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9th April 2013
Lights Out in Stockton...
by wendavey on 10th April 2013 13:38
Michael Schenker is one of the most influential, respected and easily identifiable guitarists of the last forty years. His legendary guitar playing with bands such as the Scorpions, UFO and the Michael Schenker Group have seen him pass into rock folklore with his smiling, prowling stage presence, his exquisite tone and the blizzard of notes flying from his array of "Flying V" guitars.
April 9 found Schenker opening a UK "Temple of Rock" tour in the intimate setting of Stockton's 500 capacity Arc theatre. Yes, the audience was mainly male and dominated by a certain age group reminiscing about how they first saw Schenker thirty years ago at Hammersmith/Newcastle/Manchester etc, but they were certainly enthusiastic. Supported by two former fellow Scorpions, Herman Rarebell on drums and Francis Bucholz on bass, and ex-Rainbow vocalist Doogie White the band were fresh from a handful dates in Russia so there was no rustiness in evidence. Sadly, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findley was absent due to a passport problem but will be joining the band for the majority of he UK dates. However, while the absence of Findlay was regrettable, it also meant that we were treated to a slightly barer-bones performance than the rest of the UK will probably experience.
From the opening Scorpion's track "Lovedrive" to the set closing UFO number "Doctor Doctor", the 58 year old Schenker belied his age and didn't hold back from delivering a crowd pleasing twenty song set filled with classics from his long career. In front of a Marshall stack, and swapping periodically between a selection of four custom Dean Flying Vs, identified on the set list as "coloured", "retro", "yin-yang" and "stranger" Schenker looked blissfully happy as he crept across the front of the stage, crouched over his guitar and scanning the audience and slapping outstretched palms. Standout numbers were "Only You Can Rock Me", "Rock You Like A Hurricane", "Lights Out" and an immense version of "Rock Bottom".
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