Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Thursday 30th August
Tyketto have confirmed the rumours that they are to split up after a current bout of touring which includes a slot at the Firefest at Nottingham Rock City on October 27. Intriguingly, the Firefest now features two reunions (headliners FM and Valentine) and a pair of teary-eyed farewells (Tyketto and Harem Scarem). Frontman Danny Vaughn and company's split is perfectly amicable. "Each of us has different lives and family situations," say the American melodic hard rockers in an explanatory statement, adding: "Recording and touring just isn't going to be a possibility again, and there are too many bands 'reuniting' with only one or two original members, or doing 'farewell' tours every year!" Having followed Tyketto since their debut album in 1991, I wish them well and will be on hand to raise a glass on October 27 - especially as CPFC's home clash with Watford has just been switched to the following Monday for Sky TV.
And talking of footie, I'm utterly relieved that Palace have signed Besian Idrizaj from Liverpool for the rest of the season. The 19-year-old Austrian striker has been on the fringes of the first team at Anfield and should go straight into the Eagles squad for this weekend's big grudge match against Clowntown Pathetic.
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Monday 27th August
So glad that I stayed away from Portman Road for yesterday's less than thrilling encounter between Palace and Ipswich Town, which ended in a narrow 1-0 win for the home side. With hindsight, I should've been at Hobble On The Cobbles, a free festival in Aylesbury that saw vocalist Fish playing a version of 'Market Square Heroes' with his former Marillion band-mates Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, Mark Kelly and Ian Mosley. I believe it was their first appearance together in 20 years. That'll set that cat among the pigeons with Mr Hogarth!! Check out these photographs, kindly supplied by Stuart James from Poole, and also this video footage.
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Sunday 26th August
There was something of the Spinal Tap about Anvil's first UK gig in 24 years. In a sad indictment of the UK's concert scene, the Canadian rivetheads - who let us not forget graced the Castle Donington stage in 1982 and played at the following year's Reading Festival - were actually opening not for a puppet show this time, but for a laughably average tribute band who had the audacity to call themselves 101% Pantera. Not that they seemed to care. "[I've been doing this for] 30 fucking years, man, and I still have a dayjob," grinned now 51-year-old frontman/guitarist Lips. "This is my fucking vacation; this is when I get to have fun." Although I preferred them as a four-piece (Lips and veteran drummer Robb Reiner are joined these days by bassist Glenn Five), they still deliver a heck of a punch. We got just two songs from latest disc, 'This Is Thirteen', and Lips failed to play slide guitar with a dildo the way he used to, but save for the glaring omission of their semi-legendary ode to the tit-wank, 'Butter-Bust Jerky' ("All I need is a lady/With more than average size... If she can fill a 'D' cup/It's good enough to keep me up"), just about all of their best-known tunes were played. Afterwards I chatted to Barbara Schenker about the reunion of her band Viva, but the headline band's version of 'This Love' sounded closer to 3% Pantera than anything else, so I slipped off to the Crobar for a nightcap. The full Anvil set-list was: 'March Of The Crabs', 'This Is Thirteen', '666', 'School Love', 'Flying Blind',  'Motormount', 'Forged In Fire', 'Computer Drone', 'Race Against Time', 'White Rhino', Drum Solo, 'Jackhammer', 'Metal On Metal' and 'Mothra'.
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Friday 24th August
Just returned home from a couple of very productive days spent with Nightwish in Helsinki. After a terrifyingly early start on Wednesday morning, irrepressible band manager Ewo Rytkönen collected me from the airport and we sped off to guitarist Emppu Vuorinen's studio, 20 minutes or so outside of the city centre. I conducted a fascinating and unexpectedly candid interview with keyboard player/leader Tuomas Holopainen in which he confirmed my suspicion that 'Bye Bye Beautiful', from the new album 'Dark Passion Play', was inspired by the band's estranged former singer Tarja Turunen - famously sacked via open letter back in 2005. Included in its chorus are the lines: "Did you ever listen to what we played/Did we get this far just to feel your hate/You chose the long road but we'll be waiting". Oddly given the above, however, Holopainen explained that he has attempted to contact Turunen by text messages (without success) since the split, and that he hopes to re-establish friendship with her again someday in the future - though the band are perfectly happy with their new frontwoman, Anette Olzon.
After the interview I was invited to sit back, crack open a can or two of Karhyu beer and observe as the new-look Nightwish ran through a large chunk of their upcoming live set. The instrumental players had rehearsed for the previous couple of weeks, but this was just the third time they'd all played with Olzon. I was impressed. Obviously, Anette's voice is very different to that of operatic diva Turunen, but she sings the old songs far better than I'd expected. According to Tuomas, the show will be a fairly equal split between numbers from 'Dark Passion Play' and the group's catalogue. It would be grossly unfair to give the game away regarding the song-list at such an early stage, but hearing Olzon's interpretation of 'Nemo' back-to-back with 'Eva' made the reasons for her recruitment immediately obvious. And their new take on the last album's standout cut 'Wish I Had An Angel' was absolutely rampant!
Prior to yesterday afternoon's return flight to London, I did an interview with Olson over lunch. She's a very confident and personable lady. Then again, given the fact that the single 'Amaranth' had just gone Gold in Finland (commemorating sales of 5,000 copies) after just two days, Nightwish have every reason to feel proud of the way they've bounced back from the rumpus with Ms Turunen.
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Wednesday 22nd August
There's a lovely update at Neil Peart's website. The drummer waxes lyrical about how spotting banners in the crowd on Rush's current tour can sometimes move him to send a pair of personalised sticks out to the creators of their slogans. "At Red Rocks [there was] one that read, 'If I Loved a Woman Like I Love This Band, I'd Still Be Married!' Near the front, on the stage-left side, was another, 'I Support My Husband's Rush Addiction!' Two very different stories there, obviously," relates Peart. His posting was coincidental in that much of yesterday afternoon was spent enjoying a bootleg from Rush's latest tour. Recorded on June 16th, the quality of this three-disc recording from the Ford Amphitheater in Tampa, Florida, is exceptional (I owe you some beer, Stewart E). My one minor reservation is that the Canadian trio include just a little too much material from latest disc, 'Snakes And Arrows'. Then again, the show does last for almost three hours and that minor blow is softened by inclusion of just about all of 'Permanent Waves', one of my all-time favourite Rush albums (I'm talking about 'The Spirit Of Radio', 'Freewill', 'Entre Nous' and 'Natural Science').
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Tuesday 21st August
Last night I visited London's Soho Revue Bar for a tribute event to honour ex-Girlschool guitarist Kelly Johnson, who passed away last month. Billed as 'Rock 'N' Roll Kabaret In Sound & Vision' it was a pretty diverse evening, guests of honour being Kelly's parents and her two brothers. Various industry peeps gathered to watch a female violinist in impossibly tight spandex strides and a revolving cast of musicians that included ex-Girlschool/Rock Goddess bassist Tracey Lamb's current group, Rock 'N' Roll Gypsies. Although I was avoiding alcohol, most people seemed to be drinking one of Kelly's favourite drinks, Tennessee Rush (Jack Daniel's with cranberry juice). Spent a chunk of the soiree gossiping with Dave Lights of Iron Maiden (now UFO) fame, also to Krusher Joule, and with various colourful characters like Max Splodge present the vibe was very pleasant...
Kim McAuliffe told me that Johnson would definitely have approved. With the clock ticking towards midnight, Girlschoool finally took to the stage, Lamb deputising for the absent Enid Williams. Despite promising to keep things short and sweet we got seven songs: 'Mad Mad Sister', 'Hit And Run', 'Screaming Blue Murder' (featuring a guest appearance from ex-guitarist Cris Bonacci), 'Future Flash', 'Race With The Devil', 'Emergency (with boozing buddy Beki Bondage from Vice Squad on vocals) and a rousing finale of 'Take It All Away', before an emotional McAuliffe closed proceedings with a tearful tribute to her fallen band-mate. RIP, Kelly.
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Sunday 19th August
Hope that the blackmail photos won't be too embarrassing. Last night Clan Ling donned grass skirts, garlands and all manner of Gay-Glo garb to attend a Hawaiian-themed party thrown by our friends Sue, Nick and Annick. The alcoholic fruit punch had quite a kick, and we ended up making the 15-minute walk home in full costume. Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough to take on a man in hula-hula skirt... hic!
To be honest, I needed a beverage or 28 after the footie. Earlier in the day, Crystal Palace delivered an erratic performance against Leicester Shitty. Clinton Morrison's stoppage time leveller ensured that the Eagles slipped to no further than third in the table, and 2-2 was probably a fair enough result, but even taking injuries into account Peter Taylor's tactics and substitutions just baffle the living hell out of me.
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Saturday 18th August
"After a long break we're not as slick as usual, but this is a cool show - maybe the smallest we've ever played," remarked Arch Enemy frontwoman Angela Gossow during last night's sauna-hot warm-up for the Swedish-German band's appearance at the Bloodstock Festival. Despite being moshed into by sweaty morons from start to finish, AA's 60-minute performance really got the blood pumping. No disrespect to short-term replacements Gus G or Fredrik Åkesson, but it was great to see Christopher Amott back onstage with the band, cranking out those deliciously brutal but insidiously melodic riffs and solos with brother Michael on songs like 'Ravenous', 'Dead Eyes See No Future', 'Nemesis', 'We Will Rise' and 'Revolution Begins' (the latter from the forthcoming 'Rise Of The Tyrant' album, available on September 24).
Whilst lurking in the Record & Tape Exchange before the show I was happy to stumble upon a bargain-priced CD copy of 'Mixin' It Up', an anthology of the Dan Reed Network. Had almost forgotten how much I loved this band. Mr Reed was a fascinating character, too. I've fond memories of flying to LA in 1991 to interview him on a video set at the time of what turned out to be his final album, 'The Heat', also of the rather surreal occasion that he phoned me to express gratitude for a less than ecstatic concert review that I'd filed for RAW Magazine (with hindsight, he agreed about my comments regarding his set-list, opening for the Rolling Stones in Manchester). 'Ritual', 'Rainbow Child', 'Tiger In A Dress' and others'll be going onto the i-pod this weekend.
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Friday 17th August
Unaware that there is a bit of 'previous', Metal Hammer have asked me to review 'Alive In Poland', Blaze Bayley's new DVD. So I've finally heard 'Alive', the song that the ex-Wolfsbane/Iron Maiden howler wrote about me for his most recent album, 'Blood And Belief' (a storm in a teacup that one wag dubbed 'Get In The Ling'). Did the earth move? Did it make me want to adopt a new identity, Salman Rushdie-like? Did it cause me to regret anything I've said in print about him in the past? Um, no. It just made me laugh. The lyrics are side-splitting. "I missed the meeting/Where you were appointed God/Preaching all your misguided views/Only you decide what is true" - what rubbish, everyone's entitled to an opinion, mine just happens to be that Blaze was always out of his depth in Iron Maiden and has only rarely proved his worth as a solo artist. "If you knew anything about real life/Then you would realise/You don't know anything about real life/To me that's no surprise" - I could be wrong here, but I think he's trying to tell me I know nothing about real life. The campaign to install Blaze Bayley as the new Poet Laureate starts here. "You just want me to die/Then you'll be satisfied", he concludes. Wrong again. Blaze has accused me of trying to destroy his career. I wish him no ill of any kind. That it took three years to acquaint myself with 'Alive' says much of my levels of interest in Tamworth Terror. But the fact that he has to go to a festival in Poland to play before any fans - and rebuke them mid-way through the show for not showing enough enthusiasm - tells you much of his present, and in my view, self-inflicted predicament.
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Wednesday 15th August
Well, it didn't take long for normal service to be resumed. Last night Palace crashed out of the Carling Cup to lower league opposition - again. Thankfully, I didn't make the trip to Bristol Rovers, but my understanding is that the main difference between the two sides was Rovers (who were in League Two last season) weren't carrying the hapless Shefki Kuqi. The Eagles' abysmal striker not only fluffed a couple of glaring chances and a crucial penalty during the extra time shoot-out, but provided a surreal moment of mirth by attacking the net after one particularly atrocious miss, only for his boot to become entangled for almost a minute. If Ipswich are interested in the Finn, as is being reported, they're more than welcome to take over his reported wages of £13 K a week. Sheeesh.
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Tuesday 14th August
I'm trying to keep a straight face as I type this. Van Halen have finally confirmed the dates for their upcoming North American tour, a reunion trek that seems to have been on, off and now on again more times than the famous lighthouse at Beachy Head. Aired on the internet, last night's 14-minute press conference made uncomfortable if compelling viewing. Standing alongside Edward Van Halen's 16-year-old son Wolfgang, who succeeds Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth began by announcing: "I've done more rehearsal in the past four months than the last 20 summers", before allowing EVH to pucker up and kiss him on the cheek. The fact that the latter has cleaned himself up in rehab adds a previously unforseen shred of optimism to the proceedings, though Diamond Dave must've had his tongue stapled firmly into his cheek when he chirruped: "This is not like The Police. The idea is that this [band] will go on and on and on [after the tour]. This is a brotherhood like it never was before." An all-new studio album was also promised. Time will tell, Dave. Time will tell...
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Sunday 12th August
What a fantastic day out and a tremendous start to the season. Yes, I was among the 3,000-odd Crystal Palace fans that travelled down to Southampton and returned home to south London delighted (and, frankly, amazed) by an emphatic 4-1 victory. In fact, we almost didn't make the game at all. With the M3 tail to bumper, my group of friends and I alighted our National Express coach at Winchester and completed the last leg of the journey by train, then trawled through the pubs topping up already advanced levels of refreshment (first swig of voddie 'n' diet lemonade had hit the back of the neck at the unearthly hour of 7.38 am). I'll admit to actually dozing off at the start of the game and missing the first of hat-trick hero James Scowcroft's strikes. Ah well, it'll be on the telly in a bit. Very happy with the result and the superb atmosphere generated by the CPFC faithful, but to be honest the Saints' defence was so leaky that Stevie Wonder would've had no trouble scoring against them. The chant of "Can we play you every week?" seemed a perfect summation.
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Saturday 11th August
Thrash metal is back - it's official. Last night I attended Municipal Waste's sold-out gig at the Underworld. I'd already had the pleasure of seeing the four-piece from Richmond, Virginia, opening for Sick Of It All, so knew pretty much what to expect: total beer-fuelled, stagediving mayhem! The show was opened by Mutant, a UK band whose unremarkable music was redeemed by admirable levels of enthusiasm. Despite equipment problems, Liverpool's S.S.S. lived up to their name - the acronym stands for Short Sharp Shock - by ripping admirably through 25 minutes of whiplash-inducing material from a self-titled debut on Earache Records. I'd like to see them again.
However, judging by the T-shirt count in what was a young and hairy crowd, Municipal Waste were the night's undoubted stars. The four-piece had brought along boogie-boards and their fabled beer-bong, plus an even more potent-looking weapon called The Inebriator, which was used upon several willing audience members. In honour of the song 'Terror Shark', some silly sod had even come dressed in a decidedly non-frightening Jaws-style costume, causing much hilarity by continually throwing himself off the stage and into the moshing throng. In 45 minutes they played more than 20 songs, including 'Headbanger Face Rip', 'Drunk As Shit', 'Sadistic Magician', 'Thrashing's My Business... And Business Is Good' and the unreleased 'Boner City'. Given that their tunes are largely inspired by alcohol and headbanging, it was entirely appropriate that 'Bangover' closed the set proper, a well deserved encore including the Stormtroopers Of Death standard 'United Forces'. For the time being, Municipal Waste are a stupendously entertaining live act, though I suspect their more comedic aspects might well begin to grate in a few years' time... anyone remember Acid Reign?
P.S. If you live in Britain and can't get enough thrash metal, check out www.ukthrash.co.uk.
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Friday 10th August
Thanks to the kindness of Val @ Edsel/Demon Records, much of the past week was spent working through and absorbing a set of marvellous Gillan and Ian Gillan Band re-issues. From the Reading Festival in 1980 onwards, I saw Gillan (the band) onstage many, many times. That total went through the roof when my ol' mates Spider got to open on the 'Magic' tour two years later, by which time current Maiden axeman Janick Gers had replaced Bernie Tormé. A great humour and warmth, not to mention an excellent body of material, helped to forge an extraordinary bond between the group and their fans, yet all was flushed down the lavatory when Gillan feigned a throat injury to abruptly call time on the band and join first Black Sabbath, then the reunited Deep Purple (if bassist John McCoy is to be believed, at least).
But I digress. Owning two of my favourite records of all time - 'Mr Universe' (1979) and 'Glory Road' (1980) - on CD at last brought back loads of fantastic memories, especially because each album is accompanied by a raft of bonus tracks and revealing sleeve essays from Ian and much-travelled journo Valerie Potter. Gillan reveals that until an unexpected call from Roger Glover caused him to participate in the latter's 'Butterfly Ball' show at the Royal Albert Hall, he hadn't expected to make music again following his mid-1973 exit from Deep Purple. It's a beautifully nïave admission. You can only wonder what on earth the IG of the mid-to-late-70s would make of the fact that in 2007, as a 61-year-old, Gillan would still be doing the rounds with a battle-scarred incarnation of Purple, albeit devoid of both Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord. Food for thought indeed.
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Sunday 5th August
I'm reliably informed that Michael Schenker's UK tour has come to an end, the remainder of the dates pulled after a disappointing display in Stourbridge. Word has it that Michael is off to Germany to recuperate and take stock. As an artist whose talent helped to shape my appreciation of rock music, I wish this mercurial genius all the best. Should he vaniquish his demons, it would be wonderful to see Schenker onstage again in the future. If not, well... there are more important things in life than the treadmill that seems to cause him so many problems.
This weekend's postbag contained a watermarked promo of Alter Bridge's new album, 'Blackbird', which knocked me senseless. A notch heavier than the band's debut, 'One Day Remains', it's a right l'il belter from start to finish. Pick it up on October 8 or miss out on something special. Also received 'The Problem Of Pain, Pt 1', a fascinating album from Torman Maxt, a pomp-prog Christian quartet from California that remind me of a heavied-up Starcastle, though who are most often compared to Rush, Dream Theater, Gentle Giant, Queensrÿche and, of course, Yes. Its ponderous lyrics are based on The Old Testament's Book Of Job, questioning why God allows so much evil and human suffering on Earth, but don't let that put you off - the music is wondrous.
With a credible 0-0 draw against an average-looking Everton side, yesterday Palace ended their pre-season friendlies unbeaten. The Eagles looked tight at the back, highly impressive new arrival José Fonte shackling ex-CPFC hero Andrew Johnson with ease, which is no mean feat. If the truly abysmal Shefki Kuqi can be replaced by a striker that actually knows how to kick a ball in a straight line, the signs don't look too bad at all.
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Saturday 4th August
This morning's 'in' box contained a message from Tesla bassist Brian Wheat. Expect the Sacramento-based band's UK dates to be announced early next week. Brian reckoned the recent Shepherds Bush Empire date was "a fucking gas, one of the top three gigs of my life" and, amusingly, signed off as "Johnny Vegas AKA Shredded Wheat", in honour of a review that appeared at RockersDigest.com (see Friday 30th June for explanation).
Mrs L has bought me a belated birthday pressie, one of those iPod/MP3-playing thingamyjigs. Just started putting some cool tracks onto it: 'Come Sail Away' by Styx, Budgie's 'Parents', 'Frozen Heart' by FM, most of Deep Purple's 'Stormbringer' album, the Genesis classic 'Eleventh Earl Of Mar', 'Try Me' and 'Cherry' from UFO, It Bites' 'Old Man And The Angel', 'The Tower' from Angel's mighty debut, Triumph's 'I Live For The Weekend', 'Song For America' by Kansas, some Manowar for cheese value... the possibilities are endless. Might even spice it up with some top-notch obscurities from Imperial Drag, HoneyCrack, Brother To Brother, Sparks, Frost, Aviator, the Power Station, Von Groove, Little Feat, Goddo, Lizzy Borden, Jimmy Barnes... this is gonna be fun!
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Friday 3rd August
It's back. Not quite sure how it happened, but this website's Deep Purple story was destroyed by gremlins a while back. A few people, including Brett Walmsley, Pete Davies and Sarah Connolly, have since asked whether it had disappeared into the ether for good, but my conversation with Ritchie Blackmore, a cover story for Metal Hammer in January 1987, can once again be viewed by clicking here. Going over it again, I laughed aloud at Blackmore's quote of: "Roger Glover's a great guy, but he does give incredibly dull interviews." That may or may not be true, but at least Roger doesn't drone on about medieval musical stirring the soul or groups that play Christmas carols all year round.
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Thursday 2nd August
Oooooh cool, a wodge of interesting-looking goodies has just been delivered. On first play I'm extremely impressed by The Cult's new album, the spirited 'Born Into This'. Preceded by the single 'Dirty Little Rockstar', look for it from October 1st. Due in September, 'Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part One)' by Iced Earth is also ticking all the right boxes. And thirty years after the release of 'Foghat Live', a record that sold two million copies, bassist Craig MacGregor and drummer Roger Earl are back with a new line-up completed by frontman/guitarist Charlie Huhn and slide-axeman Bryan Bassett for the aptly-named double-set 'Live II'. In replacing the late 'Lonesome' Dave Peverett, ex-Ted Nugent/Gary Moore/Victory/Humble Pie mouthpiece Huhn has colossal shoes to fill but does an unexpectedly credible job (Bassett is in a similar no-win spot, succeeding Rod 'The Bottle' Price). I have to say, 'Live II' is way, way better than it might've been. If only the same was true of 'I'm Back', a tepid slice of modern rock from ex-Scorpions tub-thumper Herman 'Ze German' Rarebell & Band. In fairness, a handful of songs like 'Take It As It Comes' and 'Freak Show' are passable, but you've gotta hear Rarebell's industrial-rock remake of 'Rock You Like A Hurricane' to believe it.
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Wednesday 1st August
Along with eldest son Eddie and 5,000-odd other diehards, last night I returned to Selhurst Park for my beloved Crystal Palace's pre-season friendly with Anderlecht. However had I'd known that the Belgian champions would field such a weakened side, we might've stayed home. A well-worked goal put the vistors 1-0 up at half-time, though the matched sparked into life after second half changes were made. A dubious-looking Ben Watson penalty restored parity and the Eagles might even have won the game. Young hotshot Victor Moses got a late run-out and looked so much of handful that Anderlecht resorted to kicking him up in the air each time he got the ball. We're still unbeaten in our eight friendlies so far, and with Benfica defender Jose Fonte confirmed as a year-long loan signing (with an option to buy, apparently), maybe the coming season won't be quite so dismal after all - famous last words, I know.
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Tuesday 31st July
Believe me, I'd hoped that Michael Schenker would pull himself together for last night's gig at the Hammersmith Apollo. Alas, due to the venue's pre-entry queues his set had begun by the time I got in to see the show. The first sight that greeted me was Michael on his knees. "Oh shit", was my first thought. In fact, he played marginally better than at Pentrich (see July 29). Dispensing with keyboards, the band tried vainly to cover the fact that Michael was incapable of the fluid solos that have become his trademark. The intent was there, and at the show's end you could sense his frustration, but for the most part what Schenker regaled us with was open chords and random noise.
From the ridiculous to the sublime, the Scorpions were utterly superb, extending the set they played at Pentrich to just under two and a half hours of near-perfection (can anyone really claim to have enjoyed those bass and drum solos?) As Metal Hammer features ed Alex Milas gushed in this morning's email: "I nearly wept with joy at 'The Zoo' and it just got better from there." 'Dark Lady' was added to the section featuring Uli Jon Roth, and although 'Make It Real' got dropped, 'Deep And Dark', 'Blackout' and 'Wind Of Change' were all added. Then Uli returned for 'In Trance', hanging around as the show ended with a seemingly-spontaneous 'When The Smoke Is Coming Down' - a track from the 'Blackout' album which of course he didn't even appear on.
Incidentally, some objected to my suggestion that Matthias Jabs was "relegated to bit-part player" during the Rock & Blues show. I wasn't intending to denigrate Jabs, who is a fine musician and in my experience a pleasant and witty fellow away from the stage (for a German, at least), but to point out the disparity between the Roth-styled material and the band's MTV hits. In last month's Classic Rock, Matthias voiced his doubts regarding the "history lesson" of playing again with Uli, and even at Hammersmith the likes of 'We'll Burn The Sky' caused people to either punch the air with delight or scratch their heads and disappear to the bar. Make no mistake, as someone that wore out a vinyl copy of 'The Tokyo Tapes' during his teenaged years, I'm in the former category. To be honest, Jabs' disinterested body language did its own talking.