UFO at St. Georges Hall, Bradford 17th February 1998.

The support Dirty Deeds where (trying to put it politely) standard 1980 style heavy rock/metal band bereft certainly of melody and harmony but seemingly competent. On the plus side they tried hard to win over a partisan crowd (who spent the majority of their set in the bar!) . However the frontman displayed a good sense of humour and attempted vainly to get audience participation and for this they deserve a break . It is to UFO's credit they were not short changed with lights or sound quality a break may come later in the year when they are apparently to release a CD and to support a band closer to their style of music - Iron Maiden.

The venue Bradford , St George's Hall is an olde style theatre with the main standing room only hall supplemented by two (count 'em) balconies , the latter being well and truly up in the Gods . With a capacity of say 3,000 people I would guess it was perhaps more than 75% full which is perhaps disappointing with other venues selling out but Bradford is not exactly the R'n'R capital of the UK and I did hear many present who had been to Newcastle , Nottingham or had tickets for Manchester or Sheffield. The geography being such that other venues are only a 40 minute car journey away .

UFO were due to hit the stage at 9.00pm but as usual come 9.20pm no sign of them but this is not unusual and merely added to the anticipation ,especially on the back of rumours from Cambridge . Come 9.25pm four dark figures shambled on stage front to a loose rock'n'roll type intro jam (similar to the singalong section in C'mon Everybody). The PA announced "Hello Bradford , Please welcome from England (?!) UFO" and the band tore into Natural Thing The hall erupted as MS let loose with the killer riff and a number of things hit you straight away :

The set was as for the rest of the tour basically Strangers less Loser and Let it Roll plus Rodeo (intro-ed as Pete Ways title tune) sounding as fresh as on the Obsession CD and a very impressive Electric Phase what a riff from Paul Raymond with MS playing a slide lead over the top. Moggy visibly struggled with some vocals but just about managed to pull it off.

The three newies from WOW stood up well an aggressive Self Made Man with improvised solo an upfront Venus and a thundering (in a similar vein to Lights Out) Pushed To The Limit sitting easily alongside numbers twenty years their junior.

All the old faves were present Love To Love with the MG&B lights MS playing two guitars (exhibitionist !) , the vicious riff and basic boogie of This Kids with deep red lighting , a completely ape version of Too Hot and a drastically speeded up version of Lights Out (well mucha faster than the Tonka live versions!)

Doctor Doctor was as good as ever with the extended melodic intro followed by the highlight of most peoples evening Rock Bottom MS pulling yet another RB solo from his bag of tricks leaving Pete prostrate on his back in amazement , Paul Raymond sat on the drum riser looking in adoration whilst Moggy left the stage for a swift half . A tremendous number - such power at the beginning and end and in-between a sensitive solo . Can Rock Music ever be better than this ?

This left a final encore of singalonga Shoot Shoot with the almost the whole band in party mood and then they were gone......

Memories there were many but briefly :

Paul Raymond a much larger role for him and is it my imagination but has he become more important to the group seemingly taking on more guitar parts and backing vocals.I get continually fed up when he gets a cursory mention he is intrinsic to the sound , whilst he will never compete with Pete in the stage movement department he does get down . Simon Wright played note perfect and powerfully and thats about it! - sorry Simon but there will only ever be one UFO drummer.

The Waymeister what a showman the man spends the whole gig seducing the monitors , playing his bass behind his head , through his legs , jamming with MS , he is a genuis and a star . He spent a large part of the gig jamming with MS something they both visibly enjoyed . He may not be the best technical bassist but he can work an audience better than anyone else!

Phil struggled with some of his links , he looked and sounded fairly nervous at times , and to be honest he had difficulty with some of the songs Rodeo and Rock Bottom spring to mind , hopefully it was just a cold or something....... On the positive side no fluffed lines !! Lets be honest he is Phil Mogg you gets what you sees - an excellent frontman and as charismatic as ever.

MS - the guy is a legend. His playing was note perfect with the majority of the solos being reinvented . He debuted a fairly drastic image change although the years of self abuse are beginning to take their toll , he is beginning to look old but what the hell if I'm still rockin like he is at 40+ I'll be overjoyed. For most of the evening he was rooted to the spot jamming occasionally with Pete only taking centre stage during Love To Love and Rock Bottom . The icy atmosphere on stage between Mogg & Schenker is concerning for the future and I'm sure there are faults on both side but how the hell can they write songs without communicating. Pete has got one hell of a job being a mediator !!!

To conclude an excellent gig with the UKs top Rock band in full flow I can't wait for the next release and subsequent tour . Hey lads why not film a gig for video release !!!

Paul Roberts

Back to UFO home page