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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

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!
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on 26 January 2016
I have strong opinions about this particular album. My comments on a review by someone calling themselves "Jimifan1970" titled "The Best Live Album Of All Time?" drew those opinions out and I have only just found out that my posts were removed by the author - despite the fact that I was answering questions that he had asked! I will repeat those views here.

This is most definitely NOT the best live album of all time. At the time of release it was closer to being true, as Pink Floyd's "Pulse" or Iron Maiden's "Rock In Rio", Rush's "Exit Stage Left" or "Different Stages" or "In Rio", Dream Theater's "Live Scenes From New York" or "Live In Budokan", Metallica's "S & M", all the "G3" live albums, I could go on and on………had not been released by then. But "The Song Remains The Same" by Led Zeppelin, which Strangers In The Night does not remotely touch, had been. "Live And Dangerous" by Thin Lizzy, again miles better, had been. "Made In Japan" by Deep Purple also.

The key thing about this is, there is too much poor material on this album. The unbelievable energy of the summit of the album, which is undisputedly Lights Out immediately followed by Rock Bottom, is orgasmically intense - masterful lead work, Schenker's finest hour really or at least until the virtuoso work on his instrumental "Adventures Of The Imagination". If the album was all like that, it would be a serious contender for the title, but the next best thing, "Love To Love", is not that great and most of the album is really quite poor. Not nearly consistent enough.

"Jimifan1970" had also made a statement to the tune of "if Schenker's axe work on here isn't the best playing ever I'd like to know what is", or at least a similar statement, so I went out of my way to list some technical giants. Assuming he wanted to hear brilliant guitar playing. But that got deleted as well, as a Hendrix nut I guess he wasn't ready for the masters of technique that are today's extrapolation of the technical progressions that his hero Hendrix began, but others grabbed the mantle.

Anyone that has an interest in technical virtuosity on the electric guitar, and I guess to be looking at this album some readers will have, take a listen to the work of - in no particular order - Vinnie Moore, John Petrucci, Michael Romeo, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Al Di Meola, Steve Morse, George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Bellas, Reb Beach, Allan Holdsworth, Eric Johnson, Tony Macalpine, Joey Tafolla, Neal Schon, Greg Howe, there are tons, some in bands and some not, many band players have done solo projects of course. You will know a lot of them I expect.
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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.
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2006
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 three decades).
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 February 2008
I am afraid that I can't agree with those reviewers who put this in with the "great" live albums. Whilst the music is well performed, the live experience just doesn't come over, so this becomes, for me, a lacklustre sort of greatest hits package. I got the 2006 re-mastered edition so perhaps the excitement has somehow been edited out of it but this only confirms my long held belief that UFO were a bit "slight" in comparison with the likes of Judas Priest - "Unleashed in the East" being a stonking example of what a live album should be like.
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on 31 March 2015
This is indeed one of the most exciting 'rock' albums ever. As I am about to see the band live again, for the first time in 35 years I might add, I thought it might be a good idea to grace you all with my tuppence! The mix and post production shine with an excitable light akin to driving around London in the early hours with a nose full something that is not good for you(This was the 1970's after all!), whilst possibly regretting the consumption copious amounts of a famous brand of bourbon/whiskey- or so I would imagine! What this means in reality is- here comes the boring bit girls so feel free to skip to the bit about how tight their trousers were- is that the Schenker and Raymond guitars are clearly separated in the stereo spectrum. The drums sound as they really do kids. Sir Peter Way is solid and locked in on the bass. The keyboards, courtesy of Mr Raymond are audible and emanating from the same area as his guitar so if you listen closely you will be able to discern what the blonde Teutonic genius was doing on the other side of the stage. Sir Phillip Mogg takes the centre, sounding slightly tipsy it must be said, but more importantly sounding like a chap who knows what he is taking about.

My favourite part is the beginning of 'Love to love'. Paul lays done an eerie arpeggio on the Wurlitzer pumping the Mogg Taurus bass pedals as Pete plays a little melody on the bass. Then it starts to chug big time. There is a loud cheer but I am not sure if it is some excitable Americans in the audience or some inspired goose bumpy screaming on the stage. Nice bit of Mini-Moog and what sounds like a string machine. There is not a dull bit on here though my friends.

The tight trouser bit...

Meeting the chaps at the rear of the Ipswich Gaumont in 1980, my friends and I were struck at how impossibly skinny they appeared to be and how blooming tight their trousers were! This was followed by years of dieting, on my foolish teenage behalf, and even the purchase of a pair of striped spandex kex as sported by Sir Peter Way. Suffice to stay they did not look as good on me as on him. Rugby player that I was...

But I digress. Buy this now people. If you are a nostalgia buyer or new to these legends of British hard rock, you can't go wrong. Trust me!
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on 27 October 2015
I bought this on vinyl in 1978 just prior to seeing them at Sheffield City Hall and then again the following week at Leeds University. Both performances were excellent, however by the time I got to see them Michael Schenker had left. I really liked the original release, Rock Bottom, Doctor Doctor and Only You Can Rock Me being the stand out tracks. The rest of the album was also very good, I'd enjoyed it so much that when I saw this CD release I ordered a copy. When it arrived I duly put it on to listen and it started with a different song which rather threw me, this led me to start reading not only the back of the CD but also the booklet. When I got to the part about "mixing and fixing" I was astounded to read that we had been duped, cheated call it whatever you want, 2 of the tracks weren't recorded live, they hadn't even been played on the tour. When I buy a live album that's what I want not something that's been mocked up in the studio and had crowd noise added to it to make it appear as if it was live. It's well documented that a number of "live" albums had been doctored in the studio after to replace solos etc but this is probably the first time I was aware that studio tracks had been masquerading as live tracks. The album is good, very good indeed and every time I've seen UFO they have been excellent.
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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.
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on 15 September 2011
I bought this on vinyl, then cassette, then vinyl again as my little brother wouldn't give me mine back (He's a soul/disco freak by the way). Then on cd import from the US, Gb release, Japan release, then finally re-mastered here with the additional Jap tracks also appearing.
This is simply the best live recording ever made, and I do own the Allmans at Fillmore, Lizzy's 'Dangerous' etc. My son and his mates absolutely adore this recording, and I do feel genuinely sorry that they could not see UFO with Schenker in his pomp, but the band themselves are still rocking, and both Schenker and UFO have rocked in Cumbria in the last three years.
And so to the recording!
It sounds somewhat strange if you were weaned on the vinyl/early cd, as the running order has been changed round - and I believe the re-mastered is the correct one, with all of Moggs interplay with the audience being left in. I prefer to think of this as thinking mans rock with each song seemingly written to encompass by turn Schenker's pyrotechnics, or slowly building mood solo's. There are enough Boogie Type Rockers - Natural Thing etc, Headshaking Anthems - Shoot Shoot, Doctor Doctor : Slower Epics - Love To Love, I'm A Loser : and Standards such as Light's Out and Let It Roll to justify owning this album. THEN THERE IS ROCK BOTTOM. Probably the finest live guitar showcasing since Duane at the Fillmore, the interplay with Raymonds' keyboard work is out of this world, and the soaring solo rushes you headlong, breathless to the song's finale, only for Schenk to open up again with the killer chorus riff.
If the Music God told you to forsake all other idols, and only worship one song - it would have to be this live album version of Rock Bottom.

What a pity there is not any video of the band on this tour, not even a bootleg video to the best of my knowledge.

If you haven't ordered this yet, what are you waiting for????
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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.
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