Michael Schenker Group - "Hard Rock Legends Vol. 2" (Live at Rockpalast 01/24/81) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Michael Schenker Group - "Hard Rock Legends Vol. 2" (Live at Rockpalast 01/24/81)

Michael Schenker Group - 'Hard Rock Legends Vol. 2' (Live at Rockpalast 01/24/81)The opening of the Rockpalast vaults is exciting as this German TV program has been broadcasting full-length live performances from an eclectic range of artists since 1974. One of the first releases out of the vault is a concert from Michael Schenker Group (MSG) which was recorded in Hamburg on January 24, 1981.

This 60 minute live disc captures MSG during their peak early years and the timing of this concert catches the band squarely between 1980’s The Michael Schenker Group album and 1981’s MSG follow-up. Aside for vocalist Gary Barden, the lineup from the first disc had already transitioned out so, this time out, the lineup is filled out by UFO bandmate Paul Raymond (keyboards, rhythm guitar), Cozy Powell (drums) and Chris Glen (bass). Of the disc’s eleven track, seven are drawn from The Michael Schenker Group album and the remaining four come from Schenker’s most recent stint with UFO.

After braving Michael’s “Live and Drunk” 2007 tour and being somewhat bored by The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live in Tokyo, this Rockpalast concert helps me remember why I liked the band in the first place. The early lineup of MSG was a great hard rock band and MSG, at their peak, could rival the Strangers in the Night lineup of UFO. This live recording shows Barden’s voice and Schenker’s playing in top form, both of which are complemented by Cozy Powell’s phenomenal drumming.

Given the strength of the band’s performance, it is hard to pick one or more “standout” tracks as I’ve done with other reviews. The crowd responds strongly to the UFO tracks “Lights Out” and “Rock Bottom” but Schenker and the band sound great on the MSG tracks as well. Of the solo tracks, “Armed and Ready”, “Lost Horizons” and the instrumental “Into the Arena” are probably my favorites due to Schenker’s stellar guitar work.

Michael Schenker Group - Markethalle Hamburg, Germany, Jan. 24, 1981
Armed and Ready
Cry For The Nations
Victim Of Illusions
Natural Thing
Feels Like A Good Thing
Into The Arena
Rock Bottom
Lookin’ Out From Nowhere
Lost Horizons
Doctor Doctor
Lights Out

Michael Schenker