Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock at the Gramercy Theatre

Michael Schenker
In a town named Sarstedt near Hannover, West Germany, a six-year-old Michael Schenker learned to play his dad's violin and his mom's piano. At age nine, he discovered a guitar that belonged to his older brother, Rudolf Schenker. Michael quickly became a hard rock guitar virtuoso and at age 11 jammed on stage with his brother's band, the Scorpions. By age 15, he joined the Scorpions and wrote songs for the band's first album. At age 17 he joined UFO, learned to speak English and relocated to England. Beginning in the late 1970s, he formed groups under his own name, beginning with the Michael Schenker Group (MSG). This group evolved into Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock in 2011 with vocalist Doogie White (formerly of Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen), guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay and two former members of the Scorpions, bassist Francis Buchholz and drummer Herman Rarebell. Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock released the Spirit on a Mission album on March 24, 2015.

Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock performed a crowd-pleasing concert tonight at the Gramercy Theatre. The evening was both a retrospective with a sprinkling of newer songs. The band opened with UFO's "Doctor Doctor" and ended with the Scorpions' "Blackout." The set consisted of six UFO songs, six Scorpions songs, two MSG songs and five Temple of Rock songs. The performances were not intended to carbon copy the original versions, however; instead, they were given new life with White's strong vocals and the band's energizing arrangements. Schenker's extended guitar leads made the magic, however. As the band rocked hard behind him, Schenker's squeaky clean, lyrical, speedy and tasteful licks were impressively executed. The band performed the classic rock standards "Lovedrive", "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and "Rock Bottom," but it was Schenker's intriguing fretwork that powered the songs beyond the familiar radio versions. Schenker proved once again that he is one of hard rock's finest guitarists.

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