Concert Report by Ian MSG at Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK May 19, 2006 Added on 05/20/2006
First of all we had two support groups Faster Inferno and Nikki Puppet so that was a surprise.
Faster Inferno were more my kind of rock they did a great version of the old Arlo Guthrie number Coming into Los Angeles plus Raiders of Rock n' Roll in-fact they were very great.
Michael did the same set as before his playing was fantastic it made the hair's on the back of your neck stand up wow!!!!!! The crowd were 100% behind the band and sung their heart's out, people had criticized Jari as being boring well last night he had a ball and nailed all of the song's as good as anybody.
Michael signed thing after the show and was very relaxed and chatty.
Concert Report by Wolfie MSG at Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK May 19, 2006 Added on 05/20/2006
I have just got back from seeing Michael in Wolverhapton and his playing was great. Lots of classic tunes - But I Want More being a pleasant surprise. Apart from tracks of the new album and Arachnaphobiac, the oldest song played was Assault Attack. Michael brought out his 'Schenker Brothers V' for the encores. The rest of the band were great although some people at the back complained of the low volume of the bass. Rev amanged to add a bit of Eleanor Rigby into his solo on Into The Arena!!
Set list as best I can recall;
Assault Attack Ready To Rock Let It Roll Lights Out Dust to Dust Big Deal Shadow Lady Love Trade Into the Arena But I Want More Too Hot to Handle On and On Only You Can Rock Me Attack of the Mad Axeman Armed and Ready Encores: Aracnophobia Doctor Doctor Rock Bottom
Faster Inferno impressed me and i'll probably see them again, the other support started ok, but didn't do anything for me. I can't even remember their name.
Anybody going to any of his future shows should be in for a good time.
Concert Report by Richard G. MSG at Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK May 19, 2006 Added on 05/21/2006
The Wulfrun Hall was by no means bursting at the seams, but I'd guess the audience was at least several hundred strong. Still, I was looking forward to seeing Michael playing on a stage larger than a medium-sized dining room table for a change.
At ￡12.50 the ticket price was excellent value for money. The flip side of the coin is that that must be the lowest price I've paid for a ticket for any sort of performance for a considerable period of time. If it's an indication of Michael's current level of popularity in the UK, then things are not too healthy. As the only other way to see MSG on the UK leg of the current tour is to travel several hundred miles to either London or Glasgow, I'd expected to see a few more people here tonight.
On a more positive note, whoever deals with the merchandising side of things has pulled their finger out for the first time in a while and there were several decent designs of t-shirt on the stand, amongst other items. This is by no means the full extent of what is available though. I picked up a leaflet with a huge array of 'classic' and 'tour' merchandise illustrated. I would willingly part with a fair amount of my hard-earned if anyone can let me know where I can get hold of these items online. I couldn't find anything on any of the websites listed on the leaflet.
First up on stage were Faster Inferno, about whom I know absolutely nothing other than the fact that Michael's son Tyson is their guitarist. It was fascinating to hear some of the similarities in his playing and to see him throwing one or two of the same shapes as his dad. I thought the band were excellent and got the evening off to a great start.
Next up were a band called Nikki Puppet. Despite their endearing (and very talented) guitarist - 'this is my first visit to England! I love it! I love England!!' (blimey, was he led into the venue blindfolded?), this was uninspired Euro-metal at its naffest. The lead singer was truly appalling. However, the 19 year-old drummer was great and the slightly portly bass player very cute. Personally I'd have preferred an extra 45 minutes of Faster Inferno.
And so, with the sense of anticipation reaching as close to fever pitch as can be achieved by people of our advancing years, Michael strode onto the stage along with the rest of the band before launching into the first number, Assault Attack. I've seen Michael on a number of occasions in recent years and I feel I am being objective and not just indulging in typical frothing-at-the-mouth fan-speak (I've read plaudits of gigs where he was only just able to stand up fer Chrissakes) when I say that his playing is at its finest for a considerable period of time. It brought a smile to my face and raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Great to see.
It's not the most important factor, but, having largely ditched the 'soup kitchen' look, Michael is back to looking the part again too. Who didn't thrill to the sight of the mad axeman in his prime, outfitted in denim and leather, blonde locks flowing, crouched over his V, a look of intense emotion and concentration on his face? All part of the great man's lasting appeal.
Soapbox time. Why should David Gilmour command ￡50 a ticket and national media coverage while Michael has to make do with the odd disrespectful review in Classic Rock magazine? I know Michael has never craved commercial success (quite the opposite), but that is surely what he deserves. Why should I have to go through life mentioning the name Michael Schenker only to be met with puzzled looks, even amongst many so-called rock fans? Maybe the moment was lost a long time ago, but I can't help thinking that Michael and his music deserve more than this. We're experiencing a classic rock renaissance, certainly in the UK anyway, so why the hell not? If Michael prefers to maintain a low profile, then fine, but I wish more people were able to share in what seems almost like a secret these days. Of course, I know that Michael's personal circumstances have been troubled and I know that it is a massive achievement for him to have made it this far. I guess we should just be thankful that he is still around to entertain us. I know that my life would have been much poorer without his music.
The band was superb to a man - technically excellent and great showmen too. The best group of guys Michael has had since the glory days of the early to mid 80s.
I wouldn't say that Michael looked as cheerful as I'd been led to believe by reviews of shows earlier in the tour, but he certainly acknowledged the crowd on a number of occasions. Mainly, and most importantly, he was focussed on his playing, which was more fluid and confident than it has been for a long time, with some lovely improvisations and fills along the way.
The new tracks sounded great. I'm not sure where I stand on the whole 'should Michael still be rolling out the same old standards every tour or should he play more new stuff' debate. It's entirely (I presume) Michael's decision, but I sure would miss being able to belt out the words to Lights Out, Armed and Ready et al with a few hundred like-minded souls every year or two. If there were new classics to take the place of the old ones then great, but is there anything in recent years that reaches the same heights?
The new singer Jari did a great job. It's no mean feat being able to emulate the various vocal styles of previous MSG vocalists (and indeed Phil Mogg), but I thought he carried it off really well. He had a likeable stage presence which reminded me a little of Gary Barden.
The audience trooped off happily, Michael showed up more-or-less immediately afterwards, bless 'im, to sign whatever was thrust in front of him, and I wandered off outside to brave the Friday evening hoards of pissed-up herberts on my way back to the car.
Concert Report by Neil MSG at Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK May 19, 2006 Added on 05/21/2006
I know many others have reviewed recent gigs but here are my own thoughts on Friday's gig at Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall. I'll do my best to try and not repeat too much of what others have already said.
Tyson Schenker's band 'Faster Inferno' opened things up at around 7.15pm-ish and played a 30-35 minute set of classic rock influenced material. A very enjoyable set with (I thought) a nod towards latter-day Zeppelin and was well received by the decent sized crowd for that early in the evening slot. Next up at around 8.10pm was 'Nikki Puppet' who I believe are Armageddon Music label-mates of MSG. A German 4-piece band featuring female vocalist and bassist. The band were pretty tight and played a 40 minute set of up-tempo riff based Euro-heavy rock. A brief drum solo seemed a little unnecessary but on the whole another pretty enjoyable set enthusiastically delivered. For me it was a refreshing change to have not one but two decent support bands who both benefited from quality sound and played good and varied set lists and set us all up nicely for MSG to follow.
MSG hit the stage at 9.15pm in front of a good sized enthusiastic crowd. I'm not good at guessing numbers but the Wulfrun looked reasonably full without being uncomfortably packed out (900?). The set-list followed the earlier gigs - perhaps the only change from earlier was swapping 'Armed & Ready' and 'Attack of the Mad Axeman' around (?) so the main set closed with 'AOTMA'. The opening three classic tracks got us off to good start which did tend to go a little flat with the back to back trio of 'Dust to Dust', 'Love Trade' and 'Shadow Lady'. Obviously the new tracks were going to be unfamiliar to most but the music from 'TORR' is not the most accessible new MSG material of recent times, especially on the first few listens, so I guess it was to be expected that the reception was a little muted to these three newies. Maybe I would have chosen 'Angel of Avalon', 'Big Deal', 'Life Vacation' or 'Rock 'n' Roll' as new selections to air but that's only my choice. Having said that it was good to hear the band playing new stuff though. Ripping versions of 'Lights Out' and 'Into the Arena' soon got things back on course with Pete and Rev's brief solo spots during 'ITA' being as good as ever. Really great to hear 'But I Want More' as a bit of surprise setlist choice and the closing tracks of 'Too Hot to Handle', 'On and On' (awesome), 'OYCRM', and the aforementioned 'A&R' and 'AOTMA' totally rocked and left us all 'wanting more'. The Schenker Bros 'V' was brought out for the encores and we were treated to cracking versions of 'Arachnophobiac' (Wayne's solo was awesome), 'Doctor Doctor' and 'Rock Bottom'. Perhaps it was me but I thought Michael's guitar sound and work with the 'Brothers' V on these last couple of tracks sounded even better - superb.
At this point I would like to echo many people's feeling that Pete, Rev and Wayne now form one of the best versions of MSG since the Powell/Raymond/Glen days. All three are thoroughly excellent and I hope remain part of MSG for the long term. Sadly, in my opinion, I can't say the same about current vocalist Jari. I don't rate his vocal style on 'TORR' and his stage presence was pretty lacklustre - good job Rev more than made up for that. Vocally I thought Leif was far superior on the last UK dates even though he was thrown in at the last minute. Jari reminds me a little of David Van Landing from a few years back and I don't think its any coincidence that the better tracks on 'TORR' feature the 'past' vocalists. At this stage of Michael's career he really needs to be working with a top vocalist and live frontman. I would personally love to hear and see him with someone of the power, range and quality of the likes of Jeff Scott Soto, Jimi Jamison, DC Cooper, Jorn Lande, Doogie White, Steve Lee etc. singing some of his songs. A reunion for an album/tour with any one of Gary, Graham, Robin, Kelly or Leif would also be highly anticipated. Still that's only my opinion and I guess many will disagree.
Michael's performance was excellent and although he seemed a little muted towards the crowd at times his playing was as good as I can remember for a long time - very much back to his seamless and effortless best. He looks tons better too even his stage garb was pitched much more towards rock god rather than hobo of recent times! Nice to see a good stage backdrop (no more celotaped bits of paper here!) and excellent merchandising although the selection available didn't match the huge array advertised on the flyers - if all that is actually available then a real throwback to the 80's! Very impressive.
Sadly a 4 hour journey home and a 7.30am Saturday morning start meant I couldn't hang around afterwards but all in all an excellent and very enjoyable gig and I left looking forward to WHEN the next time I can see MSG again rather than IF, which has sometimes been the case in the past. On another positive note for me personally, the demographic of the majority of MSG fans these days means I wasn't the fattest or baldest fan there but sadly this fact didn't have much an impression on the wife!!