Concert Review by Glyn
Michael Schenker & Friends at Riga, Southend, UK
January 16, 2008
Added on 01/17/2008

I travelled to see Michael and friends at the Riga in Southend last night and saw a very good gig, with Michael back on top form. The band is solid but not spectacular, apart from seeming to have Hagrid from the Harry Potter films on keys and rhythm :-). This meant that all eyes were on Michael as the band charged through the setlist. Michael did not disappoint - very focussed, clear-headed, interacting with the crowd and the band, adding lots of lead fills to the end of vocal lines. Leif's voice doesn't have the range necessary for the early MSG songs, so it was a shame that the only 'Leif' song they did was Angel of Avalon, one of the more melodic songs on TORR, ignoring the WITS album. It's great to have the real Michael back - he even looks like a rockstar now, having ditched the Unabomber look that he's favoured for the last couple of years. Fingers crossed for the new record.

Concert Report & Photos by Wilson
Michael Schenker & Friends at Riga, Southend, UK
January 16, 2008
Added on 01/18/2008

It was good to see Michael back wielding a black & white Flying V, back bent and lower horn clutched between the knees, standing by a Marshall stack.

The Riga Music Bar is a small rock club near Southend, on the east coast of England, it was a good turn out with about 120 people. The atmosphere was good, even though the crowd was fairly subdued throughout. As usual, it was the UFO numbers that raised the cheers. The set consists of songs from the first three MSG albums and the UFO classics, the only exception being Angel Of Avalon from the latest Tales of Rock N Roll.

As it has already been commented by the others, the band is solid if not spectacular. Leif has a very difficult job, with the set list, he has to cover vocal styles of some of most distinctive British rock singers from the last 30 years. It didn't help that the set started with a Graham Bonnet number, but overall Leif did a good job.

All of this means it was all eyes on Michael as usual, but even more so given last summer's events. Michael played very well, mostly it was the note perfect renditions you should expect from a Schenker live performance. There were more frills and improvised outtros throughout the set, as a result some of the phrasing was a little loose.

Michael definitely worked hard throughout the show, seemed cheerful and relaxed. Of course it was impossible to know about his well being, but I think as music fans we can be thankful that he is back up and running, and seems very keen to get back to work. With the preview of the new songs with Gary Barden, and after his guest appearance at the London show in 2006, fans of classic MSG will realise what a strong combination Schenker & Barden makes, and must be looking forward to the new album and live shows.

Go and see the shows, you won't see a better classic rock guitar legand at work today.

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