Concert Report by Johnny MSG at Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA, U.S.A. March 24, 2012 Added on 03/26/2012
Johnny Joseph (chitownbluesy on YouTube) out here in Solana Beach, CALIFORNIA, USA.
Michael and Band played the last show of the North American Tour last night about 40 minutes North of where I live. When I saw him Feb 26th here in San Diego, it was about 15 minutes away. Elliot "Dean" Rubison was with him then, but left sometime recently, and Rev was back with his Buddy Pete Holmes forming the rhythm section. I thought maybe they would change the opening with Rev back because of what he and Pete do on Into The Arena, but they left EVERYTHING in the same order. So no crazy solo break because it's the opening song. I encourage anyone to just type it into YouTube: Into The Arena with Rev Jones.
They have a cut that has him and Pete GOING OFF! Either way, last nights show was one of the BEST MSG SHOWS I HAVE EVER SEEN! Absolute brilliance is a HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT!From William Shatner's opening introduction from Temple Of Rock and then straight into "Into The Arena", the set list didn't change at all. After the two Scorpions songs, Lovedrive and Another Piece of Meat they do the one and only song from Temple Of Rock which Robin sings on the album, Lovers Sinfony and then another McCauley Schenker great Save Yourself which I was recording when I was tapped on the shoulder from a person behind me who had been tapped from the person behind him to a guy who was about 5 people away from me who instructed me "NO VIDEOS" "You can take pictures only". So I put my IPhone away. I think I might have taken on more picture because I wanted to show people Michael's New Skate Shoes which I bet he bought that day in L.A. White with Blue Laces and across a huge plastic tongue in Bright letters: OSIRIS. I've never seen them before, but I'm a shoe junkie so I'll look them up! They looked so cool with skinny jeans tucked into them and a black bikers vest with no shirt underneath. The whole band looked like SUCH ROCK STARS, I mean, really digging their groove! Robin is such a massive improvement over Gary, who gave all he had, he just no longer had anything to give. His voice was SHOT! I personally felt bad for the guy. Not with Robin. He sings the Scorpions songs as good, if not better, than Klaus at this point.
Back to the show. It was at this point that they played a couple more MSG songs before going into the CLASSIC UFO catalog: Let It Roll, Shoot Shoot, Lights Out, Love To Love, Natural Thing, Rock Bottom, and of course Doctor Doctor. Michael played like a man POSSESSED! He barely gave Robin a chance to talk, (only when he was switching guitars, or tuning up) and then he was back, TEARING THROUGH THE SET. Song after song after song, NONSTOP. And his solo's were AMAZING, ON FIRE, FLYING, SOARING SEARING through the Orange County night! He really wanted to leave a mark on these people and this place, and BOY, DID HE EVER! It was as though he was worried that he was going to be stopped and he had somewhere to go. In all the times I've seen Michael, almost 60 now, I've NEVER, EVER SEEN HIM TEAR THROUGH AT SUCH A BLISTERING PACE, AND THE SOLO'S WERE SO, SO, SO PERFECT AND PRECISE! NOT A MISSED NOTE ANYWHERE, NOT ONE!
The Man is in his own Solar System, forget Galaxy. He is so far above almost EVERY OTHER GUY WHO'S EVER STRAPPED ON A GUITAR IT'S RIDICULOUS. I love Uli Jon, Slash, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray, Bonamassa, George Lynch, D.J. Ashba, Ronnie Montrose (RIP Brother) Leslie West, Johnny Winter, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks and I could go on and on. But what hit me the first time I ever heard Michael Schenker play a note on Phenomenon, was his playing touched MY SOUL! Some of those others have done it. Stevie Ray really got me too, and I love Bonamassa and Slash now that he's clean. His playing, like Michael's, got BETTER as he got older. That is almost UNHEARD OF! A young guy can just go and go and go, but ALL of those years of Michael playing ALL DAY, ALL NIGHT, EVERY DAY, CONSTANTLY STRIVING FOR UNHEARD OF BEFORE BRILLIANCE SHOWED ITSELF LAST NIGHT. It was Lightning In A Bottle. A once in a lifetime thing. He was playing like he had been touched by GOD!
I don't know how else to say how magical he was, but where ever you are, if Michael is coming, if you're a fan, DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW. I know how much he is Loved in Japan. The People of Japan have adopted him as one of their own, and I know he loves ALL OF THEM VERY, VERY MUCH. Consider yourselves lucky. He LOVED ORANGE COUNTY last night. He left it all on the walls of that place. You could probably go in there tonight and still feel him, he was that POWERFUL!
I parked out back, by his bus, with some McCauley Schenker Vinyl and my Ovation Acoustic. I have #21 of the first 100 when he signed with Dean in 2005. It's one of my most prized possessions. He signed The Ovation for me with a Gold Paint Pen (which is what the Dean is signed in also)and when he started writing his name he says, in that German accent: "Ooh, Juicy Gold"! He was in such high spirits, really playing and toying with the crowd.
That's it Ritchie. Last report from Cali Johnny because I'm moving to Austin Texas where my friend Steve lives. I turned him on to Michael in 1979 or 1980. We knew each other, really liked each other and where going to form a band together. Steve could pass for Michael's TWIN BROTHER, I SWEAR TO GOD! He didn't know his music yet though, and he was hitch hiking and I picked him up. I had a Rockin' stereo in my 1970 Olds Cutlass and I had the Cassette of his first solo record in. I said "Ya wanna hear THE GREATEST GUITAR PLAYER EVER?" He LOVED Jimmy Page, still does. But he say's "Yeah, who is it?" I cranked up Lost Horizons for him and didn't talk, just had it blaring as I was driving him home. When it ended, his jaw was on the floor of the car! He was like "Dude, Who in THE FUCK WAS THAT?" And I said, "That's Michael Schenker" He will back the story. I turned him on to Maiden, Yngwie, LeMans (they were from our town, Derek Frigo WAILED, again RIP Brother.
Next time you hear from me it will be:
21 years in Cali was long enough!
Peace, Love, and Blessings to All!
The Lovedrive YouTube is included below and I just sent the three pictures from my phone so you should get them before you open this.