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Boom Boom Club, Sutton, Surrey 17 January 2008

In many respects this Michael Schenker gig didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. After all Hannover's best has always been a major rock talent, but too often the application seemed to falter. But the really great thing about his appearance at the intimate environs of a packed Boom Boom Club was that he really seemed to be enjoying himself.

His Swedish band did him proud with vocalist Leif Sundin extending his vocal range across some scintillating Schenker guitar riffs and accompanying angular keyboard runs. In some respects his band pushed Schenker as close to Prog Rock as he's ever gone. In the event Michael adopted his traditional crouch position stage left, working on a number of fluid runs full of tone colourations, flighty riffs, and sustained notes.

And while he effortlessly ran though the full gamut of hard rock chords, each solo was attacked with vim and vigour and each note lasted just long enough to make its intent clear.

Make no mistake this wasn't a case of Schenker and a pick up backing band. On the contrary, the band worked our hero to the limit and Michael responded in kind leaning into each solo with a muscular dexterity and with a confidence born of some subtle tonal textures and effortless technical virtuosity. While a hundred players might repeat the same lines, Schenker proved himself to be a guitarist of rare versatility, imagination and a master of dynamics. Nothing was hurried, each groove was explored to the full and when called upon his flurries of notes were supreme.

He dug deep to make the most of such out and out favourites as 'Too Hot to Handle' and 'Ready to Rock', and further impressed with some lovely guitar flurries on 'Angel of Avalon' and he added some crunching riffs on the instrumental 'Into the Arena'. And as the gig gained an irrepressible momentum, Schenker seemed to loosen up and responded to his adoring crowd with a raucous 'Doctor Doctor' and an extended 'Rock Bottom' on which he demonstrated some mesmerising virtuosity.

Not too many surprises perhaps, but the fact that Michael Schenker delivered an energetic and totally committed performance in front of a rabid crowd was just about the best start imaginable to the new rock calendar.


Review by Pete Feenstra

Best of 2008

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