Guitar Legend Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock Invades New Hampshire!

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Being a long-time fan of the metal-rock band UFO, I had waited (I won’t confess as to how many years) a long time to finally see the guitar legend of that band and one of my favorite players, Michael Schenker... the Blonde Bomber with the Flying-V (although now a Dean V and not his traditional Gibson V). I finally got to witness Schenker and his new band, Temple of Rock, at the Jewel nightclub in Manchester, New Hampshire, an intimate club with an open-floor concept and select table-seating along the far walls.

Review by Joe Milliken * Photos by Randy Dickson 1. Doogie White, Francis Buchholtz and Michael Schenker (l to r) 2. Schenker and his Flying-V 3. Wayne Findlay, White, Buchholtz 4. Schenker close up!

With a new album on the streets, Spirit on a Mission, Michael’s new band features a lineup of seasoned veterans including original members of the Scorpions in Herman Rarebell on drums and Francis Buchholz on bass, one-time singer for Rainbow in Doogie White and Wayne Findlay on guitar and keyboards, who has been in Michael’s band for nearly 20 years.

On this Sunday night in late April, the house was filled with rabid Schenker/UFO fans as I and my friend, Steve, (who just so happened to introduce me to UFO’s music many moons ago) maneuvered our way from the back of the club to about the equivalent of a seventh row spot... after enduring three, not-so-impressive (sorry) opening acts and a bunch of pumped-up rockers working for position on the floor. However, it was all worth it once Schenker and company hit the stage!

Donning his customary leather stage attire and wielding his aforementioned black-and-white Flying-V, Schenker's band did not disappoint from the get-go, knocking out a set of classic metal-rock spanning Michael’s entire 40-plus year career in music.... which even included a couple curveballs.

When the purple curtain opened the band immediately broke into the first of several UFO classics with “Doctor Doctor,” which got the house of UFO faithful rockin’ early, followed by a song from the new album, “Live and Let Live” and then, another UFO favorite, “Lights Out,” showcased by a blistering solo from Michael.

After another new track titled “Where the Wind Blows,” the band really started finding a groove with the UFO gem “Natural Thing” and back-to-back tracks from the original Michael Schenker Group (MSG) in “Victim of Illusion” and “Armed and Ready.” And the crowd went nuts!

After a brief “Hello Manchester!” greeting from lead singer Doogie White, the band then dug into some seriously vintage Scorpions with “Lovedrive,” the surprising “Coast To Coast” and one of this reviewer’s favorites in “Another Piece of Meat,” all three tracks coming from the 1979 album that Michael appeared on with of course, original Scorps’ Rarebell and Buchholz titled Lovedrive. And the crowd went nuts!

“Vigilante Man” was another track off the new album, a slower burning number with a low-tone groove framing a smoking Schenker solo, before the high-octane UFO-rocker “Let It Roll” once again, had the crowd raising their level to meet the moment. A track from the band’s previous album,Bridge The Gap, titled “Lord of the Lost and Lonely,” also had an epic, mid-evil feel with fluid rhythms behind Schenker’s powerful riffs.

Next up was another surprise with the 80’s Scorpions’ hit “Rock You Like A Hurricane” - a surprise simply because Schenker did not play on this original track with Rarebell and Buchholtz - before the crowd went into a frenzy when hearing the opening riffs to the UFO favorite and Schenker live staple “Rock Bottom” and Michael did not disappoint... crafting a solo that was part improvisation and part near duplication of the melodic, soaring ascension-leads straight out of UFO’s 1979 live album Strangers In The Night. And the crowd went nuts! (sense a pattern here?)

After a quick “good night” and a brief breather back stage, the band returned for an encore of the Scorpions hits “Holiday,” (and Doogie hit the high notes) once again from the Lovedrive album and the final curveball in “Blackout” from the album of the same name. A surprise ending simply because I wasn’t expecting the show to end on a song for which Michael did not appear on the original recording.

None-the-less, a very energetic climax to a show filled with legendary rock-metal songs and seemingly countless melodic riffs and solos for which Mr. Schenker is so famous for. Yes... and the crowd went nuts!