Michael Schenker Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, April 11, 2015
To be honest, I was a latecomer to the works of Schenker and even the Uli era of the Scorpions. I never got exposed to it. It wasn’t until the mid-90s when a friend gave me his record collection that was filled with pristine copies of UFO, Scorpions and MSG that I was floored by the greatness of these bands. I had seen Schenker and Roth together in 2004 and was simply blown away. I do prefer the MSG stuff a little more than UFO just for its heaviness, but hearing someone play like that in the 70s was pretty groundbreaking.
The current lineup features Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell from the Scorpions along with Doogie White (Yngwie, Rainbow) and Wayne Findlay.
I opted for the pre-show meet and greet because I am a huge fan of Francis and Herman. What a solid rhythm section. The 7 of us got to sit in on soundcheck. Before getting the PA and everything in order, Schenker was just in front of his amp shredding at a low volume for about 45 minutes straight until the whole band was ready to check. Half of that time he was just doing hammer on/pull offs with no picking in between whatsoever. It was pretty impressive. He’s 60. Also a lot thinner than he was in 2004. It was interesting watching Michael, Wayne and Francis fixing a “mistake” that they were doing live. Michael asks Francis what note he’s playing in a certain part, Wayne disagrees, Michael agrees, they play it between themselves a few times and fix it. After the 4 song soundcheck, we got to hang out with the band, nerd out, get our stuff signed etc. There was a young couple who had just gotten married earlier in the day then came to the meet and greet. Pretty cool seeing such young fans of quality music. I was really mostly excited to meet Francis. When I picked up the bass in 2000, the Scorpions were one of the bands that helped me learn how to play. I had a great conversation about his red Fender bass and if he brings it on tour still. “It’s better left back home these days. It’s a ’66,” he said. He went on to tell me about his current Warwick endorsement and how they custom built 2 for him. He’s such a big guy that the Warwick looked tiny strapped to him. Herman was a pleasure to talk to as well. Before soundcheck, Doogie came over to where I was sitting and just started chatting. He must have been pretty bored. haha. I asked him about his first band, La Paz, and gave me a cool quick history. Unfortunately they weren’t listed in the book. I did have Francis and Herman sign on their photo.
Y&T were playing in the club next door and went on before Schenker, but I didn’t get back to the club in time to catch them. We purposely missed the openers but I caught a glimpse of the band that was on right before and saw the bassist all over the stage with crazy antics and thought that he looked like the former Schenker bassist, Rev Jones (Fort’e). It was him. He’s a bit annoying to watch but the guy can play. Too much over the top though.
Schenker and the band come on and open with Doctor Doctor. They sound great. I think Doogie is a good fit with them. They rolled into a new song called Live and Let Live then into Lights Out. The crowd was very into it. Schenker and UFO are huge in San Antonio. The set was filled with UFO, MSG and Scorpions songs. Michael’s playing was just stellar. His rhythm guitarist/keyboardist, Wayne Findlay, also provided great backing vocals. The whole band looked like they were having fun. It was a killer show. Now I need to see Y&T next time they’re around.
I also got a bonus signature in the book from original Devastation bassist, Alex Dominguez. Score!
Click images to enlarge.