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Michael Schenker Group - Rockpalast Hardrock Legends Vol. 2: Markethalle Hamburg, Germany Jan. 24, ’81

Label: MIG
Format: CD/DVD
Released: 2010
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8/ 10

Sherman, set the Way-Back machine for the early Eighties. Time was, the metal world was agog at former UFO/ex-Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker’s new solo project. The second in Rockpalast’s Hardrock Legends series, this CD/DVD combination, captures a vibrant band, onstage in Germany. Originally aired on Deutche television, thirty years later, the rest of the globe gets a chance to replace that fuzz VHS bootleg recording so many of us have since stuffed away in the closet. At the end of the year, MSG would head to Japan, where they recorded what many consider the pinnacle of Schenker’s career, "One Night In Budokan", so Germany was a tune up, playing all the tracks off the debut (minus the instrumental ‘Bijou Pleasurette’ and ‘Tales Of Mystery’), plus four UFO classics, ‘Natural Thing’, ‘Rock Bottom’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Doctor Doctor’.


Both the CD and DVD booklets contain the same minimalist info (in German and English) and odd black and white photos (despite the film actually being in color). While the cavernous Markethalle (been there in person) occasionally makes for dark imagery (especially the non-Schenker/vocalist Gary Barden footage), the show features the leather jacketed German guitarist hunched over, headbanging throughout, playing his trademark white Flying V, with black panel. Love hearing that guitar sing during the solo in ‘Cry For The Nations’, and he get close-up of the mad axeman’s fingers. Rudimentary 80s graphics pop up throughout the 65 minute telecast, telling the uninformed viewer which song is being performed. Bassist Chris Glen doubles on all sorts of keyboards (piano, Hammond, synth), UFO transplant Paul Raymond adds left-handed guitar and the late Cozy Powell keeps everything together behind the kit. Five songs in, Barden strips off his white dress jacket (ironic, since Graham Bonnet, eventually to replace Barden in MSG, was also renown for such a get-up, back to his Rainbow days). Raymond’s big moment is introducing the other band members, prior to the instrumental showcase, ‘Into The Arena’. Listen to that sustain! The CD version of ‘Doctor Doctor’ is about 90 seconds shorter than the video, but don’t fret, they’ve edited out the encore audience clapping and a Barden’s re-introduction of the band. No big audio loss. During the concluding ‘Lights Out’, Raymond boards Barden’s shoulders, ala Angus and Brian Johnson (AC/DC). Shame there isn’t anything more!

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