Michael Schenker - Temple of Rock Live In Europe

In Akustik Musik
Produced by Bernhard Baran

German guitar legend Michael Schenker has had his ups and downs throughout his career, but the Temple of Rock venture has certainly been one of his biggest successes. The tour itself, which spanned two years, was a massive undertaking, featuring three different band line-ups, one for each continent the tour passed through, and documenting such a tour would be an equally big job.

The only way to do it comprehensively would have been to record at least one show on each leg of the tour, and make the resulting product some kind of multi-disc deluxe box set affair, which would have been very costly to put together and similar for fans to buy. Instead they've recorded the show at the 013 in Tilburg from the 2012 European leg, which featured ex-Rainbow front-man Doogie White on lead vocals, alongside Schenker's former Scorpions bandmate Herman Rarebell on drums, his regular rhythm guitarist Wayne Findlay, and bassist Francis Buchholz. Although with a setlist containing just two songs from the Temple of Rock album and the rest coming from Scorpions, UFO and very early MSG albums, it's hard to really call it representative of where Schenker is at now in his career in terms of material.

The recording itself is first-class. Sound clarity, picture quality and performance are all outstanding. The whole show was captured in superb high definition and the editing and camerawork are perfect for a live concert recording. From the opening bars of Into The Arena the band are energetic and in high-spirits, including the main man himself, and loud. Very loud. The slightly treble-heavy mix takes a few minutes to get used to, but after that it's hard to stay sitting down while watching - the sign of any great live rock DVD.

As good as it is, it could have been better. On the fifth song, Hanging On, White leaves the stage to make way for special guest Michael Voss, who sang the studio version of the song on the Temple of Rock album, and appeared at several shows in 2011. If it weren't already obvious, Voss immediately highlights White's tendency to slur his words when singing, and while his voice is still strong, Voss's is better, and he's the better performer. Had the two switched places and White been the special guest the show would have been even better than it already is. White has his own highlight moments, like on Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, but it's hard to see how Voss wouldn't have done a superior job throughout. Voss also mixed the audio for this release and could teach people like Kevin Shirley, in charge of much higher-budget productions, a thing or two.

This is exemplified by the bonus material, five songs from the 2011 High Voltage Festival where Voss was the lead singer and White appeared on perennial closer Doctor Doctor (alongside Jeff Scott Soto and UFO bassist Pete Way). The footage here is just as good, the sound is equally clear and loud, and the performance of the band (that time with Elliott Rubinson on bass) on par with the main concert, with Voss out-shining White on the respective songs at every turn. That all-round quality makes it slightly confusing that the other three songs played that day are missing (Rock Bottom with Way, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead with White, and Into The Arena), as there was still room to fit them in, at least on the Blu Ray and double DVD, if not on the double CD.

Michael Schenker is playing the best he has for many years, and it shows on this recording. Watching it is a joy and rock fans of all denominations should seek it out.

“ perfect for a live concert recording ”

Tracklist:
Tilburg 2012 - Into The Arena / Armed And Ready / Lovedrive / Another Piece of Meat / Hanging On / Cry For The Nations / Let Sleeping Dogs Lie / Coast To Coast / Assault Attack / Before The Devil Knows You're Dead / Lights Out / On And On / Let It Roll / Shoot Shoot / Rock You Like A Hurricane / Rock Bottom / Holiday / Blackout / Doctor Doctor
High Voltage 2011 - Armed And Ready / Another Piece of Meat / Rock You Like A Hurricane / Hanging On / Doctor Doctor
Bonus - Before The Show / Soundcheck

Photo(s): Steve Brinkman

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2012, Hard/Heavy Rock, Live Albums, Live DVDs,

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