Concert Report by Steve Michael Schenker / Temple of Rock Shows in the State of Illinois, U.S.A. April 23, 25 and 26, 2015 Added on 04/30/2015
Hope all is well with you. And cool new Japan tour! I know you will really enjoy that!
I had so much fun and rock with the shows I went to they all seemed to blend together, so I just did an 'overall' review of the three.
Temple Of Rock
Concord Theater, Chicago IL
Arcada Theater, St. Charles IL
Freakster's Roadhouse, Pontiac IL
Yes, "Temple Of Rock". This is no longer the Michael Schenker Group, this is Something New and Different...A melange of rotating musicians and singers has defined MSG for years now. This is something else. Temple Of Rock is coming into its own as a separate entity. And it is one hell of a cool musical platform: Modern 7-String guitars, classic arena rock rythm section, Rainbow/Dio tinged vocals, and Michael's tasty post-bluesrock/pre-neoclassical lead work. Amazing!
Each night had its own unique moments, but they all three had the same vibe: the band's chemistry. These guys are having the best times of their lives on that stage right now, all smiles and winks & nods and just goodtime rockin with friends...for friends.
The Temple Of Rock songs were fairly well-recieved. Before The Devil Knows Your Dead and Lord Of The Lost And Lonely were my favorites of the four. I initially thought that Where The Wild Winds Blow was not the best choice, but after the second show I think I liked it better than Vigilante Man...(not sure what it is about that song that I just don't seem to like it so much).
The Classic line-up Scorpions songs are something to behold with Herman and Francis redefining the sound and feel of these favorites with Doogie's vocals and Michael's playing in mind. More driving in places, more laid back and maybe a little exploratory when needed. It was surreal seeing Michael playing Rock You Like A Hurricane. Wayne ripped that solo and also on Blackout. Hats off to Wayne! ...and also for the extra edge his Trident guitar gives to some of the new songs!
Of course there were the MSG songs. Just a couple. Both of them, as in: Only Two. Armed And Ready and Victim Of Illusion. Excellent choices if we only get two. And They Rocked!
Natural Thing was a little faster, more 'urgent' in a way, and the fast &easy natural groove it had is replaced with a very nice driving syncopation. Let It Roll stood out for me as being a great expression of all these musicians playing a song we all know and love so well.
Many in the crowd commented on Doctor Doctor as the opener. What better song to open with than that? Seriously, when you mention Schenker that song comes to mind immediately. I thought it was perfect.
Doogie's voice got stronger as the nights passed, and at the Arcada he warmed up before soundcheck with a little of "Life On Mars". My favorite Bowie song, thrown out there by Doogie as a warmup, and it was Brilliant!
Michael keeps getting better and better! Happy as can be playing, interacting with the crowds and band, smiling like the cat that caught the mouse!!! So great to see our Hero so happy onstage!
And the Funny Moment of each show as the crowd started thinning with Rock Bottom winding down, but as they realized that it wasn't the PA playing "Holiday" they all stampeded back in! Hah, you almost missed a couple of The Best Rock Songs On Tour right now!!!
I will miss the Michael Schenker Group. But all things pass. AND: I now have Temple Of Rock to enjoy!!!
I would like to give a big heart-felt Thank You to Thomas, Taro, Sean, Jake and especially Roberto for bringing hard it every night to make sure us fans get the best possible show. You Guys Rock!!!