“40 years ago…” was a recurring measure, issuing forth from the mouth of German guitar legend, Michael Schenker, as hundreds stood at his beck and call in The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD on March 6, 2018. These past four decades have been marked by an illustrious career, housing notable acts such as M.S.G., UFO, and Scorpions. And with such a long, rich history, Schenker has had the opportunity to play with some fantastic groups of people. On this tour, we are being given the honor of meeting quite a few of those musicians! With a rock solid backing line-up of Ted McKenna (drums), Chris Glen (bass), and Steve Mann (guitars / keyboards), Michael is once again paired with vocalists spanning his career: Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, and Doogie White.
In a night that traversed decades, the audience was kept captivated with over 2 hours of hits. Though there was one Scorpions’ Lovedrive excursion, with the instrumental “Coast To Coast,” and a handful of UFO tracks which closed out the night, the vast majority were from M.S.G. (both the Michael Schenker Group and the McAuley Schenker Group). And with the recent release of Michael Schenker Fest’s Resurrection, which also saw these four vocalists singing separately and together, we were witness to a tag team match of musical proportions. Beginning with Gary Barden and progressing in the aforementioned order, the band tore through one crowd-pleaser after the next, with the proceeding vocalist appearing following instrumental segues. There were even times when several of these vocalists would appear at once, performing backup harmonies, and at the end of the show the entire stage was filled by all four frontmen.
Anyone in fear that the Mad Axeman won’t deliver should wipe such ill-conceived notions from their mind. Standing at the rear of the venue with Josh Schwartz, the guitarist for the sole opener for that evening, A Sound Of Thunder, he remarked how big of a fan of Schenker’s he was. He commented, awestruck, at the amazing abilities of the Blonde Bomber’s vibrato technique, and how difficult it is to pull off to the degree being exhibited. After the stunning performance A Sound Of Thunder put on, and in particular Schwartz’s obvious talent on the six-string, long-time fans and guitar-playing enthusiasts alike should enjoy the show just as much as we did. Do yourselves a favor and catch this class act as they continue their North American trek.
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