At The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., October 29, 2021

Michael Schenker Group (Live at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., October 29, 2021)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Half a century is an impressive run in any business but in the fickle world of Rock ‘n’Roll, it is an incredible landmark to reach and legendary German guitar hero, Michael Schenker, was out for a party.

To warm the City Hall up first but who else, the Metal Queen, Doro and what a fine job she did with fist pumping anthems “Raise Your Fist” and “All For Metal” doing exactly what they say on the tin with Doro oozing charisma out front while flamboyant drummer Johnny Dee kept it tight at the back. A riotous romp through Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law” and an absolute barnstorming take on Warlock’s “All We Are” kept the cauldron at boiling point.

With two stints in German legends the Scorpions sandwiching a golden era with British Rock royalty UFO and then his own band Michael Schenker Group, Michael Schenker is rightly revered as one of the greatest guitar heroes of them all and tonight he showed just why.

After the instrumental “Ascension” loosened Schenker’s fingers it was straight for the throat and absolutely now messing as “Cry For The Nations” and the UFO gold plated classic “Doctor Doctor” punched like a prize fighter. Had Schenker pulled the trigger too soon? Certainly not, as the following two hours was packed with songs from right across his career.

“In Search Of The Peace Of Mind” took the City Hall right back to the start, a song written and recorded by Schenker for the Scorpions as a 16-year-old and fast forward 50 years to “After The Rain” from his recently released Immortal album.

Vocalist Ronnie Romero handled the variety of material impeccably, his rich, powerful voice breathing new life into “Assault Attack”, the moody slow Blues of “Rock You To The Ground” and an absolutely storming version of “Armed and Ready” which really fired up the crowd. No wonder Ritchie Blackmore picked him to front a new lineup of Rainbow a couple of years back.

The rarely played “Looking For Love” from 1981’s MSG album and the inspired instrumental “Into The Arena” took us back to the start of Schenker’s solo career rubbing shoulders with the more recent “Sail The Darkness” and “Warrior.”

Schenker was on fire throughout but the final straight took the show to a different level altogether as he cherry picked some of the finest moments from UFO’s classic Strangers In The Night live album with his piece de resistance “Rock Bottom” showing just why he so revered in Rock circles and with “Natural Thing”, “Shoot Shoot”, “Lights Out”, “Let It Roll” and “Only You Can Rock Me” sent everyone home in a state of near delirium. What a 50th birthday party this was.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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