Review: Michael Schenker Fest, House of Blues, Las Vegas (27 March 2018)

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

The last time I saw Michael Schenker was when he supported Black Country Communion at the O2 Academy in Glasgow some years ago. Tonight’s venue is rather more salubrious at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas! Touring to support the new Michael Schenker Fest release with a plethora of vocalists, including the addition of Doogie White. There was no support listed on the evening and we were soon to find out why!

The set opened with Mr Schenker himself introducing the sensational rhythm section of Ted Mc Kenna, Chris Glen and Steve Mann before kicking off with ‘Into the Arena‘. What was clear right from the off is that Michael Schenker and his band were on fire. The first vocalist of the evening was introduced, Mr. Gary Barden. His mini set kicked off with ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie‘. From personal experience this is a difficult song to sing and Mr Barden acquitted himself pretty well. We were then treated to ‘Cry For The Nations‘ and ‘Attack of the Mad Axeman‘ before the first Schenker Fest song of the evening, ‘Messing Around’. Gary’s mini-set closed with ‘Armed and Ready‘. And what a great opening to the set it was too!

The next part of the set was opened up with the Scorpions instrumental ‘Coast to Coast‘ before Graham Bonnet was introduced and duly launched into one of my favourite MSG tracks the ‘Desert Song’. This was quickly followed by ‘Dancer‘, also from ‘Assault Attack‘ where Graham was joined on backing vocals by Gary Barden and Robin McAuley. Next up was ‘Night Moods‘ from the Schenker Fest album and Barden and Mc Auley continued with the backing vocals. We were then treated to ‘Searching For A Reason‘ and ‘Assault Attack‘ bringing Bonnet’s mini-set to a close.

The next part of the show was introduced by another instrumental in the form of ‘Captain Nemo‘ from the ‘Built to Destroy‘ album. Again this instrumental only to served to demonstrate just how good Schenker and the band were. We were then introduced to Robin McAuley properly. I always loved McAuley’s voice from the Grand Prix days and as they launched into ‘Bad Boys‘ it was clear he has lost none of his power, range and tone. He continued in that vein with ‘Save Yourself‘. However, he excelled himself with the outstanding ‘Anytime‘ which had the backing vocals of Messrs Barden, Bonnet and White. The opening song from the Schenker Fest album was next with the band rattling though ‘Heart and Soul‘ joined by the other singers on backing vocals again. The singers hung around for ‘Love Is Not A Game‘ from the ‘Save Yourself‘ album.

Next up was the section featuring Doogie White mostly running through ‘Temple of Rock‘ material starting with the instrumental ‘Searching for Freedom‘ before White joined them for ‘Live and Let Live‘. This was quickly followed by ‘Lords of the Lost and the Lonely‘ and then the excellent ‘Take Me To The Church‘ from the new album and the ‘backing vocalists’ returned. Next up was ‘Before The Devil Knows your Dead‘. I must admit I have never been a fan of the Temple of Rock albums but tonight these songs really rocked and Mr White put in a sterling vocal performance. The rest of the singers joined White for ‘Warriors‘ from the Schenker Fest album. The final song of the set was introduced by Michael talking about UFO’s ‘Strangers In The Night‘ live album and then launching into ‘Rock Bottom‘. Lasting about 18 mins the song again served to highlight just how superb Schenker and the band were with the vocals rotating. The encore started with ‘Doctor, Doctor‘ and Bonnet singing and then rotating round the other vocalists. We were then also treated to ‘Shoot, Shoot‘ sung by McAuley, ‘Natural Thing‘ sung by White and finally ‘Lights Out‘ with the vocalists rotating.

The set lasted approximately 160 mins but seemed to flash by in an instant. The set in effect consisted of five mini-sets broken by clever use of instrumentals and narrative from the Boss of Bass and Michael Schenker. In addition, the vocalists backed each other coming and off stage at appropriate times. This created a real camaraderie on stage. Throw in the fact that it was a killer setlist drawing right across Schenker’s career and some killer vocal performances, this provided a very special show indeed. With the British dates having just been announced, if you are one of the many Schenker aficionados’, you would be a fool to miss it based on this spectacular performance.

 

Eden’s Curse are delighted to announce their return to the UK as special guests to Michael Schenker Fest on their ‘Resurrection UK Tour‘ this November.

The run will also take in an appearance at the Hard Rock Hell Festival, the band’s first since 2009, and a headline show at Fuel Rock Club, in Cardiff, Wales.

The full list of dates are:
MON 05 NOV – O2 ABC, Glasgow, Scotland
TUE 06 NOV – Institute, Birmingham, England
WED 07 NOV – Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff, Wales (Headline show) [BUY TICKETS]
THU 08 NOV – Hard Rock Hell XII, Pwllheli, Wales [BUY TICKETS]
FRI 09 NOV – O2 Academy, Newcastle, England
SAT 10 NOV – O2 Forum Kentish Town, London, England
SUN 11 NOV – Academy 1, Manchester, England

#o2priority pre-sale: Friday 6th April at 10am
Tickets: https://priority.o2.co.uk/tickets

Planet Rock pre-sale: Friday 6th April at 10am
Tickets: http://www.planetrocktickets.co.uk

General on-sale: Monday 9th April at 10am
Tickets: https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Celebrated rock guitarist Michael Schenker will start touring “Michael Schenker Fest” in less than a month. The tour includes dates in London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (Nov 2), Sheffield O2 Academy (Nov 3), Manchester O2 Ritz (Nov 4) and Hull City Hall (Nov 5).

 

Tickets for the concerts at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire London, O2 Academy Sheffield and O2 Ritz Manchester are on sale from Ticketmaster and Ticketweb.  Tickets for the Hull City Hall concert are on sale from the Hull City box office booking link – hullboxoffice.com.

UK rock band Departed will be support Michael Schenker on all UK dates.

Michael Schenker‘s endeavor to unite rock fans together at his concerts has enraptured his audiences and so it is fitting that his most recent concept of ‘Michael Schenker Fest’ doesn’t disappoint. The project reunites the original Michael/McAuley Schenker Group vocalists – Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley, plus MSG musicians Steve Mann (guitar, keys), Chris Glen (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums).

Says Schenker, “It’s a miracle that after all these years, a tour like this will take place with the original band members of M.S.G. Being able to go back to those days and celebrate the music is an exciting experience for us, as well as for old and new fans. To being able to re-experience, and for the new audience to get a feel of what it was like, is incredibly enjoyable.

Michael Schenker Fest’ – November 2017 UK Tour Dates

O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London            Thursday 2 November

O2 Academy Sheffield                                    Friday 3 November

O2 Ritz, Manchester                                       Saturday 4 November

Hull City Hall, Hull                                          Sunday 5 November

Photo Credit: © Emili Muraki

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In recent memory, Michael Schenker’s endeavor to unite rock fans together at his concerts has enraptured his audiences and so it is fitting that his most recent concept of ‘Michael Schenker Fest’ does not disappoint one bit. The project reunites the original Michael/McAuley Schenker Group vocalists – Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley, plus MSG musicians Steve Mann (guitar, keys), Chris Glen (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums).

Since the first Michael Schenker Fest concert at Sweden Rock in June 2016 the project has gained serious momentum. Performing at a SOLD-OUT Tokyo show in August 2016 they recorded a live DVD, which has gathered critical acclaim worldwide.

Today, Schenker is proud to announce that he will be touring Michael Schenker Fest throughout Europe in October / November 2017, including four UK concerts taking in O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London (Thursday 2nd November), O2 Academy Sheffield (Friday 3rd November), O2 Ritz, Manchester (Saturday 4th November) and Hull City Hall (Sunday 5th November).

Says Schenker, “It’s a miracle that after all these years, a tour like this will take place with the original band members of “M.S.G.”. Being able to go back to those days and celebrate the music is an exciting experience for us, as well as for old and new fans. To being able to re-experience, and for the new audience to get a feel of what it was like, is incredibly enjoyable.

Continues Schenker, “It’s an amazing feeling to have all of my M.S.G. Family from the ’80’s performing together and especially with Graham Bonnet, who I never got to play any concerts after our Assault Attack album that was originally released in 1982.  Fortunately, being able to have the participation of original M.S.G. members including Gary Barden, Chris Glen (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums) being part of it, and to perform with Robin McAuley and Steve Mann (guitar, keyboards) again as well, is pretty awesome.

The Band
Michael Schenker – Lead Guitar
Ted McKenna – Drums
Steve Mann – Guitar, Keyboards
Chris Glen – Bass

The Vocalists:
Gary Barden
Graham Bonnet
Robin McAuley

Schenker reflects on the concert that was performed in Tokyo in August 2016. “It was just one enjoyable event from beginning to end,” says Schenker. “Seeing those happy, excited fans right from the beginning before the show even started, was incredible. It was like Budokan all over again.

“It’s wonderful how we all got on with each other. It felt incredibly natural, as if it was always like this. Right from the start of rehearsal, the chemistry was great. No problems, just pure fun.  We plan to continue this when we perform the UK concerts in November 2017.”

Thursday 2nd November
O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
O2 Priority Pre-Sale (12 noon on Friday 17th March 2017):
https://tickets.o2priority.co.uk/listings/michael-schenker-fest/44677
On general sale from 10am on Monday 20th March 2017:
www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/IEH0211M

Friday 3rd November
O2 Academy Sheffield
O2 Priority (12 noon on Friday 17th March 2017):
https://tickets.o2priority.co.uk/listings/michael-schenker-fest/44676
On general sale from 10am on Monday 20th March 2017: www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/1F005270B87B778E

Saturday 4th November
O2 Ritz, Manchester
O2 Priority Pre-Sale (12 noon on Friday 17th March 2017):
https://tickets.o2priority.co.uk/listings/michael-schenker-fest/44675
On general sale from 10am on Monday 20th March 2017:
www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/1F005270DEE6A248

Sunday 5th November
Hull City Hall, Hull
On general sale from 12 noon on Friday 17th March 2017:
www.hullboxoffice.com/events//michael-schenker-fest-featuring-original-msg-vocalists-gary-barden-graham-bonnet-and-robin-mcauley

M.S.G. – Discography:

The Michael Schenker Group (1980) Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
M.S.G. (1981) Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
Live At The Budokan (1982) Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
Assault Attack (1982) Ft. Graham Bonnet (vocals)
Built To Destroy (1983) Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
Written In The Sand (1996) Ft. Leif Sundin (vocals)
The Unforgiven (1999) Ft. Kelly Keeling (vocals)
Be Aware Of Scorpions (2001) Ft. Chris Logan (vocals)
Arachnophobic (2003) Ft. Chris Logan (vocals)
Tales Of Rock ‘N’ Roll (2006) Ft. Jari Tiura (vocals)
In The Midst Of Beauty (2008) Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
Live In Tokyo – The 30th Anniversary Concert (2010) Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)

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