Michael Schenker is an enigma wrapped in mystery. A concert that lasted an hour and forty-five minutes, and not a single word from him to the audience. No a hello, not a good-bye, not a single song introduction. He played the entire gig in an almost trance-like state, with his eyes barely open. His playing, however, was spot-on. He nailed guitar solos note-for-note from the recorded versions of his solo work and Scorpions and UFO songs. So it’s best not to analyze the “why,” but instead focus on the result.
Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, as his band is known, made a stop at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA on the promotional tour celebrating the release of his latest album Bridge The Gap. He will be returning to the U.S. later in the year to much bigger venues with his ex-Scorpions bandmates Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholz, but for this tour of smaller clubs he was joined by longtime collaborators Rev Jones on bass and Pete Holmes on drums. Also in the band is another longtime sidekick, guitarist/keyboard player Wayne Findley. In a recent interview with Screamer, Schenker said one of the purposes of this mini-tour was to introduce new vocalist Doogie White to audiences in the U.S. Sure enough, on the backdrop behind the drum kit was a banner featuring the band logo and the inscription “Album Promotion Tour Featuring Doogie White.”
White is not only a hell of a singer, he’s also a great showman. The Coach House is an odd venue in that there isn’t an open floor where people stand and watch the band. Rather, there are long lines of tables, as if it was a huge community picnic. Early in the gig, when the laid back crowd would have been more than content to remain seated at the tables the entire night, pity the poor suckers in White’s visual range who refused to stand up. White would stand on stage, arms folded across his chest, with laser beam eyes on the holdouts until they were shamed into getting on their feet.
So that’s the setup. As for the set list, other than two songs from the new album, it was a “greatest hits” package of MSG, Scorpions and UFO songs. Armed And Ready, Assault Attack, Cry For The Nations and Attack Of The Mad Axeman were early in the gig, getting the audience warmed up. The two Scorpions tunes performed were Lovedrive and Another Piece of Meat. The final half-hour of the night was devoted to the best of Schenker’s UFO-era work. UFO was one of the greatest hard rock bands of the ‘70’s, and all of the most memorable songs were performed at the Coach House, much to the delight of the crowd—even the grumpiest of the holdouts were on their feet at this point. Only You Can Rock Me, Let It Roll, Too Hot To Handle, Lights Out, Rock Bottom and Doctor Doctor. The band then took their bows and filed off stage, with the audience realizing how rare a treat it was to see an artist of Michael Schenker’s caliber in such a small venue.
See More Photos from the Show HERE