Concert Report by R.B. Araki MSG at Nakano Sunplaza, Tokyo, Japan February 25, 2007 Added on 03/07/2007
MSG came back to the same venue in Tokyo about three months after they cancelled the show halfway at the point when they finished playing only first three songs. To be honest, I did not have much hope for this rescheduled show, considering how their last Asian tour last November ended up and given the fact that Rev and Pete who had long supported MSG's rhythm section quit the band. But, it was a happy miscalculation. The show went really great!!
Michael Schenker played much better than he did in last November. He seemed very focused almost all the time and played many killer solos especially of high-speed passages. However, apparently he was not satisfied with the sound settings. He frequently checked the amplifier controls and said something to the guitar technician. Every time he turned around and stepped toward the amp, I felt a little scared. But, he never lost concentration and was in a very good mood during the show. He did a lot of chorus on many songs such as Only You Can Rock Me, Lights Out, Armed & Ready, Too Hot To Handle, etc. Michael played a new Michael Schenker Flame model guitar on three songs for the encore.
Wayne did a perfect job as always as an indispensable member of MSG. When Wayne started playing the backing for the guitar solo section of Attack of the Mad Axeman over Michael's feedback long tone, it raised the hair on the back of my neck. Jari also did a great job as a front man. He never stopped moving and constantly interacted with the audience. He sounded more accustomed to each song than in November.
And, Bodo and Franky have familialized themselves almost completely with all the songs in spite of the fact that they joined the tour in such short notice. During the drum solo in the middle of Into The Arena, Bodo came down to the floor while rolling with his drum sticks and he was touched by the audience on the front row. Frankie as well did a bass solo in the middle of Into The Arena which involved lots of interaction with the audience. Both players entertained the audience.
I heard Michael, Bodo and Franky rehearsed just once in Germany before they came to Japan and the full members also did a rehearsal for seven hours on the previous day of the show. Wayne and Jari had known Bodo and Frankie only for less than a week. Amazing!! They are really professional.
The setlist was same as that of the previous tour. But, they changed the arrangement slightly. For example, Michael added an outro solo to Armed & Ready. It's a kind of recent trend of MSG shows where Michael plays additional solos on such songs as Arachnophobiac, Only You Can Rock Me, Into The Arena, etc. I think this approach reflects how Michael trusts Wayne's backings. Unfortunately this new attempt on Armed & Ready didn't work well as Jari seemed to get lost and they could not end the song properly. Despite this happening, Michael maintained his composure and tickled Jari's stomach, and then moved on to the next song without losing concentration.
After the show, Michael signed his autograph for about 500-600 fans who bought the merchandizes while I was chatting with other members at the backstage. My friends told me Michael was in a good mood during the session.
In conclusion, this show definitely gave the fans a hope for the future of the band.
Michael Schenker Group
Michael Schenker (guitar)
Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards)
Jari Tiura (vocals)
Bodo Schopf (drums)
Frank Rummler (bass)