Michael Schenker Album Review: “Fest – Live Tokyo”

Chris Palmer
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Chris Palmer

Head of Album Reviews [Voluntary] at Metal Gods TV
I lead the team of reviewers and write reviews on a voluntary basis.
Chris Palmer
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Album Review By Chris Palmer


Michael Schenker is one of the world’s most gifted guitarists who has had a very impressive career in the world of rock. This extremely talented German’s career was launched in 1970 when he recorded his first album with his older brother, Rudolf, and the Scorpions. That album [“Lonesome Crow”] created instant international recognition for the 15 year old lead guitarist, who went on to feature in the following two Scorpions releases before joining the British Hard Rock institution, UFO, in 1972.

During his time with UFO, Michael recorded some of the best albums in the band’s career, such as 1974’s “Phenomenon” and 1977’s “Light’s Out”. In 1979 Michael launched his own solo career with the formation of The Michael Schenker Group [M.S.G.]. Despite experiencing highs and lows throughout his life, Michael continued developing as a highly skilled lead guitarist and has a highly impressive discography credited to his name. Together with the aforementioned bands, Michael also formed and released albums with both the McAuley Schenker Group and Temple Of Rock.

During his illustrious solo career, Michael has released more than twenty albums and has worked with the likes of Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, Doogie White, and many more. Later this month [24th] sees a live anthology release … “Michael Schenker Fest ‘Live’ Tokyo International Forum Hall A”. Consisting of Michael Schenker [Lead Guitar], Ted McKenna [Drums], Steve Mann [Guitar and Keyboards], and Chris Glen [Bass], this release is a live celebration of Michael’s musical career and includes guest appearances by vocalists Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, and Robin McAuley.

The concert runs for almost an hour and 38 minutes and was filmed at Tokyo’s International Forum on August 24th 2016. It will be available via Inakustik in the following formats: 2CD, 2CD+DVD, Vinyl, DVD, Blu-ray, and Hi-Res Digital Download. The copy that I received for this review was the lovely 2CD+DVD package, which included a neat booklet as well. The DVD of the concert also has bonus features which includes the Soundcheck and a slide-show which scrolls through various high quality images of the event whilst being backed up by great tunes. The coverage of the Soundcheck provides great insight to how such top level musicians prepare for a concert and is a delightful addition to this package.

Proceedings begin as “Intro: Searching For Freedom” blasts from the PA whilst 5,000 eager fans await the guitar maestro. The wait is soon over as the German arrives on stage together with that famous black and white Gibson Flying V of his, before launching into M.S.G’s excellent “Into The Arena”. Gary Barden joins the stage for the impressive blast through five M.S.G. numbers, which include the thoroughly enjoyable “Victim Of Illusion” and “Armed And Ready”, before we’re treated to the excellent instrumental “Coast To Coast”.

Graham Bonnet arrives on stage to take us through the next three storming numbers, which includes the outstanding “Assault Attack”. The last of these three is M.S.G’s “Dancer” which sees Mr Bonnet joined by fellow vocalists Gary Barden and Robin McAuley in a 3-way vocal attack. Michael Schenker continues with his outstanding guitar-play with a beautiful looking red and black Flying V as he powers through the excellent “Captain Nemo”, which closes this section of the concert in style.

Robin McAuley then returns to the stage as the band plough through three numbers from the McAuley Schenker Group period. The melodic “This Is My Heart” is followed by two further songs of great rocking Hard Rock before Robin and Michael hit the terrific UFO period with “Shoot Shoot” and “Rock Bottom”.

Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any better, Michael returns to the stage along with Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, and the remainder of the band for a storming rendition of UFO’s awesome “Doctor Doctor”. This will send shivers down the spines of Metal and Rock fans everywhere. Sadly, this truly superb live DVD comes to an end, albeit, in the best way possible.

To be honest, I love watching and listening to live DVDs/albums and this collection is no exception. The DVD shows an excellently filmed concert of terrific quality, whilst the double CD offers the opportunity to listen to the concert repeatedly while on the move. This package is the perfect celebration of Michael Schenker’s musical career and is an essential addition to the discography of this extraordinary guitarist.

In a nutshell, this is one of the best live anthologies I’ve ever seen. I strongly urge you to spend your hard earned cash on this collection. Seasoned collectors of Michael’s work will absolutely love this. For those who haven’t heard his music yet [shame on you!], this is the perfect way to start. You’ll be nodding your head and tapping your feet from start to finish, trust me!


Intro: Searching For Freedom
Into The Arena
Attack Of The Mad Axeman (Vocals: Gary Barden)
Victim Of Illusion (Vocals: Gary Barden)
Cry For The Nations (Vocals: Gary Barden)
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Vocals: Gary Baden)
Armed And Ready (Vocals: Gary Barden)
Coast To Coast
Assault Attack (Vocals: Graham Bonnet)
Desert Song (Vocals: Graham Bonnet)
Dancer (Vocals: Graham Bonnet, Backing Vocals: Gary Barden, Robin McAuley)
Captain Nemo
This Is My Heart (Vocals: Robin McAuley)
Save Yourself (Vocals: Robin McAuley)
Love Is Not A Game (Vocals: Robin McAuley)
Shoot Shoot (Vocals: Robin McAuley)
Rock Bottom (Vocals: Robin McAuley)
Doctor Doctor (Vocals: Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley)


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