"Rock City" was very appropriate, a seemingly small but cosy venue - shades of Shepherds Bush Empire.
Arrived just after 8pm when Dirty Deeds were into their second number. After the previous shows these guys begin to grow on you. I've been fortunate enough to hear a copy of their forthcoming album "Danger of Infection"(due out over here March/April), however after previous sound difficulties, tonight they've got it right and it's the first chance I've had to really recognise the tracks, check out "Call of the Wild" - excellent. These guys really do enjoy themselves up there and managed to get the crowd going with their animated stage antics. I wish them all the best supporting Iron Maiden later this year and thank them for their kind hospitality, cheers Pete/Tony/Barry/Dave.
So to the main event. By now I was unable to move, trapped centre left of the stage surrounded by a mixture age groups. The place was "banged out", people hanging over the balcony and off the stairs. The band were late and the natives were growing restless........
and then just after 9.30 they finally appear, all dressed pretty much the same as the last time.
The set was the same too, starting with Natural Thing and Mother Mary but this time the sound was good from the start, no waiting for the sound mix to be sorted during the early numbers. It's unbelievable how tight this band are, no glitches whatsoever.
Pete Way, despite the relatively small stage, prances around like a madman, weaving in between the other members but spends a lot of the time stage left with Michael Schenker.
What can you say about Schenker - "Die Meister" - the man looks cool with his new image but his playing is hotter than ever. He plays the first few numbers with shades on, then after he takes them off he's a picture of total concentration barely looking up to either the audience or Pete Way. Having said that, this is probably the most animated I've ever seen him. His playing in general was perfection, his solo's mostly unbelievable (just look at the rest of the crowds expressions!), has there ever been a more melodic guitarist????
Throughout it we had the forever cool Phil Mogg, looking fit and sounding as good as ever. Phil seemed a bit subdued at the Southampton gig but now here he was working the audience with his cryptic intros and definately enjoying himself.
Stage right we have Paul Raymond who's contribution is equal to the others. Constantly keeping time with Schenkers solos without so much as a wink, how does he do it?
Finally on drums Simon Wright. Wow this guy is powerful! No disrespect to Andy Parker, but Simon's playing gives UFO an extra dimension. The new numbers Self Made Man/Venus/Push to the Limit, fit in with the older material no problem. Indeed "Venus" is one of the best performances of the set. Love to Love extremely polished with Schenker switching between electric and acoustic guitars.
However, the killer punch comes from the encore of Doctor, doctor/Rock Bottom. This place is hot, humid and jam-packed, but when "Doctor, doctor" kicks in the place rocks!!! Most excellent. Straight into "Rock Bottom" and I'm expecting something special from Schenker during this, but nothing could prepare me for the mind numbing solo he produced this time round. It had everything - melody, speed, finesse and like all of Michael's solos - feel.
During this time Pete Way waved his bass guitar through more positions than the Kama Sutra, but thankfully his pants remained in tact. I understand Pete did a Graham Bonnet impersonation at the Glasgow gig - purely by accident of course.
Unfortunately no "Shoot, shoot" encore due to the bands late start. So another show over. I look forward to the Astoria on Saturday for my next fix and then I go cold turkey. To think I actually wondered whether these guys could still cut it. How could I doubt them??? I've been lucky enough to see them 3 times on this tour and get backstage to meet them personally and they haven't dissapointed. All I can say is miss them at your peril, this is real rock music.
What chance a write-up in Kerrang!?!?! .................. well The Prodigy made it. Spread the word.
Thanks to everyone who made this work.