Too hot to handle

Fanfare / 14th February, 2014

ScorpionsIpswich Gaumont, 12th April, 1982. The Scorpions are about to rip into Blackout, the balls to the wall killer title track from their latest metal opus. Just 1 year on, and with a little more spandex and hairspray, Phil Moggs mighty UFO are wrapping up the night with the holy trinity… Too Hot to Handle, Lights Out and Mystery Train.

The Ipswich Gaumont delivered in (ace of) spades. I saw the greats there (depending on the length of your hair, you either agree or not), Gillan, Hawkwind, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, Blackfoot, Saxon, Kiss, Ozzy, the Quo, the list goes on. If you had a cut off denim, studs and a mullet, the Gaumont was Metal Mecca, pure stained class… No sleep til’ Ipswich.

Long before me and Fawkes had ever met, we shared the floor at that Scorpions gig, and more besides I’m sure (I was stage left, ears bursting, headbanging all night, obviously). But who was missing… Mr Michael Schenker, that’s who… liquid fingered king of the Flying V. He’d long flown the Scorpions camp leaving his brother at helm and his UFO days were way behind him too. There was a Schenker shaped whole in my hero hitlist.

Fast forward a mere 30 years, and I can’t tell how chuffed I was when I saw the advert, Mr Schenker was coming to the Norwich Waterfront, result. Fawkes didn’t take a whole lot of persuading either, Michael Schenker in a tiny sweaty venue close to home, with the Scorpions rhythm section (Herman the German) in tow and an ex. Rainbow vocalist… Midlife crisis alert, where’s my bullet belt?

michaelschenker_05-hrSchenker was a marvel, an avalanche of Scorpions and UFO classics were belted out with an enviable degree of energy. Lovedrive, Another Piece of Meat, Shoot Shoot, Let it Roll, Doctor Doctor, Rock You Like a Hurricane, Blackout, Too Hot to Handle, where do you stop. His band were on top form, tight as hell and bang on the money. There was a distinct lack of flowing locks in the audience but we were punching the air like greasy teenagers. Mr Schenker wisely chose to keep his hat and shades on and kept his eyes on the fretboard for a full on 2 hour axe attack, boy he can play.

I don’t make it to too many old school metal gigs these days (I’m more elbow patches than denim patches) but this was a rollicking reminder of what live music should be about, sweat, smoke, shouting and shredding.

Well done Mr Schenker, you didn’t disappoint, even if we did have to wait 3 decades to see you. I’ll have to see if Mrs Forté can sew my old Blackout back patch back on.

A fully Schenkered up UFO, in their prime. Check the fingers at the 3 minute mark, top class.

Posted by: Forte