Tuesday, January 31, 2017
MICHAEL SCHENKER: "LIVE AT TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FORUM" DVD/CD
REVIEW BY: Alan Holloway
The mad axeman is back, and this time he's brought some of his mates with him. You might know them, three chaps by the name of Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robim McAuley. In an inspired move, Schenker sweet talked them into joining him to play a single concert celebrating their time together, and what we have here is the entire thing on one lovely DVD or two CDs.
The package comes in a nice, solid box, although inside are the three discs in cardboard sleeves and a slim booklet (that doesn't give any credit to the rest of the band or tell you when it was recorded). So whilst it will look nice on the shelf, a chunky booklet with an essay on the band by a decent scribe would have been welcome. Aside from that, it is the music that counts, as they say (especially when 'they' have short changed you on the booklet) and it's hard to imagine this being anything less than a good watch/listen.
Each singer's section (five songs each for Barden & McAuley, three for Bonnet) is preceded by a Schenker sol piece, namely 'Into the Arena', 'Coast To Coast' and 'Captain Nemo'. The track choices themselves are spot on, and the vocalists acquit themselves admirably, with Bonnet in particular hitting some tricky notes for man his age. Of the three, I have to say I prefer McAuley, who gives a great performance and sounds great to boot. Through it all, Schenker does his job without flair but with his usual massive talent. For final track 'Doctor Doctor' the three singers join forces, much to the delight of the 5000 strong crowd.
Visually, it isn't a big production. Some lights, a backdrop and plenty of Marshall amps is all you get, and it's the music that does the talking. The sound quality is very good, and the multiple cameras capture the energy of the performance well. It's always good to have the CD back up in the same package, rip friendly for those who like to take their Schenker on the move. It's been a while since I heard the likes of 'Attack of The Mad Axeman', Assault Attack', 'Rock Bottom', 'This Is My Heart' and 'Dancer', and the concert brings back plenty of happy memories, as I'm sure it will for anyone who picks it up.