Gig review: Michael Schenker Fest rocks Tokyo

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Oh, what a night! Michael Schenker Fest with a reunited MSG on stage gets a lot of love in Tokyo.

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

There are guitar heroes and then there’s Michael Schenker. Many guitar heroes take it too far and get lost in ridiculously long guitar solos and often boring attempts at showing off. That is not the case with Michael Schenker. He is undoubtedly one of the best and most influential guitarists in the history of rock but he delivers his terrific guitar magic without boring his listeners. Much of his music throughout his career has been delivered as proper rock songs performed by great bands and terrific vocalists. Schenker’s songs are not there just to show off the guitar player in all his glory.

Japan loves guitar heroes and Michael Schenker is big business here. Schenker fans not only buy concert tickets, they also buy all the merch and signature guitars and special meet & greet packages. No wonder Schenker’s management decided to record this sold-out Tokyo gig for a forthcoming live DVD (yes, Japanese fans still buy CDs and DVDs).

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

A Michael Schenker in great form and in a great mood walks on stage in front of a sold-out crowd and get the party started with “Into the Arena”. The loyal crowd loves it. Many of the faces in the first few rows are the same as when Schenker last played Tokyo in June last year. A big part of this audience has followed Schenker their whole lives. I, too, have been a Schenker fan for as long as I can remember (I even named one of my first rock bands in the late 1980s after the MSG classic “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”). But there are also new fans joining the ranks. Schenker’s mostly melodic hard rock is still relevant and appealing.

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Last year Schenker and Graham Bonnet reunited for the first time since the early 1980s when they shared the stage in Japan. This year have seen the two men reunite again and this time it’s been a proper MSG reunion. The MSG reunion line-up consists of Ted McKenna (drums), Steve Mann (guitar and keyboards), Chris Glen (bass) and no less than three of MSG’s legendary vocalists: Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley.

Gary Barden on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Gary Barden on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Graham Bonnet and Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Graham Bonnet and Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Billed as Michael Schenker Fest, this MSG reunion was indeed a fest. The bulk of the 17-song set is made up of MSG classics, but we also get “Coast to Coast” from Schenker’s time in Scorpions and three UFO classics – “Shoot Shoot”, “Rock Bottom” and “Doctor Doctor” – close the evening. What a band, what a set list, what a gig, what a Michael Schenker Fest.

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

No doubt Michael Schenker will keep his love affair with Japan going for a long time to come. With a new Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock album planned for next year, he will be back. And the loyal Japanese fans will still be there for both the old and the new music.

 

 

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker Fest – set list – Tokyo 24th August 2016

  1. Into the Arena
  2. Attack of the Mad Axeman
  3. Victim of Illusion
  4. Cry for the Nations
  5. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
  6. Armed and Ready
  7. Coast to Coast
  8. Assault Attack
  9. Desert Song
  10. Dancer
  11. Captain Nemo
  12. This Is My Heart
  13. Save Yourself
  14. Love Is Not a Game
  15. Shoot Shoot
  16. Rock Bottom
  17. Doctor Doctor

    Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

    Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Read Roppongi Rocks’ recent interview with Michael Schenker here.

Robin McAuley on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Robin McAuley on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

www.facebook.com/michaelschenkerrocks

www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Schenker on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

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4 thoughts on “Gig review: Michael Schenker Fest rocks Tokyo

  1. When will there be a us tour ? Please tour palm beach county in south Florida in 2017. I have been a Fan since the very early ufo days . I’m waiting! Thank you n keep rocking

    Like

  2. Michael is the greatest guitar player of all time ! From his early years in the Scorpions, to the UFO days where some of the greatest songs have ever come from to MSG – especially the original MSG stuff. His solos are unbelievable and he is underrated as a rhythm guitarist ! He is actually under appreciated by the main stream music critics…
    I still go to see him every time that I can. He gets better with age !
    Just watching him play Rockbottom and Lights Out are worth the price of admission.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Interview: New chapter for Graham Bonnet with “The Book” | Roppongi Rocks

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