UFO at Paris, Elysee Montmartre 22/11/97

I last saw UFO with the classic line-up at the Birmingham Town Hall in 1977, and at the time didn't really know their stuff, but liked them sufficient to get everything they ever did. So after all this time to finally see them was a dream come true, and being objective is difficult.

We duly turned up after a pleasant Eurostar trip at 7:00 pm local time to find Michael signing his new album, i had left mine at home so only got to say hello. He looked well and relaxed. Found out Bella is no longer in the picture so maybe the rumours were true after all.

The support band were Danger Danger, who were ok, fairly passe, and really only passed the time. A couple of tracks were ok, but nobody came to see them did they! Sorry guys.

UFO hit the stage at 8:40 with their classic introduction, "Hello Paris, will you please welcome from England, UFO!!!" They immediately kicked off with Natural Thing, and the crowd wich incidently, was around 1000, went mad. From there on they were absolutely smokin', so tight, so focused. Schenker on our left, Phil in the middle, Paul on our right and Pete, well he was just everywhere. He did however spend most of his time standing next to Schenker. It is sad that Andy couldn't play, but Simon Wright did Andy's drumming very proud indeed, very solid and professional. Phil's voice was just bang on, a real pro. Nobody really tried to steal the limelight, Schenker did have the spotlight on him during a few solos, but really all he was doing was playing his stuff, and almost in a world of his own. Every song they did was just note and lyric perfect. True to form it wasn't long before Phil and Pete had their tops off, classic. They all belong together and hopefully now they have realised it and can keep it going, especially with the new stuff apparently written, which according to the road crew is just great.

Without wishing to put Schenker up on a pedestal, he does however seem to be playing even better than before, his playing has to me always been a soaring eagle, unique, free, bursting with life and melody, and nothing made me change my view, only that he is as i say simply so much better, just outstanding. I found myself grinning all the way through, and almost overcome with emotion as they ripped through virtually all of the 'Strangers' set. They dropped "Let it Roll" and "I'm a Loser", in favour of "Electric Phase", "One More for the Rodeo"(brilliant, one of my faves), "Self Made Man", "Pushed to the Limit" and "Venus". The new stuff mingles brilliantly with the older stuff, and like Schenker said on his Message for Japan, it was just like they carried on where they left off after Strangers in the Night. My wife and I, herself a long time fan, who I met through Michael over the Internet, sung our heads off and found ourselves hoarse afterwards.

The only sad thing about it was that it had to end, they could have played all night for us, and it is fair to say the rest of the crowd. We were assured by the tour manager that even if he had to "carry them to the UK himself" he would ensure they would play in February as planned. Well here is hoping he is right. The UK fans have a right to see them, and we can assure them that they will NOT be disappointed.

A truly stunning performance.

Set List

Natural Thing
Mother Mary
Self Made Man
Electric Phase
Out In The Street
This Kids
One More For The Rodeo
Pushed To The Limit
Love To Love
Too Hot To Handle
Only You Can Rock Me
Lights Out

1st Encore

Doctor Doctor
Rock Bottom

2nd Encore

Shoot Shoot.

Thanks to the boys for a truly memorable experience. If you are a UFO fan out there, please please buy those tickets as fast as they can sell them and make sure they show the fans here in the UK that they are even better than ever!

Colin & Susan Basterfield

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