UFO (Live)

At Stormin' The Castle, Durham, U.K., September 1, 2007

Stormin’ The Castle is the premier motorbike rally in North England, set in the grounds of Witton Castle in County Durham. Since its inception in 1990, it has grown in stature year by year and now features a fairground, numerous shops, a custom bike show, and bars (obviously) along with two tents featuring musical entertainment from the region and beyond. You can hear varying styles — Rockabilly, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blues, and Hard Rock. Tonight it was UFO’s turn to entertain the hoard of bikers who’d been camping … and drinking since the morning before.

UFO are the perfect act for a festival such as this. Their down-to-earth showmanship and catchy Hard Rocking songs are just what the doctor ordered after a day on the beer.

Kicking off with the magnificent “Mother Mary,” UFO hit the stage with four fifths of the classic lineup that recorded the seminal live opus Strangers In The Night, with only hot shot guitarist Vinnie Moore stepping in a few years back to replace the increasingly erratic Michael Schenker. It must be said that Vinnie Moore was outstanding throughout the night. With a reputation as a bit of a widdle merchant prior to joining UFO, he has really grown into the role and delivered solos of subtlety and melody when needed and can let rip at the right moment too. His versatility and reliability are a real asset to UFO.

“Daylight Comes To Town” was quickly followed by “Let It Roll” and “I’m a Loser,” and Pete Way, surely the ultimate Rock ‘n’ Roll bass player, looks like he’s had a couple of jars in the bar before the show and spends most of the time hogging the limelight in the fashion that only Way can. With a bass slung so low it’s amazing that he doesn’t trip over it, he spends as much time punching the air or pointing at the crowd as he does playing his bass.

Phil Mogg, all dressed suavely in black, looked very fit and could pass for a man half his age. His laid back delivery and dry, between song banter is as entertaining as usual and ensures that an easy-going hearty atmosphere is maintained throughout. On the ballad “Baby Blue,” Mogg excelled vocally.


“Hard Being Me,” one of the two songs aired from the excellent Monkey Puzzle opus features a great, dirty Blues riff and slide guitar from Paul Raymond. Although the likes of Mogg and Way take the lion’s share of the attention in the band, UFO simply would not be UFO without Raymond’s contributions. Whether on rhythm guitar or backing vocals or via providing the coloring to the songs with his keyboards, Raymond is an essential part of the UFO sound.


The bulk of the show was taken up with cuts from Strangers In The Night and no-one can argue with the likes of “Only You Can Rock Me,” “Lights Out,” a stunning “Love To Love” where Vinnie Moore really shined, and “Too Hot To Handle.”

Closing the set was the mammoth “Rock Bottom,” built around a fantastic cutting riff and the sparkling trademark UFO melody; this had the crowd well and truly Rocking. Again Moore easily stepped out from the shadow cast by Schenker. He has fit into UFO so well you’d think he’d been there from the very beginning when he ambled over to a prostrate Pete Way during his showpiece solo to give him a boot as he lay on the floor for what seemed like several minutes. A puzzled Way looked up in surprise and rose to his feet without missing a note. Only UFO can do this! Those rough, unpredictable edges that UFO produce on stage are exactly the reason why they are a much-loved British institution.


Returning to the stage for timeless encores, including “Doctor Doctor,” UFO delivered the perfect medicine to get the crowd bouncing as midnight came and went. As the final strains of “Shoot Shoot” rose into the night, UFO proved once again what an entertaining live band they are, and they certainly went down a storm at this superbly organized Bikers Festival.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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