Reviewing Michael Schenker is often troublesome,you love the man's guitar playing but you shudder at his choices, of band mates especially vocalists,sub standard performances and sometimes below par 'new ' material.It would seem that Schenker has now realised that for most fans his appeal is in the past,so here we are presented with a stunning selection of tracks from MSG/UFO and the Scorpions,only 2 of the 19 tracks from Tilburg have been written in the past 25 years or so.
So to the concert,from the moment 'Into The Arena' & 'Armed and Ready' burst out of the speakers,you can breathe easy He's on form,those solo's rippling across the stage,yes at times he's self indulgent.who cares,there are many great lead guitarists but only a handful are capable of sheer genuis,for me Schenker is one of those and its a pleasure to indulge him listening to this album.
Its a stellar performance wiping away the irritation of the last live disc,a superior band,a far better sound quality and a better celebration of the man himself,still it would be remiss not to mention the singer 'Doogie White'( a success on Rainbow's Stranger in us All album),he nails the MSG tracks to perfection,in my opinion,but struggles badly with those of the Scorpions,whilst he's adequate at those of UFO (which only highlights how under rated Phil Mogg really is).
In general i can get by the vocalists limitations and enjoy the disc,Schenkers on fire,the band is tight and the 2 tracks from 'Temple of Rock' are excellent especially 'Before The Devil Knows Your Dead',if he can hold this level of performance together and remain consistent in the song writing department,we may just get a solo album to rival the past.
As a bonus we also get 5 tracks from The High Voltage Festival with Michael Voss on vocals,if anything the bar is raised even higher here,with several guest appearances ,fantastic stuff.
If you've swithered as to wether to buy this disc,dont worry,its worth every penny.
on 10 December 2012
Firstly can i just say that yesterday(sunday)this was on sale for £3.99! Great,so i purchased it straight off,today it has gone up to £10.49...very strange! Anyway,it is good and Michael Schenker is playing better than ever! Yes he is self-indugent? but for god's sake,it's his band and he is the focal point of it! i bet he'd get criticism if he didn't let rip whenever he felt like it.As for too many Scorpions and Ufo songs...fine by me partly because i thought temple of rock wasn't a great album.
At the end of the day it's michael i want to hear and he is brilliant,and Doogie white is a lot better than Gary Barden...in my opinion.
on 13 December 2012
What a live album from the best heavy rock guitarist when he is on form, and boy is he on form here. This is his best live release since budokan and the mixture of UFO,Scorpions and MSG tracks makes this album unique. Only one little quibble why no Lost Horizons, every other MSG classic is included. When I listened to this album first I had to stop and replay Let sleeping dogs lie it is that good.
As for the band the Scorpions rhythm section do a good job and the keyboard player is fine. As mentioned before the vocalist is good on some tracks but lacks a bit on others partly due to letting the crowd take over too much. But in the end you are only buying this album for one thing and thats too hear if Michael still has it.
He has in spades and yes the solo on Rock Bottom is still as good.
Got my tickets to see him next year and hope for as good a performance.
After all the rumours and troubles Michael has come through and is playing as well as ever if there was any justice he would be packing out arenas and stadiums.
Bonus for the fans you can get closer in the smaller venues.
Buy this album you wont regret it brings back some great memories from the seventies and eighties, or if you havent got any MSG albums get this for a quick resume of a fabulous 40 year career.
Oh and if you want to hear the other side of Michael check out MSG unplugged live.
Long may he reign.
I bemoaned the fact that the studio "Temple Of Rock" album was not the greatest of albums - although it did contain the ear-worm "Before The Devil Know's You're Dead" track and wondered why it was that Michael had very often associated with vocalists that could not match up to his music. Well, he must have been listening because what he's presenting us with here is a cracker of an album - possibly one of the best live one's that he's put his name to. And moreover, the vocalist is almost (I did say almost!) on a par.
Crisply recorded, MS kicks off the set with the mighty "Into The Arena" instrumental flexing those fingers and letting rip with the riff and the tasty licks and runs as he fills every last gap - this is scintillating stuff! "Armed And Ready then backs up this punchy start and whilst I was expecting the dodgy vocals, none came forth...now we're in rock heaven! "Cry For The Nations", "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie", "Assault Attack" "Rock You Like A Hurricane" are all here, the disappointment is that "Before The Devil" doesn't come across quite as well as it does on the studio album but hey!, that's a minor issue!
Along with AC/DC's River Plate album and Zeps Celebration Day, this Temple Of Rock -Live In Europe album will be treasured as yet another fine example of the majesty and glory that is rock music.
If you do not possess a Schenker album, then this is a fine one to start with - for all the rest of you, get this one into your collection now - you will not be disappointed!
on 3 December 2012
I have followed Schenker for years now, and own every CD and DVD release he has put out. This live album, from only May of this year, contains the full show. The fault with so many reviews of Schenker's live albums is that they are always compared to his first, most successful live solo release, 'One Night At Budokan'. This release is indeed very good, but it is short-sighted to ignore the wealth of material Schenker has released (and continues to) since then. 'Temple of Rock - Live in Europe' is very well mixed, with Schenker's guitar up nicely, and we hear everyone else plenty well enough. It does very much feel like a 'live' show, and is not one of those annoying live releases mixed as though to sound like a studio recording. We hear the crowd, but not too much. The set itself covers much of Schenker's career, but personally I think there is too much UFO and Scorpions material in there (11 songs, in fact) which is a shame when Schenker has so much brilliant material he can draw from. The new album is only represented by two songs here: 'Hangin' On and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead', which again, I think is a shame as it's a solid release. That said, it is a great live show and the band are clearly loving it, which make for more enjoyable listening. It is better than MSG's previous live release (the 30th Anniversary show in Tokyo), which features (a now retired- or almost) Gary Barden, whose voice was never great and is now far worse, as well as his demonstration of this by letting the crowd sing as much a they can, instead of him. Doogie White, by contrast, is a great and enthusiastic vocalist who delivers the songs with the commitment and effort you would expect. Elsewhere on the stage, we have the accomplised and long-time MSG member Wayne Findlay and the ex-Scorps Franic Bucholz on bass and Herman Rarebell on drums. Schenker himself nails everything (he has been sober since late 2007). Well worth checking out if you are a MSG, UFO or Scorpions fan. Also catch him on his upcoming European leg of the 'Temple of Rock' tour next Spring.
And so it came to pass that the faithful attended the Temple Of Rock, and lo there faith was rewarded. I must admit, it is nice to see Michael Schenker attempting to redeem himself after so many attempts to shoot himself in the foot over the years. From his days as a teenage prodigy with Scorpions through numerous tempestuous collaborations with UFO, and his own up and waaaaay down solo career, the talent he had was almost lost in a blizzard of Mad Mickey tales.
However, he is trying to live up to his legacy and, in his own words, "The Temple Of Rock is almost finished. There's not much new left to expect, but I am glad to be a part of this temple," says Michael. "It's unbelievable fun and an honor to share a stage and make music with some of the world's best musicians." Which brings us to the main part of this release, which is a concert recorded in Tilburg, in the Netherlands from May 2012 that sees him teaming up with Doogie White (ex Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Everyone Else) on vocals, former Scorpions colleagues Herman Rarebell on drums and Francis Buchholz on bass and the multi-talented Wayne Findley on rhythm guitar, keyboards and harmony vocals.
It's very much a greatest hits set, taking in reams of material from his early days with UFO, Scorpions and his solo days. There are a couple of surprises, with some tunes from Scorpions, post Michael, but with Herman Ze German and Francis Bucholz in place, it makes some sense. And he even tackles 'Assault Attack', one of my favourite of his solo songs, but not one I expected to hear. There's also the obligatory two new tunes from the latest solo album, one with Michael Voss on guest lead vocals. Now, I'm a fan of Doogie White, but he does struggle a bit on some of the Scorpions tunes, which don't really fit into his range, but he handles the UFO / solo Schenker ones well.
Over on the second disc, you also get five songs from the High Voltage festival in 2011, and they actually knock the main set into a cocked hat. It's probably because Michael Voss is on lead vocals for the set, and he really goes to town on 'Another Piece Of Meat' and 'Rock You Like A Hurricane'. Add in some Rudolf Schenker on three tunes, and it really does sound considerably more lively.
That's confirmed when you play the DVD. The Tilburg concert seems murky and dull, whereas the Sky broadcast High Voltage material really stands out. You also get an extra appreciation of the remarkable shift that Wayne Findley puts in, especially filling out the vocal sound. He really is a remarkable musician. I still get quite upset when I see that Michael Schenker has gotten old, because I remember him when he was a skinny wee boy. Unlike Doogie White who has, apparently, made a dent in the Killie pie mountain. Again, the High Voltage set is a killer, what with brother Rudolf Schenker on 'Rock You Like A Hurricane', 'Hanging On' and 'Doctor Doctor', although there is a remarkable lack of brotherly bonding on stage. Oh, and keep your sunglasses handy for when former UFO man Pete Way arrives for 'Doctor Doctor', as time has not withered his trousers! The bonus feature is largely inaudible handcam footage of the dressing room pre-Tilburg, but the main features are well worth it.
CD or DVD? It's a tricky one. If it wasn't for the fantastic High Voltage footage, I'd go for the CD, so you'll need to be extra nice for the next couple of weeks, and ask Santa to get you both. Although, as well as the two versions I have it's also out as a limited edition with 2CD, 1 Blu-Ray and a DVD, as well as the normal blu-ray
on 29 December 2012
Excellent setlist and performance.A good blend of MSG,Scorpions and UFO live classics.Captures perfectly Michael Schenker. live ably supported by Dougie White, herman and Frances.
on 3 January 2013
Roll on April 2013 next year. Michael was good last time i saw him should be even better next year with this band line up.
on 13 December 2012
I am very pleased with this release. The set opens (after the William Shatner intro) with a whirlwind of four fast-paced tracks: Into the Arena, Armed and Ready, Lovedrive, and Another Piece of Meat. The listener is immediately catapulted into upliftingly joyful, tonally perfect, wonderfully melodic, explosively volcanic, and brilliantly executed rock of a quality so high that it - in my view - is unique to Michael Schenker. For me, Schenker is the incarnation of classic rock as it should be done. In my opinion, there are more great rock moments in a single Schenker track than in most rock-band's entire careers. Listening to these four openers is a bit like being suddenly lowered into the Charge of the Light Brigade. There is no self-indulgence here - it is the listener who gets served by Schenker's style of playing. Schenker is the exact opposite of shredders who exploit audiences just to show-case their own vanity. Schenker, by contrast, energises his listeners, picks them up from whatever mind-state they were in, and makes them want to attack the future with renewed vigour. After these four opening tracks, I felt personally enabled to wipe out the entire Spartan Army. Schenker's playing is like a river in spate bursting its banks, a pyroelectric force of nature releasing its charge, with notes tumbling over one-another like people joyfully fleeing for their lives in a Spanish bull run.
Next up it's Hanging On - one of my two favourite tracks from Temple of Rock, followed by the two fantastic show-casers, Cry for the Nations and Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, and then by Coast to Coast. In my opinion, we are here taken into a slightly more reflective mood in these four tracks - though Cry for the Nations also has a "Back to Attack" feel about it. The dominant feeling in Michael's music is one of joy (very rare in rock these days), but he also does different feelings, such as "resolute overcoming against the odds", and other staple existential mind-states and attitudes. What we get in the second four tracks just noted is the sense that, "whatever difficulties you are experiencing at the moment, there is a need for grim determination and perseverence, for eventual victory lies ahead". Yet again, then, Schenker steers clear of the self-indulgent self-pity that plagues so much modern music, and guides us into stock healthy attitudes: hope is not all gone - with attrition, determination, resoluteness and by sticking at it, you will overcome adversities - particularly if you turn to God for help. Well - at least this is how these next four tracks make me feel personally.
Then it's "back to attack" with Assault Attack, Before the Devil Knows you're Dead, Lights Out, On and On, and Let It Roll. I think that one way in which Michael Schenker has grown the most recently is in his renewed ability to put a superb show together - to mix just the right tracks in just the right way. Whilst one reviewer makes the point that most of the tracks on the album are from Michael's early years, I think that this decision makes commercial sense in that most people into classic rock will be familiar with the tracks chosen, and so the album is likely to sell better that way. The reviewer quite rightly argues that Michael has a massive amount of material to draw from. Once I put a "best of Michael Schenker" compilation together, making some painful omissions, and the result was still over 24 hours in duration! Michael has done a colossal amount of first-rate material - more than any other artist I can think of. It would indeed be great to hear it all live - but I suppose we live in a world where things have to make commercial sense. Such observations mock the popular misbelief that Michael lacks consistency. Michael is probably the most consistent performer I can think of: consistent highest-quality material, consistent high-level output, over a 40-year time-span. The occasional hiatus due to personal issues pales into insignificance when compared with the fact that Michael has produced far more top-draw rock than any other single individual in the history of the genre. To my mind, Michael Schenker is the greatest rock guitarist of all time. I suspect that people who say otherwise normally haven't heard even a quarter of his material.
Anyway, back to the tracks, I should point out that I think that the musicianship of the whole band is magnificent. Michael himself is on absolutely fantastic form. In my view, this live album is Michael's best, and I've got all of them. I too appreciate SITN and ONAB (Strangers in the Night and One Night at Budokan), but TORL (Temple of Rock Live) is just so enjoyable, that I think I prefer to listen to it than to SITN and ONAB. SITN and ONAB both have moments of inhuman genius on them in terms of Schenker's playing, but I prefer the overall feel of TORL. It is just as good guitar-wise, but a more energising mix of tracks in my view. On the studio version of Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, I was less convinced at first, but this track fits better into the track list on TORL, and I now realise that it's a great track. Assault Attack is one of Michael's live staples from sets during 2004 - 2006, so it's great to hear that track back in the set again after five or six years or so. I think that I mildly prefer the original version of Lights Out to the Walk On Water version (which is what Michael plays in live sets these days), but the newer version is still great and is amazingly executed on this album. I am a huge fan of Doogie White as well - his vocal range easily encompasses the material on TORL, whilst Michael Voss is also a good front man for Schenker.
On to disc two of TORL and straight away we're fire-bombed with the incendiary Shoot Shoot and Rock You Like a Hurricane. I think the latter song-title - whilst being a Scorpions number - aptly describes what Michael does. When I was trying to think of a title for this review, loads of slogans like "rock you like a hurricane" were coming to mind. "Stampede of the Behemoth", which combines the notion of frantic energy with that of a mythical beast, is what I eventually settled on - though "engine-room" and "German engineering" were concepts I would have liked to have included in my review title in order to communicate that, with Schenker, we don't just get energy, we get structured-energy, or layered musical architecture with an emphasis on great composition, exceptionally strong melody, uncannily accurate empathic feeling-states - and all with tremendous economy, with absolutely no "filler". In my view, other bands occasionally write tracks as good as Schenker's, but Schenker does about five classics per album, and has done about 40 or so albums (I count about 130 official releases, but this includes a lot of compilations by different record companies). Track three by the way is Rock Bottom - an absolutely incredible rendition of it as well. I prefer this rendition to the ones on SITN and Rockpalast. There is an incredible version of Rock Bottom on Schenker's guest appearance with UFO on Uli Jon Roth's "Legends of Rock" album (2001 I think), but I think I even prefer this version on TORL to that.
Next up it's Holiday, which I remember being a highlight from the live show I attended. I have seen the Scorpions do this track terribly, but Schenker more than rescues it here, adding in some wonderfully bluesy soloing. The slow down of pace is also welcome after Rock Bottom. Not for long, though, because we're then straight into Blackout - a superbly energetic Scorpions number. Great guitar-work on this - tonally and pace-wise a bit like being ambushed by a runaway sawmill. None of the simean noodling, strangled onanism, or spandexed mincing of weak-toned stylophonic shred here - more like a Panza Tank with a broken silencer. Just what a biker-gang would want their hogs to sound like. You could do a wrong-turn and play this in a red necks bar in Texas, no problem. Then, to end the set, it's Doctor Doctor, which everybody knows and loves.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, we then get five bonus tracks from a different concert. Immediately, we're immersed into some kind of Messerschmidt engine testing room - such is the greatness of Schenker's guitar tone on Armed and Ready. It's industrial, it's weapon's grade - actually it's downright agricultural. Schenker puts the geology back into rock. Another Piece of Meat continues in the same vein (no pun intended) and assaults the ears like some kind of Strombolian eruption about three feet distant. We're then treated to another performance of Rock You Like a Hurricane, with guitars cranking up like the Santa Pod Raceway just moved into your lounge. Probably because we've got both Schenker brothers on stage now - which is a line-up I'd like to see MUCH more often, Michael and Rudolf. Come on lads: do a whole album together - you'll be sorry if you get to the end of your lives and haven't teamed up together properly, at least on one album! Just imagine it - it would be like a tectonic collision between two mountain ranges! To round off we've got Hanging On and Doctor Doctor. Personally, I love Hanging On. Along with Fallen Angel, it's my favourite track on Temple of Rock. As for Doctor Doctor, this rendition is even better than the other on TORL, and Michael plays beautifully on it.
In short, this is an outstanding live rock album, and probably my favourite of all of Schenker's live material. Definitely five-star material; definitely worth the very reasonable price. Why don't you have it already? - that's I want to know!
on 6 December 2012
Being a fan of Michael Schenker, the Scorpions & UFO this is a good little package. Some of Michael's solo's are a bit self-indulgent and to be honest having seen the scorpions many years ago i remember Herman being better on the drums than this album betrays.
Not sure about the singer, he sounds too like Biff Byford from Saxon and this is something I couldn't get out of my head. He's good but I kept waiting for 'Wheels of Steel' to play.
A good one to add to the collection for the purists but check out the MSG Budokan live album and UFO's strangers in the Night album if you want to hear thre very best of Michael Schenker live.