Michael Schenker Fest
with Doogie White & Graham Bonnet
Melkweg - Amsterdam, The Netherlands November 3, 2018
After Michael Schenker spent a number of years working with Temple of Rock, he came up with a new concept in 2016. With the Michael Schenker Fest, the German guitar hero has brought back three of his original singers from his MSG starting period. Besides the singers (Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley) the rest of the band also consists of a couple of heavyweights from the past, bassist Chris Glen and behind the drum kit we see Ted McKenna. The band is completed by Steve Mann on guitar and keyboards. In the meantime, Doogie White, the singer of Temple of Rock, has also been added. Earlier this year, the new studio album 'Resurrection' appeared on which all four singers can be heard.
Schenker, who once made a name as guitarist for The Scorpions and UFO, went his own way in 1979 with the Michael Schenker Group. Since then, the German guitar hero has worn out quite a few singers. The three first and also most successful ones are now part of his Michael Schenker Fest together with Doogie White.
It is Michael himself who at the start of the concert takes place behind the microphone to emphasize that he is the person who helped the Scorpions with their 'Lovedrive' album forty years ago. With that the doors to America got opened for the German band. Michael wrote the song 'Holiday' and he starts with that tonight. He also tells he never received the credits for the songs. Tonight he himself takes care of the vocals. He immediately receives help of the public.
Schenker then presents his band members and dives into the past again as he will do a number of times on this evening. With 'Doctor Doctor' from his UFO era one by one the three singers who were in the eighties in MSG enter the stage to sing a verse of the song that Michael wrote at the age of 17. First there is Graham Bonnet. Then we see Gary Barden and finally Robin McAuley appear on stage. It is striking how much fun the old-timers have together.
After that there are a couple of songs with each time a different singer. First it is Doogie White's turn. With 'Vigilante Man', 'Lord of the Lost and Lonely', the new 'Take Me to the Church' and 'Before the Devil Knows You're Dead' dedicated to Ronnie James Dio, the public hears work from the last decade . Doogie's latest song is UFO's 'Natural Thing'. The instrumental 'Captain Nemo' is the transition to the next singer. In the instrumental, Chris Glen stands out with his glasses from which green laser beams are launched into the audience.
It is then time for Graham Bonnet. Just like Doogie White, the singer also has a past with Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen. Bonnet, now in his seventies, always ignored the so-called hard rock image. The singer with the James Dean look sings four songs from the strong 'Assault Attack' album plus 'Night Moods' from the recently released 'Resurrection' CD. Bonnet still impresses with his powerful throat on the classics 'Dancer', 'Desert Song' and 'Assault Attack'.
Gary Barden, the original singer of Michael Schenker Group, is next after the instrumental 'Coast to Coast'. The hits 'Attack of the Mad Axeman' and 'Armed and Ready' are also done. Barden is the one who convince the least. The high tones are clearly no longer spent on the first MSG singer. For 'Warrior' of the last CD, all four singers appear again on stage.
After 'Into the Arena' it is the turn to the last singer Robin McAuley. With McAuley, Schenker heralded a less successful period. Apart from 'Bad Boys' and the new 'Heart and Soul', McAuley is limited to the UFO classics 'Shoot Shoot', 'Only You Can Rock Me' and 'Too Hot to Handle'. And he performs them well.
Also the last number of the set is from the UFO period of Schenker. In the beloved 'Rock Bottom', Schenker shows his skills fifteen minutes long on his Flying V. It is feast for guitar lovers. The encore is also a number from Schenker's successful UFO time. With 'Lights Out' Barden, Bonnet, McAuley and White appear on stage again. After no less than two and a half hours this classic hard rock party is really over.
I bet the fans would love it if Ritchie Blackmore would do something similar with the Rainbow vocalists from the past like Graham Bonnet, Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White together with Ronnie Romero. Sadly we would have to miss Ronie James Dio as well as Cozy Powell and Jimmy Bain. Michael Schenker have showed how much the fans enjoy a concert like this.