Michael Schenker Fest – 9th November 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy
By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)
Michael Schenker brought his mammoth festival to Newcastle on Friday and wowed the crowd with a 2 hour 30 minute set of both classics from his past projects and new material.
I’ve always loved Michaels’ guitar work and it was a privilege to witness him up close doing what he does best!
He strode out to a huge reception and opened up with the Scorpions track Holiday from the Lovedrive album. On paper an odd choice as it’s almost a ballad BUT it actually set the mood perfectly with the crowd singing along with him from the go!
Then introducing the band members they went into the UFO anthem Doctor Doctor with vocalists Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, Doogie White and Gary Barden (all of whom have been in past incarnations of the Michael Schenker Group) taking a verse or line each. You’d think it was the last song of the night the fun that the band were having, on only second song in!!
The rest of the night was then split into mini sets with each singer taking the spotlight to air some their past with the group and put their own slant on some of the songs Michael is renowned for. Ted McKenna and Chris Glenn from the classic MSG line up were as always the perfect rhythm section and Steve Mann provided second guitar and keyboards!
The “sets“ were pretty evenly spread through the night and a couple of big numbers saw all four taking centre stage again BUT the focal point was Michael Schenker himself! He was on absolute top form recounting tales of how and when he had written songs when in his teens and his playing was just out of this world the tones and technique with those riffs and solos were just sublime!
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