The night kicks off with a young band, Exit state. Despite the audience consisting mainly of more mature fans, they go down very well and get plenty of applause from the large crowd (the venue was almost full even before they came on). I really enjoyed the band's set and songs like "Check out the crazy" were impressive - definitely a band worth checking out if you get chance.
No matter how good Exit State were though, the man people really wanted to see was tonights headliner, Michael Schenker. Tonight he has an all-star band, and what a lineup we have - as well as Michael Schenker, we have two more former members of the Scorpions - Herman Rarebell, and Francis Buchholz, Wayne Findlay (MSG) and former Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen singer Doogie White. That's some serious talent there, and with three former Scorpions it's the best we seem likely to get anytime soon as The Scorpions are so far avoiding the UK on their long farewell tour.
As longtime fans of Michael SChenker will know, his shows have ranged from pure brilliance to a car-crash, but these days he seems to have put the bad times behind him and is on blinding form tonight. At Hard Rock Hell in December he was very good, but seemed a little remote, spending most of his time lurking at the back of the stage, but tonight there's none of that - he looks to be having a great time on stage and a couple of times comes forward past the monitors to stand at the very front of the stage near the crowd. He also interacts with the rest of the band and generally seems to really enjoy the show. His playing is flawless and really shows why he is considered as a true guitar legend.
Tonight's set includes a mix of his solo stuff, UFO songs, and Scorpions songs. Surprisingly despite the tour being billed as "Michael Schenker Temple of Rock" we only get one song from the Temple of rock album (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead). From the Scorpions albums we get "Lovedrive" and "Another piece of meat" early on before "Rock you like a hurricane" comes out near the end of the set and sends the crowd wild. We get UFO songs including "Lights out", "let it roll", and "shoot shoot" before the set closes with a storming version of "Rock Bottom".
After a brief wait they return to the stage for the encore. Doogie White gets a rest for the first song - the Scorpions classic "Holiday" as the crowd did most of the singing. After that we get another Scorpions song, "Blackout", before the night ends with the UFO classic "Doctor Doctor"
A superb night of music - if you get chance to see Michael Schenker on tour then go - it's a show not to be missed.
Exit State setlist:
Check out the crazy
I know where you are
Death of a rock star
Michael Schenker setlist:
Into the Arena
Armed and Ready
Another Piece of Meat
Cry for the Nations
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Coast to Coast
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
On and On
Let It Roll
Rock You Like a Hurricane