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UFO: Showtime (DVD)
The music of UFO has long been a reference point in many of the popular Hard Rock and Metal band histories and you read about this in interview after interview. This might be the case because the band is perhaps one of the best Hard Rock acts to have ever come around and the fact that they still perform today is a statement on its own. For many years legendary guitarist Michael Schenker was a part of the band but through it all the signature bluesy voice of Phil Mogg gave this band the consistency that it still holds strong to this day. After years of lineup changes the band now finds three core original members (Phil Mogg, Pete Way and Paul Raymond) and the addition of dynamic players to round out the lineup. On guitar is Vinnie Moore who is a legend in his own right and admits an inspiration from Schenker as do most guitarists. The drumming is adeptly handled by Jason Bonham, son of the one and only John Bonham. Many will state that this is the strongest lineup that the band has had since the days that Schenker a member. The double DVD Set brings you to the front row for a performance the band did in Wilhelmshaven Germany at the club "Pumpverk". All around 2004 the group was supporting their SPV Records release You Are Here. There is a lot to enjoy on this straight live shoot and USA fans who got to see the band will appreciate the fact that they finally are able to see Pete Way perform. The reason for Pete's absence in the States was due to some VISA problems and as a result he had to remain in England. In his place for those shows was bassist Barry Sparks who seemed to fit right in very well.
I was lucky to cover one of the appearances of the band in the States and I totally enjoyed the presentation. This fact made watching the DVD ever so much more a pleasure as I had never seen them before and now was getting the chance to relive the recent experience in the comfort of home. Those that know the band already understand that it is not about the visual end of things with this group and more the overall performance of quality Rock. The viewer that expects visual dynamite will be disappointed because there is not any of that present. What you do get is 16 tracks from the bands catalog that feature not only a comprehensive collection of their staple numbers, but also a nice sampling from the new record. I found the mix to be a great amount of new and old that allowed new fans to get a great background in a short time and still keep the interest of the classic fans. While they were one of those bands that I never got to see more than one time, I always loved the music that they dealt out. My favorites lean to the classic years with numbers like "Too Hot Too Handle", "Lights Out", and "Only You Can Rock Me". All of these and much more are delivered to excellence on the DVD and truly the combination of Moore and Bonham really comes to the front on these classics. Jason Bonham has proven himself more than worthy of the legendary name and Vinnie Moore performs in such a fashion that you would imagine Schenker himself drawing a smile.
The group released a CD on the same day as the DVD but this product only has the live concert and none of the extras that you will find here. A fantastic amount of bonus features are present and those alone make it worth picking up. DVD1 is the main concert piece and some bonus material while DVD2 begins with the band being recorded live in the studio for 6 numbers. Those songs are a nice addition and should go over good with the fan base. I have to say that overall this was a very easy to appreciate block of music and while I often feel that releases such as this should be one big package, the extras make it acceptable to have them sold individually. This is a recommendation for any fans of good Rock and Roll who also might be interested in the historic side of things. If you don't like that sort of thing you can always just grab the CD. Either way you will be entertained and pleased.
Bonus Features: The band has a rich and illustrious history and many stories are outlined in the documentaries that are included. There are two such documentaries with one being on band history and the other on the USA Tour in 2004. There is a sufficient amount of candid Interviews and a making of the concert and studio tracks. Slideshows, discographies and extra biographical information wrap up this very well-done section of the package.
2. Mother Mary
3. When Daylight Goes To Town
4. Let It Roll
5. I'm A Loser
6. This Kids
7. The Wild One
8. Fighting Man
9. Only You Can Rock Me
10. Baby Blue
11. Mr. Freeze
12. Love To Love
13. Too Hot Too Handle
14. Lights Out
15. Rock Bottom
16. Doctor Doctor
17. Shoot Shoot
Pack It Up And Go
Love To Love
Profession Of Violence
Added: December 23rd 2005
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: UFO Website
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|UFO: Showtime (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-12-23 10:10:27
UFO's Showtime DVD set is a must have for fans who have followed the band since the early 70's and still have an interest in how powerful a live act they still are. Gone are Michael Schenker and Andy Parker (although the drummer has since returned), replaced by guitar hero Vinnie Moore and Jason Bonham, both who fit in wonderfully. This concert, recorded in May of 2005 in Germany, is filled with UFO classics as well as some of the best songs from their recent You Are Here album. One of the biggest injustices is the fact that UFO were never a really huge band, as I always felt they had more talent and wrote overall better songs than other hard rock acts who really made it big like Aerosmith and Bad Company. Their live shows are always talked about with high esteem, and one watch of this DVD will cement that reputation for anyone who hasn't seen them on stage. Phil Mogg, looking incredibly lean and muscled, still can belt it out with the best of them, and while Pete Way seems to have not taken care of himself as well as Mogg, his presence on stage is essential to the UFO sound. Also in tow is longtime keyboard player/rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond, who adds the right amount of color to the songs. While it's common knowledge how good a guitar player Moore is, the surprising thing is how well he fits his style into the older songs. Much like Steve Morse keeps the spirit of Ritchie Blackmore alive in the older Deep Purple songs, Moore sounds remarkably like Michael Schenker, hitting the same notes and getting the same overall tone, which makes songs like "Mother Mary", "Rock Bottom", "Lights Out", and "Shoot Shoot" sound especially like vintage UFO. Bonham, in my opinion, is a better drummer technically than Andy Parker, and adds some personality and humor, not to mention great backing vocals, to the drum position.
There's also plenty of bonus material here, including some interviews, documentaries, and some great studio footage of the band performing "Pack It Up and Go", "Try Me" (complete with a string section) and a few other hot numbers. It makes for an enjoyable few hours of UFO music and commentary that can be enjoyed by fans old and new.
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