Review by Tim Read
There is a very healthy turnout at Nottingham’s Rock City tonight for what is being hailed as UFO’s last Tour. The band will be remembered by the rock fraternity as one of the greatest melodic rock bands of all time, which also included one of the finest guitarists of a generation, Mr Michael Schenker, along with a lengthy list of great timeless albums.
Billed as The Last Orders Tour, the pub bell rings as the band take to the stage and launch into ‘Mother Mary’. Straight away it’s obvious that Phil Mogg is in fine vocal form, to my ears he gets better with age. The sound is full, unlike their last tour, which is a relief because we want to see the band firing on all cylinders for their final tour.
‘We Belong To The Night’ from the Tonka Chapman years is next, which reminds us that the band were still writing great songs after Schenker’s departure. This leads us into the first track of current guitarist Vinnie Moore’s era. Vinnie was a great choice by the band to hire. He has all the chops needed to take the guitarists position in UFO, plus it helps him show that he is a writer of good classic rock tunes. A perfect partner for Mogg’s underrated lyrics and vocal melodies. ‘Run Boy Run’ and in particular ‘Baby Blue’ show that the band can still write great songs in their later years. In fact ‘Baby Blue’ is one of the main highlights of the set; a beautiful acoustic guitar intro allows the listener to hear Phil’s wonderful rich vocal tone to shine through, as Moore switches seamlessly to electric and back during the course of the song.
‘Lights Out’ gets the Nottingham crowd going back to the 70’s listening to one of the greatest live albums of all time, Strangers In The Night. We get a cracking ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and lots of laughs from Phil as he calls out the wrong tunes, winding up Vinnie a little, and making his own unique observations on the night’s shenanigans.
By the time keyboard/guitarist Paul Raymond plays the opening chords of ‘Love To Love’, the band have the crowd in the palm of their hands. ‘Love To Love’ is the band’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’; a fantastically written song with heartfelt lyrics from Mr Mogg. Moore’s solo is sublime. He possesses a wonderful fluid style. Yes he plays a lot of notes but he mixes it up with some really nice slow embellishments.
‘Making Moves’ leads into another highlight, ‘Too Hot To Handle’, with Moore showboating, playing his guitar behind his head. The last song of the main set can only be ‘Rock Bottom’ which was Schenker’s masterpiece. Moore gets to shine, and it’s testament to Mogg’s confidence in his role of leader and main man, that he allows Moore to play possibly too many lengthy solos, but UFO was a guitar heroes type of band. The boys seem happy all night with lots of smiling faces between every member, and when Messrs Mogg, drummer Andy Parker, Raymond, Moore, and bass player Rob de Luca, take their well earned applause at the end of the set, you just hope that the band will return for selective festivals and still record albums. As they proved with A Conspiracy Of Stars, they still have something to offer classic rock fans.
For our encore we get the big hit ‘Doctor Doctor’ then live favourite ‘Shoot Shoot’ and that’s it. The crowd show the band their appreciation of a group who have given the rock fan fifty years of wonderful songs, showmanship, wild legendary stories, and who have been an influence to many rock bands.
Thank You Guys
We Belong To The Night
Run Boy Run
Only You Can Rock Me
Burn Your House Down
Love To Love
Too Hot To Handle
Tim Read will be known to many from his time as guitarist with Chrome Molly and Limehouse Lizzy. He now fronts his own tribute to John Sykes playing the music of Thin Lizzy, Sykes & Whitesnake in Syked. Syked play Worcester Marrs Bar on Friday 5th April. He has also recently completed an album of new original material; ‘Read Out Loud‘, which is due for release in the near future.