Concert Report by Patrick MSG at Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland, OH, U.S.A. June 26, 2009 Added on 06/29/2009
Hello Ritchie, Greetings from Canada!
I thought you might like to post these photos on your web site.
We made the trip down from Toronto, Canada to Cleveland on Friday. I don't recall ever seeing Schenker play better!
A really great night.
The Maestro is truly back!
Concert Report by Joe MSG at Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland, OH, U.S.A. June 26, 2009 Added on 06/29/2009
Greetings!! Joe here from Orwell, Ohio, a small town about an hour East of Cleveland. I thought you might like a review to post on your site for the Cleveland M.S.G. concert to compliment Patrick's excellent photographs!!!
I had been waiting for this concert for weeks!! M.S.G. has been my favorite metal band since 1991. When I discovered that they would be touring the U.S. and that they would be playing Cleveland, I bought tickets right away. I had read about the problems Schenker had had on recent tours, but I knew that he was still a completely amazing guitar virtuoso. His playing on recent albums was as awesome as ever, so I figured I'd buy a ticket and take the chance, as this could possibly be my only chance to ever see him perform in Cleveland.
The concert was absolutely amazing. The venue, Peabody's, is a pretty well known local rock venue. The tickets were insanely cheap!! The doors opened at 7 P.M., and a couple of fairly good local bands played until 9. At 9, a guy named Doug Doppler, a guitar virtuoso who sounds a lot like Joe Satriani, took the stage. He had a backup band that he cued up on synthesizer, so he just stood up there by himself and shredded his heart out. This guy has lightning fast fingers, plays with a lot of feeling, and knows how to put on a fun show that just puts a big smile on the face of any fan of virtuosic guitar rock. He played for 45 minutes, and his wife was selling a couple of his albums near the entrance to the venue. She was very personable and down to earth, and the albums were selling for a very reasonable price. When I purchased one of his albums, She told me to come back to the sales area after the M.S.G. concert if I wanted Doug to autograph my copy. I did so, and was very impressed by how personable Doug was. For such an amazing guitar virtuoso, a man who plays at the level of Satriani or Vinnie Moore, he was totally down to earth and friendly, just a regular guy. He autographed the CD jewel case front and back as well as the CD, and also autographed a picture of him playing that came free with the CD. When I mentioned that his playing reminded me of Satriani, he said that Joe had been his private instructor, and spoke of "learning from the best". He also mentioned being the opening act for M.S.G., and how exciting it is to open for a legend like Michael Schenker, something he had mentioned while on stage. Hopefully, opening for M.S.G. all over America this summer will gain a following for Doug Doppler, and he will become a known name in instrumental guitar, right up there with the legendary Satch.
With Doug Doppler finishing his awesome performance at around a quarter till ten, the excitement was building with M.S.G. scheduled to hit the stage at ten. The venue chose to play some rather crappy thrash metal on their sound system, with the distorted sludge guitars and cookie monster vocals, between Doug Doppler and M.S.G., which reflected poorly on the venue. This venue normally features this kind of stuff, but should have stuck to the Rush songs they had been playing before Doppler took the stage. The good part was that Schenker came through the backstage door at about 10:20!! I had been fully expecting M.S.G. to hit the stage any time between ten and midnight, so this was pretty cool!! Schenker came in through the backstage door, and snuck up behind the amps. I saw him come in, as did a few of us who had staked out spots near the front of the audience, but the crowd in general did not seem to see him. My wife, who is almost a foot shorter than myself, did not see him come in. As a result, when he came out from behind the amps, Flying V in hand, the crowd exploded into a euphoric "M.S.G.!! M.S.G.!!". I was chanting my ass off, thinking "Wow!! Is this for real?? Michael Schenker is like 20 feet away from me!!! This totally rules!!"
The set list was just as described by other concertgoers on this tour. The band started by lighting into "Ride On My Way", a song from the latest album that I really love. They lit into this number totally together, like someone hitting a light switch. Barden was sounding a little hoarse, but handled this beautifully by pointing the microphone out towards the audience at just the right spot in each song, allowing us to do the singing. My personal favorite to sing along on was Attack of The Mad Axeman, one of my favorite M.S.G. songs. Schenker totally ripped on this number especially, adding every little nuance we die-hard fans are used to from our albums. Quite a few of us were singing along with his solo at the end of this tune, including the "mwah, mwah...mwah, mwah...".
While Attack of The Mad Axeman was my personal favorite moment of this show, there was not a single weak moment all evening. Every song was totally tight and together, and Schenker played every little solo and lick we die-hards love and expect from him in each song. In Rock Bottom, for example, the entire extended instrumental part that one hears on The Unforgiven World Tour live album was totally there, and sounded even stronger than it does on that live album. I think the band may have even extended this part of Rock Bottom a little over what they had played back in 1999, because it sounded even more awesome than it did on that live album!!
Another amazingly cool moment was when, after Rock Bottom, the band acted as if they had finished playing for the night, and headed out the backstage door. I knew that Doctor Doctor was on the setlist and figured that they would come back in and play it as an encore, but it was pretty cool the way they exited for a few moments and let us wonder if the show was over. Everyone was so totally pumped from such an awesome show that most of us were yelling "Encore!!! Encore!!". Someone near me yelled for Doctor Doctor, and I yelled for Captain Nemo, another one of my M.S.G. favorites. After a few moments, the band came back out. The keyboard player came out first, and started doodling on the keyboard with something that sounded like it would materialze into the intro to Doctor Doctor. As he doodled, a priceless moment occurred: Schenker came out and played a note or two on his Flying V that was obviously not what he wanted to start Doctor Doctor. Schenker proceeded to tune his guitar just so, taking his time, until he was set to play with that absolute Schenker perfection. With his mighty axe tuned just so, Schenker began to play one of the finest introductions to Doctor Doctor I have ever heard, playing with that blend of expression, lightning technique, and meticulous, just-so perfection that makes Schenker one of a kind!! "I hope I can see this man play again some day", I thought, and prayed that he will have many more good years of living and playing. There are a number of virtuosic guitar greats out there, but there is only one Micheal Schenker. He plays with a meticulous perfection that few seen to muster, and his sound is unmistakable!!
If there was anything about this show that I would change, it would have been for M.S.G. to have played longer. They played for almost two hours, yet this time went by as if it were just a few minutes. There are just so many great M.S.G. songs that I could have listened all night. Since they were only doing Barden songs, I wish they had gone ahead and done a couple more instrumentals in addition to the set list they performed. My additions would have been Captain Nemo and Essenz.
Hope you will find my review enjoyable. As you can tell, I love M.S.G. Schenker rules!!!