presented to him.
I have shot a lot of pictures, they will be available on www.flying-v.ch this coming Friday.
Guitarists : all you want to know about Michael's guitars, amps & effects :
Michael's main guitar is a 1975 Gibson Flying V (that bears a very light "1" on the left of the neck joint). This guitar's neck has been broken at least once. It's fitted with what looks like a Jeff Beck Seymour Duncan PU in the lead position. His second guitar is a 1979 (second half of the year) block inlay Gibson Flying V. He uses a Yamaha electro-acoustic on Love To Love.
Pictures of those guitars as well as detailed setting, amplifier and effects specs and set-up will be posted on www.flying-v.ch towards the end of the week.