Concert Report by Johnny J. MSG at Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, CA, U.S.A. July 16, 2010 Added on 07/18/2010
Had to drop you a line and let you know how Michael and band are doing since getting back into the USA. Last night's show their second since starting the US Tour. I live in San Diego, so the Galaxy shows I try and always make, it's about 70 miles away. Tomorrow night's show at Brick By Brick is one I never miss, since it's about 8 miles away.
I have to first give props to Gilbey Clarke for getting everyone fired up for Michael. What Gilbey lacks in skills, he makes up for in heart, and he just loves playing Rock 'N Roll! You gotta love that. He jammed 30 Days In The Hole, It's Only Rock 'N Roll, Kick Out The Jams, (haven't heard that one in awhile!) and a bunch of his own stuff with Cure Me Or Kill Me being my personal favorite. He really is a fan as well, telling everyone that one of his 1st albums was Phenomenon. So he got us ready for The Mad Axeman. Great job Gilbey.
Michael and Band hit the stage at 11:30 on the dot. Michale played a few runs making sure The V was to his liking and he knew he was ready to burn. They launched into Armed And Ready and did not disappoint. Carmine Appice playing with Michael was a first for me, and he wails. He beats the living crap out of the skins, but I think he just learned the songs, cuz he got lost for a moment and set Gary off on the wrong time, which brought a wry smile/smirk from Michael. Kinda like, "You know where we are right?" They plowed through and went right into a blistering Cry For The Nations. A great song, and they played it to perfection. Michael's lead break was a killer! They then played another great oldie, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, which again, was done perfectly. I've always said that when Michael is clean, no one can touch him, and the cat is getting better! And he's 55 Freakin' Years Old!!! It blows my mind when I hear him do his solos note perfect. I saw Led Zeppelin in 1977 in Chicago and Jimmy Page was so sloppy and all over the place and he had been one of my favorites, (still is, in spite of it) but Michael plays so amazingly clean and pure, it's just magical. Next up was Are You Ready To Rock, great again, and then I Want You and Night To Remember from the In The Midst Of Beauty cd. Michael and Gary are a great team, even though Gary can't quite hit ALL of the notes from the early 80's, he's learned a great way to steer around it, by letting the fans take part and he more than holds his own. He's a great yin to Michael's yang. They gave Carmine a short drum solo only 30 minutes into the set and it was cool. I guess because of who he is, they just let him "do his thing", but when they came back out they really got hard and heavy. Into The Arena was first up and it was awesome. They went right into Lost Horizons (always one of my favorites) and it was incredible! Michael's solo is always fresh and different and this was no exception. They then played one of my other faves, Rock My Nights Away. For years this song was gone from the set list, and Michael brought it back when Gary came back and it's just got such a killer energy and vibe, I lost my mind. It happens at every Michael show. I'm totally into it, and all of a sudden, my brain shuts off, and I'm runnin' on pure emotion, completely caught up in what this guys guitar does to me. I'll be 50 in December, and I've seen Michael about 50 times now since my first show in 1976 opening for Foghat in Chicago. I was back stage when Strangers In The Night was recorded on Friday the 13th, 1978, and I've seen every single US tour since, both UFO and MSG. But every single time, there comes a point in the show where that chord that he strikes resonates in my soul, and I'm no longer here. I'm some place else, a magical place where the music has taken me, and NOTHING ELSE MATTERS! What a great place that is. Thanks Michael! I think that's why you have this site Ritchie. You afflicted with the same thing. As is everyone who's a fan of Michael. This guy is simply magical. A cat next to me, Bob, the drummer from Ruthless, he told me when it had just about ended had lost HIS mind as well, and commented to me: He's the greatest, screw everyone else, and we high fived and I just said he's my favorite. Has been for almost 40 years. There's other guys that can play faster, or do more, but like a friend of mine once said: It's just masturbation! Playing the most notes does not matter, it's what goes into EVERY SINGLE NOTE, that does! That's the secret of Michael Schenker. EVERY NOTE COUNTS! Sorry, I got off track! lol On And ON was next, and it also killed, and then came Lights Out! SICK is all I can say. Ride On My Way was next, another "new" classic followed by a an ABSOLUTELY BLISTERING Rock Bottom. What a classic this is, and Michael has again, always played around with his lead breaks over the years, and this one was another classic. They finished off the night with Doctor Doctor. It always makes me smile that these two songs from the 1st UFO album, when this guy could barely communicate with his bandmates, only through his guitar playing, are still every show staples of his set list. They are timeless classics. The band played for one hour and forty minutes, in a hot, sweaty pit of people, and we were all soaked. If they're recording any of these shows, I would not be one bit surprised if some songs from last night, make a "live" recording in the future. They were killer, and the crowd was too.
Thanks as always for your great site Ritchie. All of us appreciate it. I'll let you know how tomorrow night is also.