UFO (Live)

At The Empire, Middlesbrough, U.K., October 29, 2016

UFO (Live at The Empire, Middlesbrough, U.K., October 29, 2016)
Photo: Mick Burgess

With no new product to promote UFO decided to hit the road for a series of shows across the UK in places that they haven’t visited in some time and tonight it was the turn of Middlesbrough rather than its neighbour Newcastle to play host to UFO.

As one of the UK’s most enduring bands UFO have a back catalogue to envy. With the likes of Michael Schenker, Tonka Chapman and Pete Way all making their marks in UFO history it’s left to mainstays Phil Mogg, Paul Raymond and Andy Parker to fly the flag alongside long-term guitarist Vinnie Moore and bassist Rob Da Luca, who has the tricky task of filling the leopard printed skin-tight pants of the talismanic and much missed Pete Way.

With a respectably full hall for the show the anticipation was high for a night of classic British Hard Rock as the intro tape of SAHB’s Faith Healer bellowed out ahead of We Belong To The Night, a great choice of opener from the unfairly maligned Mechanix album.

UFO have in the past been accused of plundering the bulk of their set from their classic live opus, Strangers in the Night. It’s not surprising really when you consider that every single track on that album hits the mark right between the eyes and most bands would be happy with a couple of songs of that calibre, so why shouldn’t their set reflect their best material?

On recent tours there has been a move to including a fair few newer songs as well as a couple from the Tonka Chapman era following repeated calls from the fans. Makin’ Moves from The Wild, The Willing and The Innocent album was a welcome inclusion into the set along with Venus from their Schenker inspired reunion album Walk on Water while newer songs Fight Night and an impassioned Burn Your House Down kept the set nicely balanced.

Bizarrely however, the stage was laid out so that two ornate crash barriers screened two thirds of the stage leaving only the centre with a clear line of vision meaning that many in the crowd had a slightly obscured view. With a rather poorly illuminated stage and a somewhat muffled sound for Phil Mogg meant that a few in the crowd voiced their displeasure at the sound quality.

Crowd favourites Only You Can Rock Me, Lights Out and a heavyweight Love To Love calmed ruffled feathers. Guitarist Vinnie Moore shined brightly during Rock Bottom giving his own take on Schenker’s signature tune. A romp through Doctor Doctor and Shoot Shoot although predictable was nonetheless an enjoyable end to the set.

Sure UFO have had better nights and will play better sets in the future but they battled on bravely despite the sound and stage problems. With any luck they’ll be back again next year with a new album and a set highlighting material from right across their career.


  • 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.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.