Michael Schenker heats up B.B. King Club NYC 1-22-14

There are few guitarists in last 40 years of hard rock and heavy metal as prolific as Germany’s Michael Schenker.  His career began with the Scorpions, later becoming a key member of UFO during the 1970’s, revisiting the group again in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Through the years Schenker has maintained a strong solo career along with his other project, the Michael Schenker Group. With the release of his new studio album entitled Bridge The Gap (2013), Schenker announced he’d be touring the USA in 2014 in support of the new material. On Thursday January 22nd, an evening after a snowstorm walloped NYC, a standing room only crowd packed B.B. Kings Club to warm up with Schenker and his grand guitar spectacular.

Opening with the new track “Neptune Rising”, he set the bar high with it’s heavy structure and spectacular guitar work. Scottish vocalist Doogie White (formerly of Rainbow), sounded powerful and soared through the performance with ease. The crowd was engaged from the beginning with all eyes on Schenker and his band of seasoned musicians including Rev Jones (bass), Pete Holmes (drums), Wayne Findlay (seven string guitar/keyboards). Mixing new and old tracks was a treat for fans, given them a broad tour of Schenker’s work including seven Michael Schenker Group songs, two Scorpion songs, and seven UFO songs. The crowd roared immensely when the band went into the UFO song “Armed and Ready” early in the set which kept the excitement level high. The performance of the Scorpions “Lovedrive” and “Another Piece of Meat” hit the crowd with a splash of classic rock not only enjoyable to the ear but expectation to observe as well. Schenker’s guitar abilities have not wain at all in the course of his career and in fact his playing is as strong as ever.

Bringing the crowd back into his more present material, White introduced the track “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” from 2011 which he dedicates to the late great Ronnie James Dio. The song resonated through the room and really hit hard musically as well as emotionally. Continuing along the trend of new material Schenker played another new song entitled “Horizons”.  Electrifying and fresh, the new material meshed nicely with the older classics which preceded them.

The set then delved into the UFO chapter of Schenker’s career, with a total of seven in a row, including “Only You Can Rock Me” and “Lights Out”. White continued to impress vocally providing excellent range through these memorable tunes. After an already unforgettable evening Schenker and company came out for a encore of “Rock Bottom, highlighted by an attention grabbing 3 minute guitar solo.   With everyone’s blood pumping the set closed out with the favorite “Doctor Doctor”.  Fans filed out of B.B. Kings into the subzero temperature warmed by the performance of this guitar legend.  With 10 dates left on this trek it’s highly recommended if you are an appreciator of classic rock n roll to get yourself tickets before it’s too late.

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