Michael Schenker Fest @ City National Grove – 03/25/2018
It’s still early in the year but Michael Schenker just put on what may be the BEST live show of 2018 top down!!! Playing for nearly 3 hrs, this accomplished guitarist from UFO, Scorpions and MSG is without a doubt at the top of his game as proven by the Michael Schenker Fest performance at City National Grove in Anaheim on Sunday night March 25. Out in support of his March 2 release Resurrection, Michael Schenker Fest is out on a 20 date North American tour.
Michael Schenker successfully executed the idea of assembling the singers over the history of MSG – Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley along with Doogie White from Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock and creating an album (Ressurection with vocals from all of them) and then taking all those participants out on tour to perform songs from throughout the MSG catalog as well as songs from U.F.O. and Scorpions.
Taking the stage at 9:00pm and playing a marathon set that lasted 2hrs and 45 min which included 25 songs from throughout Schenker’s career. The show had The Mad Axeman shredding non-stop with several differently colored Dean flying V guitars as the vocalists rotated throughout the night and often all four vocalists onstage together. In addition to the posse of vocalists, the band consisted of Steve Mann on keys and guitars, with Chris Glen on bass and Ted McKenna anchoring the band on drums.
Every fan in attendance was blown away by this performance as in addition to the untouchable musicianship across the board and the combined vocal talent, these veteran rockers were having fun. Lots of smiles onstage, band member interaction, all the vocalists seemed to fully enjoy being onstage together . . . it appeared to be an ego-free zone. Surprisingly Schenker was very vocal with the crowd as he spoke in between many songs and introduced the vocalists then thanking them. Schenker seemed to be having the most fun of them all.
The set started with the instrumental “Into the Arena” and then it was hit after hit from there with all MSG material with a few new songs thrown in from Resurrection before ending the night with a string of U.F.O. gems that included “Rock Bottom”, “Doctor, Doctor” and “Lights Out”. “Rock Bottom” included an epic 15 minute guitar solo that Schenker just scorched! The only Scorpions song was the instrumental “Coast to Coast” which Schenker stated he wrote then gave to his brother Rudolf as a gift.
KUDOS to Michael Schenker for coming up with this idea and KUDOS to all the vocalists and bandmates for agreeing to do it as the fans surely walked away from this night extremely satisfied and many were overheard stating how the show exceeded all expectations. It’s GREAT to see musicians with a known chemistry for making music put aside egos and past differences to embrace the awesomeness of what they can create and live in the “now”.
Southern California Progressive Metal powerhouse Novareign opened the show and played a seriously impressive 30 minutes set, although the mostly older Michael Schenker crowd may have not been the best fit for this band – they certainly did a great job onstage. One of the more impressive SoCal metal bands out there.
Michael Schenker Fest Setlist:
Into the Arena | Let Sleeping Dogs Lie | Cry for the Nations | Attack of the Mad Axeman | Messin’ Around | Armed and Ready | Coast to Coast | Desert Song | Dancer | Night Moods | Searching for a Reason | Assault Attack | Captain Nemo | Bad Boys | Save Yourself | Anytime | Heart and Soul | Love Is Not a Game | Searching for Freedom | Live and Let Live | Vigilante Man | Lord of the Lost and Lonely | Take Me to the Church | Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead | Warrior | Rock Bottom | Doctor Doctor | Shoot Shoot | Natural Thing | Lights Out
Novareign Photo Gallery
Michael Schenker Fest Photo Gallery