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The Whole Show In Its Original Order
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!