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Astoria,London, 29 November 2006
A welcome return to London for the veteran rockers, and on form they were too.
The hall looked sold out, but was very slow to fill, partly due to the more rigorous body and bag searches being undertaken by security.
Opener Spike continued his theme of sleazy glam rock'n'roll peddled by his previous band, with songs 'Rise Above' and 'She's A Rolling Stone' going down well. The pace moved from fast to slow and back again.
The rockier numbers went down better, the cheesy organ sound on the slower tracks sounding odd at times. But when it picked up (using a banjo sound at one point, piano at others) it was magic. Spike's as husky as ever, and a bit of a comedian too. When heckled with “Fuck Off” his reply of “Come on then, I'm from Newcastle” raised a few laughs.
There were several references to his new album 'It's A Treat To Be Alive' and that CDs were available from the merchandise stand, because they're not in the shops.
Well received, well worth checking out.
During the change over I ran (literally) into Phil Mogg, who started singing karaoke style along to the Cream track 'Sunshine Of Your Love' playing over the tannoy at the time; “I can sing this one, you know” with a wry smile.
When UFO hit the stage, after a blues tune played over the darkness, the hall was heaving, the crowd erupting.
UFO kicked off in blistering fashion, with Paul Raymond adding a second guitar, adding keyboards, guitar and backing vocals throughout the evening.
The band were tight, energetic, original drummer Andy Parker back in the fold and sounding good. 'When Daylight Goes To Town” followed, and the uptempo 'Let It Roll' with some well fitting keyboards.
Vinnie Moore, at the melodic end of shred guitarists, fitted in well, and even made a quip or two into Mogg's mike during the latter's frequent witterings (which were welcome and amusingly captivating, including his demands for a decent beer). Phil Mogg is a good frontman, maybe not as energetic as he used to be but he talks to the crowd and his voice still sounds good. Maybe the talking allows the band to catch their breath? Who knows, it's still rock'n'roll.
UFO continued to play the finest hard rock, with classic tracks from the Force It album sitting well next to 'Hard Being Me' and 'Drink Too much' from the latest Monkey Puzzle album, and on this evidence it's well worth checking out.
Off came Mogg's shirt, and 'Only You Can Rock Me' and 'Baby Blue' (complete with acoustic intro) followed. Back to the classics with 'Lights Out' and 'Too Hot To Handle', and the main set finished with a very extended 'Rock Bottom'. During this we got a solo from guitarist Moore, probably way too long, but was kept listenable by the drums and bass that kept pass with it. If it had been pure shred, most would have left, but we were kept interested. Pete Way played his bass lying down too.
Back to 'Rock Bottom' and the band left the stage happy.
Encore, predictably, saw 'Doctor Doctor' and 'Shoot Shoot', but great versions of classic UFO.
Some say the old bands are the best. See UFO live, here's the proof.
Review by Joe Geesin
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