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ConcertsMichael Schenker's Temple of Rock at The Chance 1/25/2014

Posted on Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 08:44:06 CST by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

Crazy to think that it had been roughly 25 years since I had last seen German guitar hero Michael Schenker live in concert, but that was indeed the case when I walked into The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY on January 25th, oddly enough, the same place I last caught him when he put together the MacAuley Schenker Group back in the late '80s. Though he's made many treks over here to the States in recent memory, for some reason or another I just always seem to have something else going on when he stops in the area, but with a hot new album & band, fronted by the terrific Doogie White, I was certain to make sure not to miss him this time.

Schenker's new band is called Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock, and they are touring in support of the new CD titled Bridge the Gap. The line-up on the album is Schenker, White, keyboard/guitar player Wayne Findlay, and Scorpions legends Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass). However, those two could not make the first leg of this tour, so Michael brought along Rev Jones (bass) and Pete Holmes (drums) to take care of the initial dates, and these two did a more than admirable job. Though it was a cold, snowy evening out, it did not deter the fans from coming out to Poughkeepsie, as The Chance was as packed as I've seen it in years. After a handful of opening bands, the Temple of Rock hit the stage, and tore into a well rounded set that featured songs from the new CD, old MSG favorites, a few Scorpions gems, and of course, plenty of classic UFO.

Due to Herman & Francis not being on this part of the tour, the setlist was a little light on Scorpions material (no "Coast to Coast" surprisingly), but they still launched into killer renditions of "Another Piece of Meat" and "Lovedrive", and White did a fine job of singing both Gary Bardens' & Graham Bonnett's parts on MSG staples such as "Armed and Ready", "Cry for the Nations", "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie", "Attack of the Mad Axeman" (featuring a sizzling solo from Schenker), "Assault Attack", and a surprising "Rock My Nights Away" from the solid Built to Destroy album. The new album was represented nicely by "Neptune Rising", "Where the Wild Wind Blows", the Rainbow-ish "Horizons", and White & Schenker gave a great tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio on the Temple of Rock album track " Before the Devil Knows You're Dead".

The entire back end of the set featured many well known UFO classics, including "Shoot Shoot", "Only You Can Rock Me", "Let it Roll", "Too Hot to Handle", and of course "Lights Out", "Rock Bottom" and "Doctor Doctor". Schenker's extended solo on "Rock Bottom" was a thing of beauty, and one of the most impressive guitar excursions I have seen in quite some time. Fans (myself included) were singing along with White the entire way, and I have to say that he does a very fine job handling the classic Phil Mogg vocal lines. Sure, it would have been nice to also get "Love to Love", "Natural Thing", and maybe a few others, but it was hard to complain about such a stacked setlist of old Schenker favorites as this one had. The was completely tight throughout the evening, and I have to say, having also seen the current version of UFO recently, there is just something about Michael Schenker that brings a certain element to the table. Not to knock Mogg, Vinnie Moore, Paul Raymond, and Andy Parker, but there was just something extra special about this evening with Schenker and his band. An incredible evening, and I'll certainly try and catch them with Herman & Francis when they come back later this year.

Pete Pardo

Setlist


Neptune Rising
Where the Wild Wind Blows
Armed and Ready
Cry for the Nations
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Assault Attack
Attack of the Mad Axeman
Rock My Nights Away
Into the Arena
Lovedrive
Another Piece of Meat
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Horizons
Shoot Shoot
Only You Can Rock Me
Let It Roll
Too Hot to Handle
Lights Out
Rock Bottom
Doctor Doctor



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