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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Michael Schenker – 'Temple of Rock - Live in Europe' DVD / CD review

Michael Schenker – 'Temple of Rock - Live in Europe' DVD / CD review
Released on: in-akustik label. Release date: Available everywhere.
 Yes folks, it’s my favourite guitarist once again, with yet more coverage here!
What can I say, Michael Schenker has been covering a lot of bases over the past few years, I don’t think he’s ever been so productive to be honest?!
It doesn’t seem that long ago (2010) that we got the Michael Schenker – Live in Tokyo 30th Anniversary DVD / CD / Blu-ray release, then in 2011 there was the ‘Temple of Rock’ album release supported by a huge worldwide tour, including the US that took in the Detroit suburbs twice, once in March (With Robin McAuley) and then again in October (With David Van Landing) last year. Great gigs both of them.
Review links here:
Michael of course then toured in-between US jaunts, over in Europe where he recorded this new release – Released late last year in Europe and in February here in the US. – which in fact captures two shows, the main concert was shot in Tilburg, Germany with the lineup of Schenker, Doogie White (Vocals), Wayne Findlay (Keys/Guitars/vocals), Francis Buchholz (Bass) and Herman Rarebell (Drums), along with special guest vocalist Michael Voss on one track.
Then there are a handful of songs captured at 2011’s High Voltage Festival in London, where Michael Voss takes on all the lead vocals, bar two songs where Voss calls out Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Journey, Talisman, Soul SirkUS) and Doogie White out onto the stage, to sing and then they also joined by Pete Way (UFO, Waysted) as well.

So anyway, this is a pretty good DVD and CD set, the Blu-ray sorry I cannot speak for as sadly I currently do not own a Blu-ray player, but don’t see the point to be honest, although in this case I understand that the Blu-Ray has extra bonus footage of the band in rehearsals in Brighton (England), before they went out ‘Live in Europe.’

Both formats open the same with William Shatner, yes he of Star Trek fame, speaking on the intro tape, basically the same as what starts the ‘Temple of Rock’ album, an anti-war speech, very different from his role in Star Trek as the stubborn reckless leader of the starship Enterprise!
Enough on the intro already!
The band opens with the M.S.G. classic instrumental favourite, ‘Into The Arena,’ a brilliant piece in anyone’s book, although Schenker does choose to play the guitar solo differently from what most people would recognize but the band still all pull it together to come back in tight, after it plays out.
Doogie White then joins the band onstage for ‘Armed and Ready’ and it’s funny, the first one or two times of playing this I’m thinking it just doesn’t sound right …, but I’ve come to accept it, after all, over the years Michael has had many strong vocalists with different styles front his band.
What’s a little funny is – and maybe it’s just me. – but at times the way he sings / phrases everything, he often reminds me of Saxon’s Biff Byford, no bad thing really, just interesting …
He is a little cheesy though with some of his lead in quips …, like “Good evening Tilburg … I just wanted to make you aware that we’ve had to put a barrier here at the front of the stage, for your protection, because you know we have three Scorpions here on stage! I think the best to do is go on a ‘Lovedrive,’ will you join me?!”
   It’s funny that you hear Herman count the three German’s in each time, counting in their native language. Nice!
They do the same for next track ‘Another Piece of Meat,’ both tracks played really well.
    Next up Doogie White introduces Michael Voss to step in for a song that he wrote with Michael along with the bulk of the songs on ‘Temple of Rock’ and the band kicks into ‘Hanging On.’
Voss quickly departs for the band to then play some classic M.S.G. material in ‘Cry For The Nations’ and ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.’
White gets another breather while the three former Scorpions alongside Michael’s ever faithful band mate Wayne Findlay play through the Scorpions instrumental, ‘Coast to Coast’ with a fresh interpretation.
Back to classic M.S.G. material for a solid ‘Assault Attack,’ before a newer Schenker song from the ‘Temple …’ album, ‘Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead.’
This was the track that Doogie did with Michael on the 'Temple of Rock' album and I thought sounded quite Dio like.
The band then briefly dive into Michael’s UFO history for ‘Light’s Out,’ before the wonderful ‘On and On’ from the excellent second M.S.G. album and then back to UFO for ‘Let it Roll’ and ‘Shoot Shoot!’
You know what’s great is it really shows the pedigree of Herman and Francis, as their playing on the UFO and M.S.G. tracks is great, top notch stuff although some of Doogie White’s interpretations of UFO songs, well … He’s far from close to Phil Mogg and the harmony / backing vocals sound perhaps not so strong on UFO tracks.
‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ sounds quite different sung by Doogie White and Herman even helps out in places on this one, especially with trying to get the audience to do their bit on the song. Sadly the German audience doesn’t want to sing much.
Back to UFO territory next with ‘Rock Bottom’ to close the set and Michael is well on his game, totally in his element, great stuff!
The band then comes back for a couple more Scorpion’s tunes, in the magical ‘Holiday’ which Doogie asks Tilburg to sing for him, as this is their song, although Doogie starts them off.
Michael’s guitar work sounds beautiful; I love this song, a real treat in a Michael Schenker set but again, with two other ex-Scorpions onboard for the show, totally justified to play.
It’s a different version though, as where on the original version the Scorpions get to the line, ‘Longing for the sun …,’ Michael takes it into a tasty guitar solo.
‘Blackout’ next rocks wonderfully!  
It’s a little funny when it comes to the chorus though as Doogie clearly expected the crowd to sing ‘Blackout, I really had a Blackout …,’ but alas no. Herman helps Doogie out from there on and it does sound a little off, but still a great song!
Finally the show is closed with ‘Doctor, Doctor,’ which is as fun as ever!
The ‘bonus concert’ is the five songs from 2011’s High Voltage festival, basically capturing ‘Armed and Ready,’ ‘Another Piece of Meat,’ ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane,’ ‘Hanging On’ and ‘Doctor, Doctor.’
The difference at this show was Elliott ‘Dean’ Rubinson takes the bass duties on, who toured the ‘Temple of Rock’ gigs in the USA, when I caught the Michael Schenker tour last year. Also Michael Voss on lead vocals for the most part and guitar from time to time, including the lead break on ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane,’ where Michael’s brother Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions comes out to jam with the band.
Rudolf stays onstage for ‘Hanging On’ and the all-star cast that performs ‘Doctor, Doctor,’ including Jeff Scott Soto, Doogie White and Pete Way.
It’s a fun closure to the High Voltage set.
The backstage bonus footage from before the Tilburg is pretty cool for the most part, looks like fun mostly, but Doogie seems a little awkward, when he asks Michael if he can sign something for a Scottish radio station, for a charity event and it’s like Michael doesn’t talk to Doogie, except for when Doogie asks Michael to do this.
Michael then afterwards, leaves ‘the band’ dressing room, to go into his own private room next door, before the footage then shows the band heading out onstage, sans Doogie, as he gets an extra five minutes while they are playing ‘Into the Arena.’
Doogie then does a little one on one with the film crew.
   So there you have it, both the DVD and CD are great sets to have and as I mentioned before, apparently the Blu-ray contains the bonus feature of the band in rehearsals in Brighton, from before any live dates.
There is a deluxe bundle too, of all three formats, so if you have the cash or are a die-hard Schenker fan that’s just got to have everything Schenker related, then go and track it down; although I do understand that there is a very limited amount of those.
 The two CD set, is great in the car and no doubt the Deluxe set would be a great gift for any Schenker fan!
I’m a Schenker fan, so this is all enjoyable to me, all the more so when Michael is so on his game, very enjoyable!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Michael Schenker official website:
This can be ordered through MVD Entertainment here: