Concert Report by Mark Schenker/Barden Acoustic Project at Hard Rock Cafe in Cologne, Germany October 12, 2009 Added on 10/22/2009
I had the date circled in my calendar for months...finally I was going to see my favorite guitar hero with the best singer he ever recorded with...after close to 30 years it was SCHENKER / BARDEN, right here in my adopted home town of Cologne! I've seen Michael with numerous bands and lineups over the years, including UFO and the Scorpions, but until now never with Barden, the legendary voice of MSG's best (in my opinion) material.
I had been spinning the excellent acoustic CD "Gipsy Lady" for months and was looking forward to hearing it finally live. Just a few weeks before I had seen Michael joining the Scorpions on stage for 4 songs at a concert in Essen, as had Uli Roth, who I also saw headline a Hendrix tribute back in September. You could say I was having a German guitar player marathon and this was going to be the crowning moment!
Despite the oddly placed timing (Monday night?) there were around 120 people crammed into the Hard Rock for the gig, which was also a benefit for breast cancer, making the Euro 30 price well worth our cash.
The Hard Rock in Cologne is somewhat of a mini Schenker tribute, as one of Michael's signature Flying Vs is proudly hanging right at the opening door, and a corner of the restaurant has a number of Scorpions Platinum records as well as another guitar from Rudolph, his brother. As Michael had performed a solo concert here a few months back this seems to have become a bit of a home for him...let's hope he keeps it up!
Anway, after a bit Gary climbed onto the stage, attired in a sparkly baseball cap and a black T shirt, followed by a drummer, a percussionist, a stand up bass player, 3 backing singers and finally Herr Schenker himself to a nice welcome. 8 people on the small stage looked a bit tight but the band looked loose and kicked off right away, running through the entire Gipsy Lady record note for note (they did skip the instrumentals). It was easy to get close to the stage and I couldn't believe my ears and eyes...the sound was great, Gary and Michael in super form and clearly enjoying playing together and with a super backing band.
If the normal set was good, the second was great...exactly what an old time MSG fan was dreaming of..."Are You Ready To Rock", "Victim of Illusion" and one of my favorites of all time "Cry For the Nations" in a brilliant loud acoustic version. By this time the whole band was on their feet, the crowd singing and dancing...this acoustic show was rocking! More amazing songs from the MSG canon... "Armed and Ready", followed by "Looking Out From Nowhere", "Rock My Nights Away" and finally "Doctor Doctor" show over, band bowing, cel phone cameras held high and Thank You very much with smiles all around.
Clearly this crowd hadn't had enough and we were rewarded with another rocking encore of "Lady Gipsy".
For me this was kind of a dream come true as I always wanted to see Gary perform with Michael and was thrilled when the reunion was announced and the last electric record came out. Next time I hope to see the best MSG frontman and Michael together in an electric setting, the show will have to be pretty damn good to top this one though!