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ConcertsUFO Live at Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall 6/19/2009

Posted on Wednesday, June 24 2009 @ 18:45:08 CDT by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

UFO rolled into Wolverhampton in support of their just released 20th studio album The Visitor and what is also worth mentioning is that 2009 marks their 40th anniversary. Pretty impressive for a band that has threatened to self-implode so many times in the past and yet somehow they still keep on going. Support for the evening was supplied by young rockers Toxic Federation who got a huge reaction as they blasted their way through an adrenaline fuelled six songs that owed a great deal to youthful exuberance but through which also emerged some decent hooks and riffs. More work on the backing vocals would be a benefit for the choruses but all eyes were on frontman Mitch who simply oozed confidence, jumping into the front row like a whirling dervish with mic in one hand and camcorder in the other. The drum solo was a tad optimistic but somehow they didn't lose momentum and all credit to a young band who definitely made an impression on a largely middle-aged crowd of veteran gig-goers.

What was immediately evident when UFO took to the stage is that to Phil Mogg's left there is currently a huge Pete Way sized hole that has to be filled and Barry Sparks does a more than capable job, taking centre stage for the lengthy instrumental passages of "Love To Love" and "Rock Bottom". Whilst this is not Way's first leave of absence from the band you get the feeling this time it might be permanent and if this turns out to the be the case then Sparks would seem to be a ready made successor. They might not be officially celebrating the 40 years but for the most part they are content to play the nostalgia card when it comes to choosing the set list; not that anyone was complaining about hearing the likes of "Mother Mary", "Too Hot To Handle", "Ain't No Baby" and "I'm A Loser" once again. As reviewed elsewhere on the site The Visitor is a strong effort with its roots in country and blues but only two songs make the list, the opening twang of "Savin Me" and the ballsy rocker "Hell Driver". Mogg still can't remember lyrics, reaching for his prompt sheets for the latter but this is all simply part of his enduring charm. Looking rather gaunt in tight black t-shirt and kilt his voice still hits the spot and at a time when some of his peers are struggling to cut it live its refreshing to hear him deliver an exquisite "Baby Blue" and hit every single note. Vinnie Moore's arrival in UFO undoubtedly played a part in rejuvenating the band and his own take on the solos of classics such as "Lights Out" and "Rock Bottom" are a joy and his playing throughout simply inspirational. Meanwhile the ever dependable Paul Raymond and Andy Parker are clearly still enjoying the rigours of the road and are as solid as ever. The encore is a double blast of the classics "Doctor Doctor" and "Shoot Shoot" before they call it a night; hopefully it won't be too long before they return.

Dean Pedley

Set List
Saving Me
When Daylight Goes To Town
Mother Mary
I'm a loser
This Kids
Hell Driver
Baby Blue
Only You Can Rock Me
Ain't No Baby
Love To Love
Lights Out
Too Hot Too Handle
Rock Bottom
Doctor, Doctor
Shoot Shoot

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