City National Civic, San Jose
March 24, 2018
All photos by Raymond Ahner.
With a career spanning over four decades, Michael Schenker must have his hands full when trying to decide on a setlist for a live show. But when you bring along four of the vocalists that made some of your songs staples of classic rock and play a nearly three-hour show, it must be just a bit easier to narrow down. It also gives you a chance to showcase your talents and show that you are still one of the top guitarists in hard rock history.
With no opening band to support him, Michael Schenker hit the stage with the instrumental “Into the Arena” and never looked back. He was all smiles from the opening note, and as his fingers moved across the fretboard it was only a very small taste of what was to come.
Focusing on the Gary Barden years of the Michael Schenker group, (with of course Gary Barden on vocals), Michael, Gary, and the band, consisting of Steve Mann on additional guitar, Ted McKenna on drums, and Chris Glen on bass, performed some of the most well-known songs on the first four MSG records, including “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie,” “Cry For the Nations,” “Attack of the Mad Axeman,” and “Messin’Around.” Michael then took a quick minute to address the crowd before the start of the Scorpions classic “Coast to Coast,” stating “I gave this song to my brother Rudolph as a gift.”
It was then ex-MSG vocalist Graham Bonnet’s turn to shine as he and Michael ripped through a few songs off the one album that they were both part of; highlights included both “Assault Attack” and “Searching for a Reason.”
Of course, you couldn’t call this tour the Michael Schenker Fest without playing some of the songs from the McAuley era of MSG, and as Robin McAuley joined the band onstage just before “Bad Boys,” it was clear that he and Michael still gelled together.
After nearly two hours and fifteen songs from his back catalog later, Michael brought out his most current vocalist, Doogie White, to perform some of Schenker’s most current work from the Temple of Rock era.
Saving the very best for last, all the vocalists from the evening joined the band for some U.F.O. classics, including “Rock Bottom,” “Doctor Doctor,” and “Lights Out.” It was the perfect way to end the evening.
Here’s a slideshow with more photos of Michael Schenker’s Schenkerfest by Raymond Ahner:
Setlist: Into the Arena (Michael Schenker Group song) | Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Michael Schenker Group song) | Cry for the Nations (Michael Schenker Group song) | Attack of the Mad Axeman (Michael Schenker Group song) | Messin’ Around (Michael Schenker Fest song) | Armed and Ready (Michael Schenker Group song) | Coast to Coast (Scorpions song) | Desert Song (Michael Schenker Group song) | Dancer (Michael Schenker Group song) | Night Moods (Michael Schenker Fest song) | Searching for a Reason (Michael Schenker Group song) | Assault Attack (Michael Schenker Group song) | Captain Nemo (Michael Schenker Group song) | Bad Boys (McAuley-Schenker Group song) | Save Yourself (McAuley-Schenker Group song) | Anytime (McAuley-Schenker Group song) | Heart and Soul (Michael Schenker Fest song) | Love Is Not a Game (McAuley-Schenker Group song) | Searching for Freedom (Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock cover) | Live and Let Live (Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock cover) | Vigilante Man (Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock cover) | Lord of the Lost and Lonely (Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock cover) | Take Me to the Church (Michael Schenker Fest song) | Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead | Warrior (Michael Schenker Fest song) | Rock Bottom (UFO song) || Doctor Doctor (UFO song) | Shoot Shoot (UFO song) | Natural Thing (UFO song) | Lights Out
For more information about Michael Schenker, check out his website.