If you’re going to raise the curtain of your own gig with some other band’s classic tune then you’d better get the right song to show your intentions. Michael Schenker with his latest outfit, Temple of Rock, got that – and just about everything else – right at the Liverpool o2 Academy, deciding that AC/DCs Highway to Hell fitted the mood perfectly before storming onto the stage with Flying V in hand to rip into UFOs Doctor Doctor, as former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White took proceedings to new heights.
If there is anything better on a chilly winter night than the buzz and adrenaline created by a Metal impresario like Schenker at full throttle then it needs to be bottled because, from first to last, the audience lapped it all up as hit-after-hit, classic after classic rumbled through the amps at near deafening volume.
Lights Out, Natural Thing and a rip roaring Too Hot to Handle all harkened back to the German guitarist’s time with UFO, but it wasn’t also their work who were given the nod as Scorpions Lovedrive and Coast to Coast and MSGs Victim of Illusion and Attack of the Mad Axemen were given the full Schenker treatment.
But to say that this was solely a trip down Nostalgia Lane would be completely wrong. Temple of Rock also know how to roll, with their second album Spirit on a Mission being brilliantly served by searing versions of Live and Let Live, Vigilante Man and Communion all testifying to the fact that years in the business have not diluted the man’s creativity, passion or dynamism one iota. Listen to the solo during Rock Bottom or the magnificence of his mastery of the Twin neck on Silver Machine and you will hear just why this man is so revered amongst his peers and fans alike.
Prowling the stage, hunched like an animal Leonardo di Caprio should be wary of, Schenker built an almost instant affinity with the masses who had arrived to pay homage at his Rock Altar so that, as one, they roared out their approval with almost the same gusto of each lick and riff he provided.
Aided by an exemplary four piece band who clearly revelled in the occasion and who were tighter than the skimpiest of g-strings, Temple of Rock provided exquisite examples of how Rock music should be played and delivered so much more than a Rock gig but rather an event that will live for a very a long time in the memory.
Michael Schenker: Temple of Rock
Liverpool o2 Academy
Tuesday January 26th, 2016
PR Rating: ***** Gigantic