Concert Report by Paul MSG at The Muni Arts Centre. Pontypridd, Wales, U.K. September 17, 2009 Added on 09/19/2009
Just to give you an update fron the second UK date on the tour, The Muni Arts Centre. Pontypridd, Wales 17th September 2009.
After a 2 hour drive from England, I was really looking forward to seeing a Gary Barden fronted MSG at last and I wasn't disappoined.
There were two support bands, a local young group (I think called Local Hero - but I may have misheard). Nice to see local talent given a chance.
Next was an acoustic SKIN. Nice to see the boys back, a very well received set and it looks good fo the future for them.
Now at last MSG. A 11/2 hour set commenced at 9-15pm and boy we were in for a treat.
Michael was in great form. After witnessing the low points several times in 2007, this is a man back at the top of his form and this consolidates the bridge building he had done on the Michael Schenker and friends tour in the UK in 2008.
Although the Muni Arts Centre only holds 400 (the show was sold out), the atmosphere and singing along to the classics made it a special evening.
It's great to see Gary and Chris back and the band looked like they were enjoying themselves.
Dr Dr and Rock Bottom were absolutely electric encores and it was nice to hear an electric Gipsy lady. It worked well.
Well that's about it Ritchie, thanks for doing such a great job in updating us on our favourite music.
Concert Report by Kev MSG at The Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, U.K. September 17, 2009 Added on 09/19/2009
I just wanted to report to everyone about my experience BEFORE MSG's brilliant final gig of the latest leg of their European tour in Pontypridd on Thursday night.
Having travelled for over three hours to get to the venue I got completely lost in the small South Wales town. I stopped my car to ask the first person I saw for directions only to discover he was not from the area but did know where the Muni Arts Centre was located.
Having thanked him for his help I asked him if he was a fan of rock music because the world's greatest guitar player and his awesome band were playing there later that night. He replied that he was a rock fan and that he was actually a member of the Michael Schenker Group!! Turns out I was talking to the one and only Wayne Findlay! I have never felt so stupid and embarrassed in my life but explained that I had not recognised him because his hair was hidden by a hat. He found this very amusing and after a bit more chat with Wayne, I made my way to the venue only to told on the door that the show was a sell out and that I had no chance of getting in.
I had the choice of driving the 200 miles home straight away or listening to the gig from outside the venue. Just at that moment Wayne arrived back at the venue and I explained to him my disappointment at missing the show. He seemed impressed by how far I had travelled and then unclipped a guest pass from around his neck, handed it to me and told me to enjoy the gig and that if I had any trouble getting in, I was to tell the bouncer to go and see Wayne Findlay.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Wayne publicly for his kindness and generosity. As well as being the world's greatest rock guitarist/keyboard player (just listen to his playing on Tales of Rock 'n' Roll for confirmation), he is now officially the nicest guy in the World!!
Concert Report by Rob Knowles MSG at at The Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, U.K. September 17, 2009 Added on 09/19/2009
I was fortunate enough to be on the front row at Michael Schenker's final two concerts of his 2009 tour in Europe - London Underworld (England) and Pontyrpidd Muni Arts Centre (Wales).
The set list at both gigs was as follows (I may have the song-order slightly wrong):
Ride on my Way
Cry for the Nations
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Armed and Ready
Ready to Rock
I Want You
Night to Remember
Into the Arena
Rock My Nights Away
On and On
Attack of the Mad Axeman
The band played exceptionally well at both venues, and attacked the set-list in a very energized way, performing very tightly, almost note-perfect. Michael was on impressive form for both gigs - especially so in London, where he seemed at his happiest. In Pontypridd, Michael only arrived at the venue just after we did, having driven himself down the motorway from London. Chris Glen informed me that Michael may have had a puncture en route, explaining the delay. Thus, Michael looked quite tired when he started the concert at Pontypridd, since he'd hardly had any time to rest. However, he soon got into the groove and put in some very impressive fretwork indeed.
The sound quality was especially good at the London gig, where everything was crystal clear from where I was standing. In Pontypridd, the concert hall itself was an old converted church and the acoustics produced an echo that muddied the sound a bit such that Michael kept having to re-position himself on stage so as to hear what he was playing. However, this did not seem to affect the quality of the concert, which went very well in the end.
Both venues were completely sold out, there being about 500 people at the Underworld, but about 1000 people at the Muni Arts Centre. Michael should know that I spoke to the owner of the Muni Arts Centre who said that he'd had over 400 extra enquiries for tickets on the day of the gig. In other words, Michael could have filled at least 1,500 - 2,000 seats in the South Wales context. Indeed, at the end of the Welsh show, when Michael saw 1,000 people shouting 'Schenker, Schenker...' in a small Welsh Valley's town, he looked visibly surprised - as though he hadn't expected such great support. It was almost like a flash-back to the early 1980s.
The support bands were The Morning After and Kings of Modesty in London, and Local Hero and Skins in Pontypridd. All four support acts were impressive in their own ways. I was fortunate enough to be mere inches away from Kings of Modesty's Samuel Hjelt (guitar) in London, and was very impressed indeed by some of his incendiary fretwork. And yet Michael Schenker's presence was so powerful at the Underworld - and his guitar sound and style so distinctive and classy - that for me it was like witnessing something super-human and iconic. Michael is just one of those people who are born great - they seem to have something about them that transcends the normal.
Keep up the great site Ritchie!
Concert Report by Sam MSG at The Muni Arts Centre. Pontypridd, Wales, U.K. September 17, 2009 Added on 09/22/2009
Hi Ritchie, a review of the last night of the tour. The gig was held at the Muni Arts centre, Pontypridd, Wales.
What can I say? The Blond Bomber is back. Hats off to Schenker, who has remained sober, focused and in all respects professional since late 2007. The gig felt special even before it started, and it was.
The anticipation grew after the two short support sets, the venue itself was packed - the show was sold out. As way of introduction, a Schenker/Barden acoustic song (Starting Over) was played on the speaker system, from the Gypsy Lady album.
The Mad Axeman hit the stage, warmly welcomed by the expectant crowd. The set was identical to London show on the previous day. (I spoke to some people who had attended that show as well.) From the opening notes of 'Ride on my Way' it was clear that Schenker was 'in the zone'. His focus and dedication to his art was noticeable throughout the show: he wanted to deliver and he succeeded.
Michael did appear to enjoy the show, and the rest of the band too seemed aware of the special gig they were engaged in. There was an unusual amount of crowd interaction this time, unlike the previous 3 times I have seen Schenker. Fans were singing their hearts out to all the classics, and Gary Barden seemed at one with the audience. Barden was clearly enjoying himself, offering the mike over to the crowd on many occasions.
The band played a solid hour and a half. There was no faffing about between songs, Schenker pelting through the set, a man on fire. Chris Glen, Pete Holmes and Wayne Findlay all clearly loved the show, knowing the band was on top form. I spoke to Chris Glen prior to the performance and he commented on how 'full on' the material was for his playing, but also how greatly he was enjoying himself.
I was fortunate enough to meet Wayne, Pete and Chris after the show. (What a great bunch of guys!) All were happy and Wayne commented on how, out of the recent strand of European dates, this Welsh show was probably the best. It had an electric atmosphere, it is (after all) a joy in watching a man and his band, at the top of their game. Schenker's playing literally had me smiling all through the show. I briefly met the man himself at around midnight, as he was leaving the area.
The best I have seen Schenker: an all time classic show and a top ten gig for me, ever!
The band are likely to be taking a well earned break now. Hopefully a new tour and album next year?? !
All the best,
Concert Report by Andy MSG at The Muni Arts Centre. Pontypridd, Wales, U.K. September 17, 2009 Added on 09/29/2009