on 18 August 2006
Ignore the 4 stars. I meant to give it 5 but I missed and now can't change the rating. I remember the fanfare in the rock press that greeted this album's release. For once, the hacks of the time recognised that the record on review was something very special. Live, UFO were (still are) peerless. Even though it was recorded as long ago as 1978, the sound, energy and fizzle of UFO on stage shines through. It hasn't aged at all. Every track is a winner and it could have been recorded yesterday such is the quality. The album catches UFO at their very best with Michael Schenker simply on fire. Catch the two furious breaks on Lights Out, the sumptious solo on Love To Love, the spine tingling way he just creates over the top of Paul Raymond's boogie rhythm on This Kids and the long and quite magical solo on Rock Bottom. Only Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous comes close to matching this. It is rock's finest hour. Every metal fan should own it.
on 26 May 2010
If this isn't the best live rock album it's certainly way up there. I guess when you reach the very highest peaks of guitar playing then you bring into play some of the few, the very few, whose names give you reason to pause. Jimi Hendrix for me, maybe Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck or someone else for you. It doesn't matter. Music isn't a competition, in the end.
But I will stick my neck out and say that if Michael Schenker's axe work on this album has ever been bettered I'd love to hear it. The whole band is, of course, on top form during this tour, and in a way resembles a huge and awesomely powerful machine, beautifully tuned, synchronised and smooth, and crackling with an electric charge barely contained. Unlike a machine though, UFO can act spontaneously too, a chord or tempo change timed according to mood as well as absolute precision. The one feeds on the other when a band is really flying, and part of the thrill for the listener comes from not knowing exactly when a new direction is coming, but still knowing that it will blow you away. Schenker combines beautiful and melodic delicacy with thunderous might.
The best example on this album I can think of to illustrate the point is 'Rock Bottom', where Schenker takes us on a journey of prolonged excitement, interplaying with drums here, bass there and keyboards and vocals throughout. I love Schenker's mastery of feedback, holding the shrieking demons under control inside the huge Marshalls for most of the song, but knowing exactly when to let the guitar moan and whine in sympathy with the way the solo is going. Hendrix fans like me will always adore that. Oh yes, and the famous re-start after the song has apparently ended is superb, the audience playing their part in carrying the band through to conclusion on a sustained wave of cheering and approval.
People sometimes ask why we don't get majestic live albums like this any more. Unfortunately, everything has its time, then passes. Thirty years and more have (gulp) passed since UFO's heyday. The era of great live rock albums has gone, and we are left with the shallow and insipid, the dreary and predictable over-rated not-very-goods who may have big names and even bigger bank balances (you too, did somebody say?) but simply cannot play guitar like Schenker and co. Sign of our present culture, perhaps.
Rock fans can't afford to miss this album.
on 1 August 2008
The 'live' album concept appears to have died out, but this is simply the best live recording ever committed to vinyl (and on to cd) bar none.
This simply has it all, a great seasoned rock band, a young and talented guitarist in his prime (superlatives used to describe Michael Schenker such as 'on fire' and 'blistering solos' are perfectly justified here) all topped off with the effortlessly restrained vocals of Phil Mogg.
Oh, and some great timeless songs, all of which are carefully structured and feature numerous tempo changes, performed here with aplomb.
This record influenced scores of great rock outfits (I read that Slash cites this as his favourite album), and remains as listenable today as it did back in 1979.
I have the original double LP, original cd and now this new cd version, the 2 new tracks and running order restored here are as it would have been if cd existed back then! I now keep the new cd in the car and dive in at track 3 'Let it Roll', which sounds great as an opener.
If you have any interest in rock and have not heard this record do yourself a massive favour and get it now. Then if you get a chance see UFO live as they still rock (hard).
When I last saw them in a small venue in Bristol around 1992, I was lucky enough to be leaning on the monitors 3 feet away from Phil Mogg and Pete Way! I thought then they were the best live band I had ever seen and still do, with or without Schenker.
on 7 June 2001
This version of the classic Strangers in the night by UFO (a must have for every rock fan) comes with two extra songs, a different playing order to reflect the set list, and extra banter by singer Phill Mogg in between songs. I found the 2 new songs lacking in sound and as for the rest: I could do without that and subtract 1 star for messing with a perfect album. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
In short: get the original instead! The REAL original is one of the best live records by any rock band I know. And that one does get 5 stars.
on 27 June 2004
There is a lot of rubbish talked about this album. It's said that it is mostly a studio album and had had loads of studio trickery to make it sound so good.
Let's get a few things straight; on the original vinyl release it says it was recorded at 3 DIFFERENT places, so it never pretended to be ONE concert.
Back in the late '70's UFO were not headliners in the USA, The '78 tour was in support of Blue Oyster Cult, so I doubt if the band were allowed to play more than 40-45 minutes a night. Obviously, therefore, a set this long couldn't have been recorded at one show. Apparently "Natural Thing" was never played in the US live before the '95 reunion, according to some people (I really couldn't care less, the version on here SMOKES!!).
There are 5 tracks from "Force It" on the album because they have always played their best songs live, and I believe some of the concerts recorded for this release, were played in '77.
Apart from 'Natural Thing", and "I'm A Loser", from their 3rd album, (supposedly, the band thought that "No Heavy Petting" wasn't as good as it's predecessor, and only played 2 tracks from it, live) I believe that the 5 songs from Force It, were always a staple of their live show (and still are to this day).
Another thing, Schenker quit UFO for good in November '78, and the album was released in the US the next month. In the state he was in at the time, I find it hard to believe that he spent weeks in the studio, overdubbing solos for this release, as has often been rumored.
Ron Nevison is a great producer, but we're talking late '70's technology here, years before CDs, so how could he possibly have made it sound so brilliant with studio techniques of the time? He's a producer, not a magician!
All I can say is, it is an album I have grown up with, and I still love it, more then 20 years after I first heard it. As far as I'm concerned it is as close to perfection as a live album is ever going to get. The songs are great, the production is excellent, the performance is superb, with Schenker, particularly, ON FIRE!! Check out his playing on "Rock Bottom", "Only You Can Rock Me", "Out In The Street", and "Natural Thing".
They are all great tracks, where he has managed to improve, so much, on the studio recordings (which we brilliant to start with!). People complain about the quality of the added tracks, but I don't think they are too bad. Even at they're worst UFO still sounded better then most bands.
If you love quality hard rock music, then you must own this CD. This "expanded" version is more expensive, than the original, but you do get the 2 extra "Obsession" tracks, and it's still more than worth it. Despite it having competition from Queen's "Live Killers", and Thin Lizzy's "Live and Dangerous" (both brilliant live albums, released in this period),
I will stick my neck out, and say, that in my humble opinion, that this is the greatest, live, hard rock album, EVER!! (and there have been many great ones).
If you already have it, then you'll be listening to it, for years to come (I play it regularly, and NEVER tire of it!). If you don't, then get a copy IMMEDIATELY!!
I've given it 5 stars, if I could, I'd give it 10!!
on 3 September 2008
Rediscovered recently via download. I have the original vinyl and it is, quite simply, the greatest live hard rock album you will ever hear. raw yet restrained melodic song after song. Schenker is unbelievable; the rhythm of Way and Parker faultless, others have commented on Mogg's vocals but don't underestimate the keyboard of Paul Raymond, which adds so much melody and effect (Love to Love being a great example). This is a band at their peak.
on 24 April 2007
A really marvellous live album, in my opinion right up there with Skynyrd's "One More From The Road" & The Ramones "Its Alive". The tracks are pretty much a "best of" listing & the quality is excellent.
Schenker & Mogg at their best, in fact the whole band are top notch on this record & this is reflected in the quality evident all the way through.UFO produced some really good stuff & this superb album lets them showcase the cream of the crop in a powerful live performance.The clarity of the recording is great & the "atmosphere" of the shows comes across very well.A real "must have" for the serious rock fan & the price is pretty impressive too.
on 23 May 2013
Man there are a million words one can say about UFO and as a long standing fan of the band having seen them live in their various different incarnations from the Hammy Odeon and Oxford Apollo shows of the Tonka era and curtain call of 83, the Atomic Tommy (McClendon) shows of 85 and the last show i saw back in 1991 at the Town and Country Club, London with the amazing Laurence Archer, they have never failed to deliver top drawer rock. I was too young to see them with MS, and this album helped me understand just what a genius the man is. Along with Hendrix and Page, Michael Schenker has to be the greatest rock guitarist the world has ever witnessed.
Strangers In The Night rightfully ranks as the greatest live rock album of all time and just about edges out Live & Dangerous, If You Want Blood, Kiss Alive, Unleashed In The East, Live At Leeds and Tokyo Tapes, with maybe only No Sleep 'till Hammersmith equalling it in its spontaneity and creative energy. This remastered package also showcases the original running order of the show with the glorious Hot And Ready and the gorgeous bassy Cherry opening up what was destined to be an utterly flawless performance. Moggy's inbetween song banter is also quite humourous where after Cherry he exclaims
"ErrrHHmmm, i think they're changing the mikes, can i fill in???, .. .. .." after proceeding to announce a track from the 'corset' album and offering in his shy and retiring 'I'm not sure what that means whether i should tell a few jokes or may be reveal myself! .. . " Its also quite intriguing to hear "Will you please welcome from England . .. . U. . . F . . .O . . . ." before the frenetic riffs of Hot n Ready kick in, as opposed to Natural Thing which we were all accustomed to over the years. Interesting how it features 5th in the set also, but it doesn't require a quantum shift in adjustment to realise that this is the correct running order of the original concert as it was meant to be heard in all its seamless glory, but for the limitations of tape sources at the time we got the edited version that became the album we all know and love.
Joking aside, there's nothing funny about the music that's cranked out here as it epitomises probably the finest hard rock you will ever hear. The remastered sound is particularly noteworthy. Point in case; i had the original LP and CD so i thought i would just download Hot N Ready And Cherry but you have to get the entire show to appreciate the seamlessness and crystal clarity of it, otherwise it sounds disjointed and edited if you just shunt it on to your old edition. Songs like Out In The Street, and Mother Mary really benefit from the remastering and have a much sharper and cutting edge with Phil's vocals really making the hairs stand on the back of my neck, such was the emotion he delivered here and along with Schenker there has never been a better pairing, both so intuitive of each other.
Of course Rock Bottom is the centrepiece with the fluid and inventive soloing of MS and the interplay with Paul Raymond (Raymondo) on keyboards. This is Shakespeare, Bhagavad Gita and the Bible all rolled into one such is the depth, precision and transcendence of this work, it takes my breath away still to this day and showcases the pinnacle of craftmanship and virtuous improvisation thats never been equalled since in rock. Love To Love is the greatest love song that was ever written along with possibly Light My Fire and the first solo in it is just utterly shattering, it cuts me in half such is the depth again, i'm lost for words here. Lights Out also just totally rips.
There are more hilarious interludes from Mogg later as he entices the crowd to come and dismantle the PA. Andy Parker's drumming is as relentless as ever, the remastering really brings out his thunder and finesse along with Pete's bass which is as sweet as ever. I implore you to either download or buy this remastered edition even if you have the original edition as its almost like being at the show for the first time and hearing the way it was originally performed is very refreshing. I played it loud through my headphones and it took me back to a long gone lost era where there were real bands who played real instruments and wrote real songs about love and life and strife and didn't care about fame or fortune. They should've been huge but UFO were and still are that band.
They are golden!
History will remember UFO as a competent UK rock outfit formed in that wilderness between Hendrix and the Sex Pistols. There's no reason why anyone should remember them at all, except that they managed to produce what is absolutely one of the finest live rock albums in the 40-year history of the genre. It's all original material, and almost every track outshines the equivalent studio version. If Spinal Tap look worryingly like UFO, then Strangers In The Night is the reminder of what people saw in that sort of music back in 1978. What was side 3 of the vinyl double album illustrates and epitomises it perfectly: the hard, straight-ahead rock of Lights Out is followed by the extended, improvised, solo-ridden genius of Rock Bottom, designed to keep a crowd on the edge of its seats. The quality is maintained nearly all the way through: Doctor Doctor is still catchy as hell, and Love to Love subtly mugs Tubular Bells. Only side four flags slightly. Schenker - on the brink of leaving the band - was never better, and the whole unit was tight tight tight. For a blend of melody, virtuosity and energy, there is nothing better available (at least, not so far - but it's only been a quarter of a century).
on 16 May 2000
UFO were an exceptional live band, and this is the album to prove it. The highlights are Only you can rock me, Doctor Doctor, Love to Love and Rock Bottom, but don't think for a second that the other 9 tracks are duffers - far from it.
If you are into powerful heavy rock and want a strong melody, these guys deliver.
Up there with Thin Lizzy's "Live and Dangerous". I'll give it ******!