Anniversary outing for riff-meister...
The 30th Anniversary Tour marks something of a renaissance for Michael Schenker and this DVD does a great job bringing his story up to date.
The gig, recorded in Japan in January 2010, is a good entrée for anyone who has missed out on his journey, first with Scorpions then with UFO and then on his own with the Michael Schenker Group or MSG which at various times has had Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley on vocals.
It's Barden to whom Schenker returned after Bonnet's disastrous exit from the band on the eve of the Reading Festival in 1983. One suspects there are many stories to be told, although maybe not on a commercial DVD release. So the bonus material, including rehearsal footage and interviews with Schenker and his band members, only skirts the surface of his 40 year career.
The last decade may yet be airbrushed from his history books but I am sure 2009/10 will be viewed as a turning point in his fortunes. Having chatted to Schenker for a GRTR! Radio special, there is a honesty that comes across - he's trying to please no-one but follow his own inclination at any given time.
If that means his recent career has been a little haphazard, it doesn't hide the fact that he continues to produce some satisfying albums but on his own terms. And by his own admission he is now starting to enjoy being on stage, which - after 40 years - must be some sort of revelation.
This two-hour plus DVD including extras is a superb statement and as you'd expect, the sound quality is wonderful. It's nothing more than a trawl through the greatest hits, with just a few more recent tracks by way of update.
Ably aided by one-time MSG staffers, Neil Murray and Simon Phillips, even Murray expresses surprise that he was chosen for this gig in favour of Chris Glen (who with Chris Slade accompanied Schenker on the December 2009 UK leg). However, their seasoned expertise enhances this performance making it truly 'A Night To Remember'.
Review by David Randall
David Randall chats to Michael Shenker, The Guitarists, Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sunday 10 October, 18:00