Fest: Live Tokyo
International Forum Hall A

Michael Schenker

Legendary guitarist Michael Schenker comes at us with both a CD and DVD/Blu-ray Disc of his Fest: Live Tokyo International Forum A. This stunning live show was filmed and recorded at Tokyo’s International Forum on August 24, 2016. It was on this night that Schenker brought together a lineup of musicians he has played with over his career, most notably vocalists Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley.

After slow single-note cries on “Searching For Freedom,” the band takes the stage to a rousing ovation and a hello by the lead axe man himself before rolling into a chunky “Attack Of The Mad Axeman.” Bassist Chris Glen is especially noticeable from the outset. For the first five songs, including “Victim Of Illusion” and the mean growl of “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie,” Gary Barden manages a competent vocal around Schenker in the mix.

Graham Bonnet ignites the crowd with his first tune, the title track from The MSG’s 1982 release Assault Attack. Schenker said that this show allowed him to finally play with Bonnet as the two never got the chance back in the 80s. The slower moments of Schenker strumming on “Desert Song,” also from the same album, along with Steve Mann’s keys, lifts the tune to sweet heights. “Dancer” has Bonnet singing lead, with Barden and Robin McAuley on the backgrounds.

“Love Is Not A Game,” “This Is My Heart,” and UFO’s “Shoot Shoot,” all feature Robin McAuley. He also takes the lead vocals for the epic "Rock Bottom" before Schenker takes over and turns it into a tour de force. Gary Barton returns to the stage, with support from Bonnet and McAuley, for the show-ender, “Doctor Doctor.” This is a hell of a night any hard rock fan will wish they could have been witness to. Fest: Live Tokyo International Forum A comes as close to the action as you can get, plus it’s something anyone can enjoy over and over again.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

 

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