'Showtime' CD reviews and Interviews

Rating: 8/10

Written By: Ken Pierce (copyright 2005) for PiercingMetal.com

The music of UFO has long been a reference point in many of the popular Hard Rock and Metal band histories and you read about this in interview after interview. This might be the case because the band is perhaps one of the best Hard Rock acts to have ever come around and the fact that they still perform today is a statement on its own. For many years legendary guitarist Michael Schenker was a part of the band but through it all the signature bluesy voice of Phil Mogg gave this band the consistency that it still holds strong to this day. After years of lineup changes the band now finds three core original members (Phil Mogg, Pete Way and Paul Raymond) and the addition of dynamic players to round out the lineup. On guitar is Vinnie Moore who is a legend in his own right and admits an inspiration from Schenker as do most guitarists. The drumming is adeptly handled by Jason Bonham, son of the one and only John Bonham. Many will state that this is the strongest lineup that the band has had since the days that Schenker a member. The double DVD Set brings you to the front row for a performance the band did in Wilhelmshaven Germany at the club “Pumpverk”. All around 2004 the group was supporting their SPV Records release “You Are Here”. There is a lot to enjoy on this straight live shoot and USA fans who got to see the band will appreciate the fact that they finally are able to see Pete Way perform. The reason for Pete’s absence in the States was due to some VISA problems and as a result he had to remain in England. In his place for those shows was bassist Barry Sparks who seemed to fit right in very well.

I was lucky to cover one of the appearances of the band in the States and I totally enjoyed the presentation. This fact made watching the DVD ever so much more a pleasure as I had never seen them before and now was getting the chance to relive the recent experience in the comfort of home. Those that know the band already understand that it is not about the visual end of things with this group and more the overall performance of quality Rock. The viewer that expects visual dynamite will be disappointed because there is not any of that present. What you do get is 16 tracks from the bands catalog that feature not only a comprehensive collection of their staple numbers, but also a nice sampling from the new record. I found the mix to be a great amount of new and old that allowed new fans to get a great background in a short time and still keep the interest of the classic fans. While they were one of those bands that I never got to see more than one time, I always loved the music that they dealt out. My favorites lean to the classic years with numbers like “Too Hot Too Handle”, “Lights Out”, and “Only You Can Rock Me”. All of these and much more are delivered to excellence on the DVD and truly the combination of Moore and Bonham really comes to the front on these classics. Jason Bonham has proven himself more than worthy of the legendary name and Vinnie Moore performs in such a fashion that you would imagine Schenker himself drawing a smile.

The group released a CD on the same day as the DVD but this product only has the live concert and none of the extras that you will find here. A fantastic amount of bonus features are present and those alone make it worth picking up. DVD1 is the main concert piece and some bonus material while DVD2 begins with the band being recorded live in the studio for 6 numbers. Those songs are a nice addition and should go over good with the fan base. I have to say that overall this was a very easy to appreciate block of music and while I often feel that releases such as this should be one big package, the extras make it acceptable to have them sold individually. This is a recommendation for any fans of good Rock and Roll who also might be interested in the historic side of things. If you don’t like that sort of thing you can always just grab the CD. Either way you will be entertained and pleased.

Bonus Features: The band has a rich and illustrious history and many stories are outlined in the documentaries that are included. There are two such documentaries with one being on band history and the other on the USA Tour in 2004. There is a sufficient amount of candid Interviews and a making of the concert and studio tracks. Slideshows, discographies and extra biographical information wrap up this very well-done section of the package.

Official Web Site: www.Danzig-Verotik.com

copyright Piercing Metal

CD Review

Rating: 7/10

Written By: Ken Pierce (copyright 2005) for PiercingMetal.com

Capturing the performance of UFO recorded at “Pumpwerk” in Wilhelmshaven Germany this CD comes to use as the direct companion to the DVD bearing the same name. The band had toured extensively for the SPV Records release of “You Are Here” which was a solid Rock And Roll album full of classy hooks and soulful vocals. Truly the lineup with Mogg, Way, and Raymond from the original band was brought to an even tighter level with the help of new members Jason Bonham and Vinnie Moore. With Moore and Bonham handling the guitar and drums the band seemed to be at a great level as Moore is a guitar players dream in his own right and Bonham holds the legacy of Led Zeppelin’s famous skin pounder John. Phil Moggs voice has not changed all that much over the years and when a band continues after many lineup changes that same presence makes sure that it holds a level of consistency and doesn't lose their audience. This consistency shows profoundly on legendary songs such as “Too Hot Too Handle”, “Lights Out”, and “Only You Can Rock Me”. These are not only my favored tracks on the recording but my favorite UFO songs altogether. Fans of the group will find a sufficient amount of the classic material present on this CD as well as new songs from the album. A nice mix all around and an excellent production that allows you to feel as if the band is present should you set the volume just right. Fans who have not heard Moore in the live sense or at all will definitely appreciate how well he handles the Schenker era material as well. The entire groove of the live show is held together by the very solid drumming of Jason who really has come a long way in his playing. He also helps out on the vocals.

An eight page color booklet loaded with photos is enclosed along with an extensive essay by Mattias Mineur that brings you up to date on the history of the group. Given this is the first recording of a live show in 26 years it makes for good reading. Given that there is a companion DVD to this I would have to say that this CD is really something I would only buy if you are a completist. I was fine with the DVD but I personally prefer a concert video as opposed to an album of it. The music is quality but I enjoyed the overall presentation on the DVD so much that this did not hold my interest as much as I had expected. Fans who like the audio versus the video more so will lean to this or perhaps those that just want a great selection of Rock classics to keep in the car for those jaunts about town. Either way UFO does not disappoint.


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