Right from the get go, the overblown theatre of a voice intoning a plea to the audience over a darkened and silent stage, you just know that this is going to be over the top: and it is. Gloriously, loudly and with a total lack of any sense of irony. Just about every cliché in the book is here, from the shredding intro to the Flying V’s and the tattoos this is rock: classic and unashamed. With the volume turned low there is an annoying buzz coming from the speakers which resolves into pounding drums, riffing axes and screaming solos when you turn the wick up and coupled with Doogie White’s vocals this is simply irresistible. Schenker has always been one of the great shredders but he needs a great vocalist to bring the best out of him and Doogie White – the nearest thing I have heard to a cross between Alex Harvey and Meatloaf (a good thing!) – he has a perfect vocal foil. The rest of the band are no slouches either: Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Bucholz (bass) both play with Schenker in the Scorpions and Wayne Findlay adds some fine keyboards alongside his rhythm guitar duties. The tracklisting won’t provide any shocks – ‘Armed And Ready’ is followed by ‘Lovedrive’ and a hammering ‘Another Piece of Meat’ before you have had a chance to pause for breath but if you were expecting any different then there is another Michael Schenker out there. ‘Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead’ is stunning but the best number here is ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ running into a blistering ‘Rock Bottom’ The bonus tracks from High Voltage are pretty fine, with Michael Voss on lead vocals This is all about rock excess: too loud, too fast and too brightly lit but that is what you sign up and he does do it better than most.
Michael Schenker: Temple of Rock - Live in Europe” is released on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and Ltd Deluxe Edition by inakustik. Schenker’s Temple of Rock UK tour starts 9th April 2013. Book online: www.thegigigcartel.com, Ticket Hotline: 0844 478 0898. Further info: www.michaelschenkerhimself.com.
Stockton on Tees ARC (April 9) Aberdeen Lemon Tree (April 10) Edinburgh HMV Picturehouse (April 11) Newcastle o2 Academy (April 12) Holmfirth Picturedrome (April 13) Warrington Parr Hall (April 14) Falmouth Princess Pavilion (April 16) Bristol o2 Academy (April 17) Salisbury City Hall (April 18) Oxford o2 Academy (April 19) Nottingham Rock City (April 20) Norwich Waterfront (April 21) London o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (May 31)