Fireworks

UFO - Manchester 2012 Hot

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Written by James Gaden     April 13, 2012    
 
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UFO – Manchester Ritz - 30th March.2012

After 40 years and over twenty studio albums there probably not a lot that hasn’t been written already about UFO. Apart from the bass position remaining fluid in Pete Way’s continued absence, the current line up of Mogg, Parker, Raymond and Moore is probably the most stable since….well, ever, and with latest album Seven Deadly having been released to great acclaim the band are back on the road where they have always been at their best.

Long time opener Mother Mary kicks off the night followed by the two opening tracks from Seven Deadly, Fight Night and Wonderland, both rockers straight out of the classic UFO mould. Despite rapidly heading towards a 64th birthday Mogg’s voice remains as strong as ever alongside faultless performances from the rest of the band.  A couple more oldies in I’m a Loser and Let It Roll highlight great solos from Vinnie Moore, putting his own mark on a couple of Schenker classics, with more from the new album Mojo Town and Burn Your House down bringing the heavy blues style of the new album to the fore.

Rob de Luca is back handling bass duties, forming as tight a rhythm unit as you’ll ever see with UFO veterans Andy Parker still pounding away and Paul Raymond as ever moving seamlessly between guitar and keyboards. Already we’re at the stage where the indispensible classics come out – Only You Can Rock Me and Love To Love, and another pair of nods to the past with Hell Driver the sole survivor from previous album The Visitor and 1995’s Venus.

Too Hot To Handle, Lights Out, Rock Bottom, Doctor Doctor, Shoot Shoot. Despite all that has gone before the band have still got these five classics of British rock in their locker to delight the crowd and close the set and encores.  With four studio albums in eight years we are seeing the most productive period of UFO since the halcyon days of the Seventies and Eighties when they produced an album a year from 1974 to 1983 and toured them all – is it any wonder the band burned out for a while.

In Vinnie Moore they seem to have found the perfect guitarist for the job, technical ability never in doubt from his earlier solo days, he has brought his own style to the band’s back catalogue on stage whilst managing to maintain UFO’s development and produce albums more than worthy of their history.  Parker and Raymond just do the job effortlessly, and Phil Mogg looks and sounds as if he can go on forever. As with any band with over forty years behind them there have been the almost inevitable rumours of last album, last tour.  But take one listen to the latest album, one look at the performances tonight and the crowd’s reaction; this is not a band winding down. This is not a band going through the motions one last time.  As the enthusiastic audience agreed without exception – Only you Can Rock Me, Rock Me. And long may they continue to do so.

Ian Parry

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