Concert Report and Photos by Cory
MSG at Galaxy Theatre, Santa Ana, CA, USA
June 4, 2004

Added on 06/06/2004 & 06/08/2004

In order to have a table at the Galaxy Theater you have to make dinner reservations when you purchase your tickets and the sooner you do so the better table you get. I learned my lesson last december from making late reservations and getting a table all the way in the back. This time we were in the first row just a little to Michael's right as you can see from the angle of my pictures, the seats were great!!! I addition to making reservations, in order to get your table you have to be at the club by 7:00pm which was kind of challenging being that I got off work at 5:30pm. We did make it though.

Being seated about 7:20pm we ate dinner (which was actually pretty good) and sat and sat until the first of the two opening acts that we had to endure started around 8:30 or so. I believe they were called "Scarred" and they were basically three piece speed/thrash metal which is not my thing at all. I also don't think it was the majority of the audiences thing either. To their credit however, they were very tight and pulled off some very well done breaks. The second band was called Clubber Lang and were a four piece kind of old school metal (Iron Maiden etc.,) meets speed/thrash. They had tons of gear and were RIDICULOUSLY LOUD!!!!! I have been playing for years and for me to say they were loud, THEY WERE LOUD!!! They all had lots of guitars (and changed them often) especially the lead guitarist. He has some REAL nice guitars and other than a beautiful Les Paul, the others looked to be custom made Les Paulish guitars and a 7 string - 6 string double neck. He was a pretty decent player but any personality he had was lost in mindless shredding. They were also pretty tight but nondescript. Also their powerful singer who had a amusing energetic stage presence did not really seem to have any interest in what (if any) key he was singing(?) in.

Michael came on about 10:45 and between the last act the place really filled up and everyone was READY for Michael. When ha came out with his "Nike" beanie and chrome shades on and put his guitar on and did a little tuning up everyone went NUTS!!! When they were ready Chris shouted "Lights out!!" and the lights went out for a second then they fired into "Lights Out" for the opening song!! Really cool!! They were in top form and seemed very into it with Rev bouncing off the walls and ceiling like Daffy Duck!! However it took a little time for the mix to get dialed in and somewhere during one of Michael's solos they had a MAJOR train wreck!! It seems Michael went a little to long and everyone seemed to be totally lost with Chris whispering in Michael's ear several times. They pulled every thing back together and finished up though and unless you have every measure, note and beat of Lights Out burned into your cerebrum like I do, you probably wouldn't have noticed it. Next they did a flawless version of "Are You Ready to Rock" The crowd was very enthusiastic and it seemed to energize Michael and crew with everyone having allot of crowd interaction however as I have observed, It usually take Michael 3 to 4 songs to "come out of his shell" but when he does his grace and glory is heart warming to observe.

I don't remember the exact set list but they did most of the usual stuff from this tour including (with a general comment):

Mother Mary - KICK ASS - blistering precise solo work
Let it Roll - See below
Rock and Roll Believer - I just love the chorus guitar line - One of Chris' best songs
Arachniphobiac - Wayne Findlay did a great heartfelt guitar solo
Fat City - PURE ROCK - Killer verse guitar line
Attack of the Mad Axe Man - See below
Into the Arena - See below
On and On - See below
Fatal Strike - Fat, Tight and ballsy!!
Because I Can - Cool harmony vocals
Only You Can Rock Me - One of the all-time greatest solos
To Hot to Handle - Fine German Engineering with a nice blue tint
Doctor Doctor - See below
Rock Bottom - See below
And Armed and Ready - A song that defines melodic rock and they rocked it HOT!!!

And as usual we all still of course would have watched him play all night!!

After the little Lights Out hiccup they were pretty much spot on for the rest of the show. Chris' voice was strong, the rhythm section was tight Wayne's guitaring and keys was well done and the show was high energy all thow I know when Rev is spinning his hair around one day his head is going to come completely off!! But even that wont stop him!

Some of the extra special highlights in my opinion were:

"Let it Roll". I just love the solo in that. He plays with such purity and elegance that I could (and have) listen to it over and over. That is a prime demonstration of how every single note is there for a reason and there is no need for "filler".

"Into the Arena" as usual Was fantastic with a little chance for Rev and drummer Pete Holmes to stretch their wings for a bit and then Michael majestically pulls everything back together..

Attack of the Mad Axeman was great and in particular, Michael and Rev's interaction in the quiet passage. Rev did a very nice flashy job of playing his part by tapping it on the fret board crossing his hands over and sounding perfect!

Another high point was another song and in particular, a solo that I cant get enough of is "On and On". I cant think of a more beautiful melodic guitar solo EVER!! By ANYONE.... PERIOD!!! That has to be from the purist most innocent part of Michael's soul!!! It is PERFECT!! Not to sound like a fruit loop or anything but that solo has brought tears to my eyes!!!

I also was as always pleasantly surprised by Michael's tasty ad lib intro in Doctor Doctor which also rocked the crowd into a frenzy!!

Rock Bottom.. Ahh yes Rock Bottom. IMHO I have always favored the Strangers in the Night version as opposed to some of the slightly toned down versions of later years and to my delight this version favored the SITN version. The song cranked as usual so I'll skip to the solo... It was an intense love scene!! Starting as a small kiss turning to ever so teasing foreplay building momentum to a huge and fulfilling climax!!!! To me this solo is one of the many things that separates Michael from any other guitarist there is. He has stated that he has an endless well of creativity within himself and this is proof that even with the valve open full blast, the well just keeps pumping at full pressure. Again, no filler, with most guitarists including GREAT ones you get maybe 40% meat and the rest is filler in their solos where as Michael can burn along at full speed with a minimum of filler notes. That is also what I define as "elegance" in guitar playing. Now don't get me wrong, Michael does use allot of standard riffs in his solos but they are put together so that they are greater than the sum of their parts. IMHO

As far as the band is concerned, they have been on tour for quite some time and it shows. There is an unmistakable casual comfort and ease among their playing indicating they have grown familiar with and are in sync with each other. Again, they all seemed to really feed off the crowd an Michael made allot of eye contact, gave thumbs up signs, bowed graciously and shook allot of hands. At the end of the show they all went back and forth across the stage shaking as many hands as possible and Michael was positively beaming! I know that Michael has gone through allot over the years, but it looks as if he is experiencing a new renaissance and kind of a re-birth. I totally identify with him when he says that he just wants a "peaceful life" and I feel from his music that he is a peaceful and beautiful child of god and I pray that he achieves the peace that he desires.

If you happen to read this Michael, I just want to thank you for enriching my life over the last 25 or so years and for helping me in my pursuit of a peaceful life. Your music and your words touch me to the depth of my soul. Also it was great to talk to you at the Key Club in Hollywood last December after the show!! I was the 41 year old blond fool whom approached you upstairs after the signing session and tried in vain to come up with something intelligent to say.

The show was great and Michaels playing was superb. The band looks to really enjoy playing together. I said hello to Michael after the show at the signing and thanked him for giving us so many years of enjoyment.

Concert Photos by Paul
MSG at Galaxy Theatre, Santa Ana, CA, USA
June 4, 2004

Added on 06/07/2004

The show was great and Michaels playing was superb. The band looks to really enjoy playing together. I said hello to Michael after the show at the signing and thanked him for giving us so many years of enjoyment.

Concert Report by Taz
MSG at Galaxy Theatre, Santa Ana, CA, USA
June 4, 2004

Added on 06/07/2004

Stunning, Stunning, Stunning!!!! As much as I enjoyed the two shows I saw last December, I felt their was a little magic missing at that time, but dismissed it as I could not really attribute it to anything in particular! Well, there was nothing missing in Santa Ana last night! The band ambled casually onto the stage, Schenker taking his time to check his tuning (rather than have someone tune it offstage and hand it to him, so he could simply take the stage, grand entrance style) After a protracted wait, they launched into Lights Out. Every thing sounded good. I would have liked more Schenker in the P.A. but that was probably just me. After the first solo, Chris Logan had obviously thought it was the last solo, because when Michael went back to rhythm for the last verse, Chris was just hanging back, playing air guitar etc. Michael looked at him, he looked back, the Rev and Wayne were looking and everyone started laughing! They continued for a while, still no vocals, then Michael did a quick solo and ended the song, everyone on stage still laughing! I'm not good with set lists but Ready to Rock was next then Let it Roll. This one was one of the high points, the guitar and keyboard section was truly beautiful! Chris really struggles with this one and I guess that is partly why it comes so early in the set, whilst he is fresh. He did a great job on most everything else though. Fatal Strike, Rock n Roll Believer and the title track were all featured from Arachnophobiac, as was My Time's Come from BAOS (note: corrected in his review of the next night). Attack of the mad Axeman, On and On, Into the arena, Assault attack all were superb. Schenker's tone was absolutely incredible. Mother Mary, Too Hot to Handle. About halfway through the set Wayne's guitar became completely inaudible. He did not appear to know there was a problem, so he must have still been able to hear his amp on stage, but he was completely gone from the P.A. mix. I don't intend this as a slight on an obviously very talented guy, but I actually very much preferred the mix this way! Schenker's lead tone just soared over the bass and drums, we were essentially listening to a three piece anytime that Wayne was not playing keys and it totally rocked! I am probably missing a lot of songs, but the encores were Armed and Ready, Doctor Doctor and total goose bumps Rock Bottom. A great night to remember forever, we are going to Brick by Brick in San Diego tonight, I'll let you know how it goes.....TAZ

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