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ConcertsMichael Schenker Fest and Eden’s Curse at Manchester Academy 11/11/2018

Posted on Wednesday, November 14 2018 @ 12:46:36 CST by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

What a tremendous evening of music. What a feast of classic rock. What virtuoso playing. What a well-thought out gig. What a pleasure to be in attendance.

What a dismally small crowd.

Given that UFO’s date at Manchester Ritz is already sold out and that a decent support act was on the bill one would have been expecting a pretty big crowd to watch the legendary German guitarist and his quartet of vocal cohorts, one would have been very wrong indeed. I would guesstimate that the crowd was slightly more than a third of the venue’s capacity. Certainly I could have stood practically anywhere I wanted and in the end was able to move from my preferred position of the left hand side of the stage (just under Steve Mann and the ever entertaining Chris Glenn) to just under Michael Schenker’s nose before going back with ease to my personal preference.

There’s a reason why so many acts currently miss out Manchester and the north west on their schedules and it’s because of poor support and let’s be honest, quite a lot of these classic rock bands will be gone over the next few years and that’ll be it. In a world where the Spice Girls get 700,000 breaking the internet Michael Schenker can barely pull a thousand punters. Sad!

Not that Schenker and Eden’s Curse gave a flying (V-shaped) shit; both bands put on superb performances though whomever decided that Eden’s Curse should come on at the same time as the doors opened is an arse. The Curse made a good fist of their limited time and played with a good deal of vigour and verve and the final two songs of "Evil and Devine" and "Angels & Demons" gained a good response from those in attendance. The band brought Helen Hurd out on the latter tune and she added a touch of light to proceedings. They are touring the UK in 2019. They aren’t coming anywhere near Manchester.

Michael Schenker Fest were simply magnificent. The carefully planned set which featured mini sets from each Schenker-related vocalist (Doogie White, Graham Bonnet, Gary Barden and Robin McAuley worked brilliantly and was probably a good idea given the ages of said gentlemen. I overheard somebody on the way out say that he’s never been to a two and a half hour gig before and not been bored. I heartily concur. Of the older vocalists McAuley has the best remaining pipes, Barden struggled manfully but did a lot of Bobby Kimball style pointing the mic at the crowd and Graham Bonnet was, well, Graham Bonnet, seemingly slightly disconnected from much of his surroundings but endlessly charismatic.

Perhaps surprisingly the songs which worked best for me where the newer tunes which featured all the singers, "Warrior" and "Take Me to the Church" were staggeringly good and playing "Doctor Doctor" second up was masterstroke. It would be churlish not to mention how excellent a guitarist Michael Schenker is, certainly he’s more suited than singing! If this train rolls into your town get on it because it may not be back too often in the future.

Simon Bray

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