April 25, 2014
Arcada Theatre, St Charles, IL
By Colonel Angus

All photos by Colonel Angus

Michael Schenker has had a long relationship with the Chicagoland area; probably since the release of one of the greatest live albums, Strangers in The Night.  So it should come as no surprise that the Arcada Theatre was packed to the rafters
with fans ready to pay homage at the Temple of Rock.

Things started off with UFO classic “Doctor Doctor” and proceeded to touch on many aspects of his career.  The 18 song set list featured other UFO classics which... let’s face it... many in the crowd expected.  There was no way that the band could have gotten out of the building without playing “Lights Out” and “Rock Bottom”.  Schenker and company were more than happy to oblige plus they also performed “Natural Thing” and “Let It Roll”.  Early MSG material was a little on the light side with only “Victim Of Illusion” and “Armed And Ready” getting any stage time.  I can’t really blame them as there is a lot of material to cover but I was surprised Michael’s signature song “Attack Of The Mad Axeman” did not get played.  I was extremely pleased that they did mix in a good chunk of Schenker’s Temple Of Rock material.  We got “Lord Of The Lost And Lonely” and “Where The Wild Wind Blows” from the "Bridge The Gap" album and “Live And Let Live” and “Vigilante Man” from their new disk Spirit On A Mission.  They even dedicated “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” to Ronnie James Dio.  That cut was from the initial Temple Or Rock record. 

The biggest surprise of the evening was the inclusion of 6 Scorpions numbers.  While Michael Schenker may have been a part of the band for the "Lonesome Crow" and "Lovedrive" records, they performed music from albums that he
did not make an appearance on.  This was probably due to the rhythm section being Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell.  They played half of the "Lovedrive" CD with “Another Piece Of Meat”, “Coast To Coast”, and the title track going down a storm.  For the encore they played a truncated version of “Holiday” along with the complete track “Blackout”.  “Rock You Like  A Hurricane” was another odd choice but ultimately, the fans (myself included) loved every note the band played.

As I mentioned earlier, the rhythm section consisting of Rarebell and Buchholz was awesome.  They have lost none of their craft and they really seemed like they were enjoying themselves throughout the show. Wayne Findlay, who has been a staple of Schenker’s band for quite some time, not only provided keyboards and rhythm guitar but was given the spotlight to provide some great lead work.  Even though he was suffering from a cold a few days earlier, Doogie White sounded great.  He really is the voice of the Temple Of Rock and at this point, I think Schenker should finish his career with him on vocals; not that I think he should think about retirement any time soon. 

The main reason the show was sold out is because Michael Schenker was in the house.  Let’s face it, he is the reason we all attended the show.  I have been going to his concerts since 1984 and I have to say, he is playing better than ever.  These last five years have been sort of an awakening in his playing and he really seems to be enjoying himself.

Walking out of the show, I spoke with a couple of fans and they agreed with me that Schenker has been playing exceptionally well as of late.  With the quality of this last performance, I can say that I most certainly will be back next time Schenker and company make to the Chicagoland area.  Based on the crowd’s reaction, I won’t be alone.