Concert Report
by The Border Man

- Uli Jon Roth with UFO as a special guest -
at Rock and Blues Custom Bike Show
June 23rd, 2001

Added on 07/02/2001

As this is a Michael Schenker site, I decided to stick with reviewing the appearance by Schenker, Mogg, & Way.

However, it has to be said, that Uli Jon Roth was perfection personified. Not being too familiar with Mr Roth's material, did not detract from the fact that he was, quite simply, stunning, moving from rock, to classical, with utter ease. With a great backing band (Barry Sparks-Bass, Don Airey-Keys, & Clive Bunker-Drums), Mr Roth dazzled onlookers with a sparkling display of fretboard wizardry, & musicianship. A consumate professional.

Sometime into the set, Uli introduced the remnants of UFO, who had reconvened to appear as special guests. For those UFO fans that attended, there were great expectations. Will Herr Schenker implode as he did in Manchester? Will he play a 'blinder'?

Even though Schenker was being barracked by some of the (mainly) biker audience, musically, proceedings began promisingly for all concerned. The band ripped into 'Midnight Train' from the much lamented 'Covenant' album. Mogg was in fine voice, with Pete Way looning around like he'd been injected with rocket fuel. Next up was 'Let It Roll', with Roth & Schenker playing some great twin guitar. At the end of 'Let It Roll', the barracking of Schenker continued, with scathing derogatory insults being aimed at him.

Oblivious to this, the band continued with 'Rock Bottom', where Uli played the first part of the solo, with Schenker attempting to play the latter part. Quite frankly, it was during 'Rock Bottom' that Schenker's frailties were highlighted. He was appalling, missing notes, & generally messing up the song, whilst Uli covered up for him. Throughout 'In Search Of Peace of Mind', Schenker was hopeless, playing no lead guitar, leaving Uli Jon Roth to improvise, & (again) cover for him.

If people thought matters could only improve, they were sadly mistaken. After leaving the stage for a short break, UFO returned, & launched into 'Lights Out'. At this juncture, it was evident, that Schenker, was (yet again) inebriated with so much alcohol, he could hardly play. He was a complete mess, both professionally, & physically, to such an extent, that Uli took over the solo, & (again) bailed him out. Messing up the intro to 'Doctor, Doctor', highlighted how drunk Schenker really was. You had to feel for the rest of the musicians who were up there with him.

Nobody would have believed it would be worse than the Manchester debacle. Maybe it wasn't, (at least he attempted to play) but only just.

Quite where UFO/Michael Schenker goes from here, is anyones guess (apparantly, there's talk of a new UFO album). The man is a shadow of his former self, both, physically, & professionally. How much longer can Schenker continue to substandardly perform, letting both his fellow musicians, & his fans down, whilst living off past glories?

While he continues to live his paranoid, drunken existence, those around him will continue to suffer the brunt of his arrogance, self-centredness, egotism, & paranoia, be they musicians, or fans.

The ideal would be, that Schenker wakes-up, & smells the coffee, before it's too late, but I fear it is too late. Once upon a time, Schenker could lay claim to being the greatest guitarist on planet earth. Sadly, such a claim is now redundant. Just as Schenker would be, if those around this madness, had any sense. Heartbreakingly sad.

The Border Man.

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