Wednesday 12 February 2014

Michael Schenker, "Bridge The Gap" Tour 
El Corazon in Seattle, Washington on Feb 9, 2014

Sunday night, February 9th I went to see Michael Schenker with Doogie White (vocals) Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards) Rev Jones (bass) and Pete Holmes (drums).  They played at El Corazon, Spanish for "The Heart," in Seattle, Washington.  El Corazon is a small club with a black interior and is nothing fancy, just a cool neighborhood club where aspiring bands hope to make it.  That's not all that happens here though, some of the most famous Seattle bands have made it big here and some of the biggest bands in the world have played here while on tour.

"El Corazon" was previously called "The Off Ramp" and on October 22, 1990 Pearl Jam played their first show here under their previous name Mookie Blaylock.  Nirvana played here as well, during the same year and Alice In Chains was the house band and played every Friday night for most of the months out of the year 1990.  "El Corazon" is not a place to go have a drink after work, it's a place where you go to ROCK!

The show kicked off at 8:30pm with three bands ahead  of Schenker providing ample support.  First up was Palooka.  They are a good local rock band with a funny story about being such big Schenker fans, that when they saw UFO with Paul Chapman they gave him a hard time from the audience cussing at him and flipping him off. The singer commented how bad he feels about it now saying, "the poor guy was just trying to play his ass off, we were just kids, but f*ck it, we are Schenker fans!"

The second band, Zero Down were a band to be reckoned with.  Two songs into their set the floor started to fill up and people were really getting into the dueling guitars and the kind of crazy singer.  The third band was called Gundriver.  The singer was multi-talented playing bass and lead guitar still being held by the original guitar player.  The star of the band, though, was the drummer!  By the time Gundriver finished, everyone was ready for Schenker and the floor was packed,. no seats in this joint, standing room only.

Michael gave us  two hours of blistering rock starting bang on time at 11pm with a set list covering 40 years of hits. The show started with the first two songs off of his new album, "Bridge The Gap" and Michael used his Dean USA Yin Yang guitar.  First, a cool instrumental called "Neptune Rising" perfect for an opener, then straight into "Where The Wild Winds Blow," a song for which Doogie wrote the lyrics.

Doogie of course is an excellent front man and singer and may well be remembered by many for his short tenure fronting Rainbow in the nineties and singing on the album Starnger In Us All. He does seem to have found his place alongside Michael and is a real asset to the band.  Three songs in and we have the first classic, "Armed and Ready" off of MSG's first album released in 1980.  Doogie took a couple minutes to say hello to Seattle and then the band went in to "Cry For The Nations"  the second classic from  the same MSG album.  What grabbed my attention right away besides Michael's superb guitar solos was Rev Jones.  He is quite the entertainer, working the stage with kicks and jumps and his unique way of playing his bass guitar, one of them being a monster 6 string custom Dean bass, he plays over the neck of the bass and has a two handed tapping style all his own.

They went on to play "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" from MSG's second self titled album released in 1981 and straight into "Assault Attack" from the third album released in 1982.  Doogie was sounding really good, he was nailing the vocals. He stopped to introduce himself and let us know that if we can't understand what he's saying it's because he is Scottish and then he went on about something I didn't understand (So much for the explanation!).  They played a couple more MSG songs and then played "Love Drive" a huge Scorpions hit.  At this point the crowd went completely crazy.  I looked around and I could see smiling faces everywhere.  I looked on stage and Michael was bent over his V looking into the crowd smiling back at us.  They played one more Scorps song "Another Piece of Meat."

Doogie said in a loud voice, "I have three words for you," as he counted down with his fingers, "Ronnie... James.... Dio!"  The band went into a song Michael and Doogie wrote for Dio called "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead."  A great dedication to a rock n roll icon.  They played one more song from the new album called, "Horizons" a fast paced song with a driving rhythm.  During the entire performance Wayne Findlay, Rev Jones, and Pete Holmes did an incredible job laying the foundation for Schenkers powerful solos.

The next seven songs were UFO hits and pushed the appreciative audience into overdrive, "Shoot Shoot," "Only You Can Rock Me," "Let It Roll," "Too Hot To Handle," "Lights Out In London," and encores, which Doogie first said, "Normally we would leave the stage first, but it's f*cking freezing outside (no backstage just a door to the outside) so you'll have to cheer if you want another song," "Rock Bottom," and "Doctor Doctor."  "Rock Bottom" was the Schenker special using his Stranger In The Night Guitar he went into a 7 minute guitar solo bending and stretching chords, using octaves, sliding his fingers up and down the neck and then holding his guitar up in the air playing one handed. If he had only played one song all night then this would be the song that proved all the adulation Michael has received over the years for his guitar prowess was worthy.

Michael Schenker and Temple Of Rock lit up the dark El Corazon with a powerful ray of love and music.  Michael is on top of his game with a satisfying place in his career as a writer and guitar prodigy. When Classic Rock Radio's Jon Kirkman interviewed Michael, he said he was in a great place in his career and by the looks of it, I would agree.

Set List:
E-Tone ~ Neptune Rising ~ Where The Wild Winds Blow ~ Armed and Ready ~ Cry For The Nations ~ Let Sleeping Dogs Lie ~ Assault Attack ~ Attack Of The Mad Axeman ~ Rock My Nights Away ~ Into The Arena ~ Love Drive ~ Another Piece of Meat ~ Before The Devil Knows Your Dead ~ Horizons ~ Shoot Shoot ~ Only You Can Rock Me ~ Let It Roll ~ Too Hot To Handle ~ Lights Out In London ~ Rock Bottom ~ Doctor, Doctor

Review by Jill Maciel
West Coast Correspondent for CRRdotEU
Photos by Jill Maciel and Scott Banning

2014 Bridge The Gap Tour and introducing Doogie White on vocals:

FEB 12 2014House Of BluesW. Hollywood, CAUSA
FEB 13 2014Heritage TheaterCampbell, CAUSA
FEB 14 2014Ramona MainstageRamona, CAUSA
FEB 15 2014The Coach HouseSan Juan Capistrano, CAUSA
FEB 16 2014St.RockeHermosa Beach, CAUSA

March Tour in Japan featuring:
Doogie White - vocals
Francis Buchholz - bass
Herman Rarebell - drums
Michael Schenker - guitar

For Info On Japan Tour Dates:

Michael Schenker Website:

Order Bridge The Gap CD UK:

Order Bridge The Gap CD US:

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