Concert Report by The Wild Card MSG at Camden Underworld, London, U.K. September 16, 2009 Added on 09/18/2009
As a fan of the Mad AXEMAN for years now and as guitar player myself, the chance to catch The Blonde Bomber in action at the intimate venue of the CAMDEN UNDERWORLD in London; was a chance I couldn't give up. The 500 capacity venue was completely sold out and many a disappointed fans were outside chatting with the touts trying to score a ticket to see the German axe-man's brilliance.
My position in relation to the stage was perfect. Only a couple of other fans were in the way of the stage. Two support bands were on prior to MSG, 'The Morning After' and 'Kings of Modesty', both delivered good sets to warm up the crowd. Check 'em out.
MSG hit the stage slightly later than the scheduled 9 pm, due to some slight technical difficulties, but during their performance there were no real issues to be heard or seen.
Their set much like before, was unchanged but strong. When MSG came on fans screamed out for 'SCHENKER!' and the axe-man delivered. The band was tight and on form playing for approximately 1hr 30mins. Performing two encores and ending with the loud and crowd chanted DOCTOR DOCTOR. Highlights of the gig came in the form of 'LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE', 'READY TO ROCK', 'INTO THE ARENA', 'ON AND ON' and the two UFO Classics; 'ROCK BOTTOM' and 'DOCTOR DOCTOR'.
Having been fortunate to have seen Michael Schenker play a few songs with the SCORPIONS in London last year, I knew that Mr. Schenker was in good form and the past few years have been some of his best. His playing is in top form, his attitude on stage is great and he's basically kicking some serious arse. As a musician and fan of UFO, MSG, SCORPIONS and the Schenker brothers; finally watching MSG has been one of the most memorable moments of my life. Here's to many more years of success to MSG.
Given the chance don't miss it!
RIDE ON MY WAY
CRY FOR THE NATIONS
LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE
ARMED & READY
READY TO ROCK
I WANT YOU
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
INTO THE ARENA
ROCK MY NIGHTS AWAY
ATTACK OF THE MAD AXE MAN
The Wild Card
Concert Report by Rob Knowles MSG at Camden Underworld, London, U.K. September 16, 2009 Added on 09/19/2009
Concert Report by Andy MSG at Camden Underworld, London, U.K. September 16, 2009 Added on 09/19/2009
Here are my thoughts on the gig, in addition to the review already posted.
Yes it was a special gig.
Michael looked the happiest that I have ever seen him (and that's a few times since the first MSG gig at Bristol Colston Hall in 1980). He was making eye contact with the band and interacting with the audience from the very start, and his playing was phenomenal throughout. Another sign of his renewed confidence was the degree to which he improvised in some songs. For example, during the "Into the arena" bass-solo, he decided to do a bit of fret-based sparring with Chris Glen, peeling off some monstrous riffs, trills, arpeggios, legato runs. The guitar playing wasn't bad, either.
It was a shame that for the first 3-4 songs, the guitar wasn't quite prominent enough in the mix, so the impact of the biting solo in Cry for the Nations was slightly lost. Thankfully, the guy at the desk got his knobs in order and the solos and sheer virtuosity of the misunderstood-not-really-mad axeman cut-through for the rest of the set.
The venue was bijou, to be sure. Although, given the mass of bodies in such a small venue, it was not what I would call a pleasure or even a pleasurette from a comfort point of view. Luckily I know the Underworld well, so was able to get a great spot about 8 bodies back from stage right (in the midst of the MS zone) before it got too packed.
It was really great seeing Chris Glen with the band. Rev's an excellent player and performer but for me it was Chris that was the driving force for this performance. I don't whether it was the fact that Chris Slade had borrowed his drum stool for the previous tour, but Pete Holmes played like he was out to make a point. Real powerhouse performance in the tradition of all the great MSG drummers (Phillips, Powell, McKenna). Wayne was relatively subdued, perhaps due to the volume and aggression of the notes coming from the bass amp behind him.
Then there was Gary. Speaking to many after the show, there was general agreement that he's a great front-man and genuine good guy who co-wrote most of the classic songs and deserves to be part of this latest chapter of MSG. However, to be kind, his voice is not improving with age and most commented that he struggled to hit many of the notes on the earlier material. How was he to know that he'd be expected to sing melodies he wrote in 1980, 29 years later ? He gave it his best shot and was clearly more comfortably singing the 4 newer songs in the set-list that he wrote with his current vocal range in mind. Like all good front-men he got the audience to help out with those pesky high notes. After all, when I go to a live show I go to be involved, moved and entertained (the odd beer and good company also helps), not to hear a flawless copy of the CD. Bottom-line is that Michael seems happiest when he's on-stage with Gary, so whatever the state of his voice, if that what Michael needs to perform to his full potential, he's the man.
I feel very fortunate that I got a ticket; many didn't or had to pay tout prices (although it was worth it). Quite a few of my mates were planning to go, but didn't anticipate that it would sell-out. With Michael proving that he is in a good place and performing consistently well at his last 3 appearances in London (MS & Friends at Sutton in Jan-08; MS with Scorpions at Hammersmith in Oct-08 and Camden in Sep-09), I'm really hoping that local promoters show him the faith he deserves and book his next show in a "less selective" and more expansive venue (Islington Academy perhaps).
Before I forget, I really liked the 2nd support band "Kings of Modesty" a proggish finnish power metal band. Hate the name, but the band, the songs and performance were excellent. Debut album coming out soon. Check em out.
Concert Report by Andy MSG at Camden Underworld, London, U.K. September 16, 2009 Added on 09/29/2009
hi ritchie msg camden 16th sept 09.i arrived late afternoon and met nicholas michaels tour manager inside the front room sized venue..everything was cramped in and this venue was obviousley too small for the band.I saw chris Glenn with his grandson and what a great guy chris is.i then saw wayne and then michael arrived.i then listened to the soundcheck,i had waited a long time for this gig.Barbara schenker then arrived and i was introduced to her by my good mate Alan and then michaels old tech Leon who couldnt gain entry to the show..After 2 support acts msg hit the stage everybody was crammed in and boy was it hot.The band were great a pity about the pa system,we struggled to hear Gary in the mix which was such a shame as michael was on fire yet again.This sound system did them no favours because they played their hearts out in the capital tonight.they seemed to enjoy it.despite the struggle to hear.After the show we stayed in london waiting for wales the next day hoping for a better out front sound...Wales 17th september 09...aftrer an early start and a 160 miles drive we arrived in Pontypridd and yet again we saw Nicholas first walking down the street he waved and said the venues there see you in a while...we walked in and met the promoter who was a jolly type of bloke and washappy to book the mighty MSG,this was my 59th Schenker gig and yet again i couldnt wait as this venue was the business despite being 4-500 capacity.you could tell this was going to be one hell of a night.we went round to see the lads who were on the coach at the back as usual chris was in great spirts and gary was chilled out.its so good to see gary and chris doing what they do best for all msg fans.wayne and pete were also in good heart for the gig ahead.i sat with gary and nick on the bus and had a great afternoon i was lucky enough to be living my dream yet again .chris was with elaine his partner whos a really nice lady and they were having a laugh as normal and everybody was looking a head to the gig.michael was going to be late as he had a puncture in london....when the sound check time arrived michael came in and plugged in and wow what a sound gary was spot on no sign of the sound like camden everything was clear and after a us tour this was the last night and hell were we in for a treat....they were superb...tonights support were skin i played support to them in my band years ago and introduced myself to neville the singer who remembered the gig.....after skin the intro tape played msg were ready Alan and myself were at the front and hell what a start the sound was A1 Gary looked and sounded awsome every note michael and chris played was electric the band were so tight wayne,pete and chris played their hearts out gary was totally outstanding lost horizons well what can i say the best ever michael is a genius but then i said that in 1977 this guy looks well,focused relaxed and is playing honestly the best ive ever heard him im blown away yet again.All the classics mad axe man again superb,rock my nights away,on and on,cry for the nations delivered like an inferno no stopping the lads the venue the crowd the sound were all out of this world.michael i would say is the most focused he has ever been and really he has a good time on stage not uptight just leans back whilst his guitar gently weeps....wayne and chris smiling all the time.pete more solid than a barrett house this guy can drum.Alan had a tear in his eye in rock bottom saying he had never heard michael play it like that and he should know the amount of times he has seen michael.the crowd went wild all night gipsey lady was well received as well.this band can do no wrong they are fantastic..after the show we spent time with the lads and after michael had done some interviews it was time for good byes...he signed some autographes and then he left what an honour tonight was for me wayne gave me a hug and gary said germany next week with the man and mr voss another peice in the msg jigsaw of success....see you in december and thank you to nicholas,gary.wayne.chris and petefor making me very welcome and to Alan Walsh my great mate who along with the lads has made my dreams come true on more than one ocassion.Gary you are a real gent..