UFO Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, March 12, 2016
I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been a lifelong UFO fan. In fact, and it’s been mentioned here before, I didn’t become a fan until 1997. I know of them, knew a few songs here and there mainly from metal bands covering songs of theirs (Fifth Angel anyone?), but it wasn’t until a colleague through work gave me his pristine record collection that I truly became aware of UFO, MSG and Uli era Scorpions. That’s not very long overall, especially seeing how popular that stuff is here in Texas thanks to former San Antonio DJ Joe Anthony. None of that was ever on the radio in Virginia although I do have to say that Steve from Skinnies Records in Norfolk always recommended that stuff since I had first met him in 87. I just didn’t listen. haha.
That being said, I dig UFO now and am glad to have had the opportunity to see them last night. This isn’t your father’s UFO as many members have come and gone over the years. Several friends said they weren’t going because neither Schenker nor Pete Way were in the band. Fair enough, everyone needs their reasons I guess. More so than the guitar playing, it was Mogg’s vocals that drew me to them and with him still in the band, I was in.
I got to the north side of San Antonio to Rodney’s place to immediately head downtown to grab dinner and show some friends from Mexico City the Alamo. Our other friends from Corpus were there as well. They all went to Dallas the night before to see UFO. We snapped a few fotos at the Alamo, grabbed a drink on the Riverwalk then headed over to the Alamo Music Hall. There was only one opener and UFO was scheduled to go on at 9PM.
I grabbed a tour shirt and we stayed out on the patio during the opener. UFO went on promptly at 9 to a crowd that seemed like 700 or better. Their taped intro was Alex Harvey’s Faith Healer, a song that I love thanks to Foetus covering it. I’m pretty sure most folks there didn’t recognize the song. They opened with We Belong to the Night from 1982’s Mechanix album. They followed up with a song from 2012’s Seven Deadly album called Fight Night. The band didn’t shy away from newer stuff playing 2 from their latest effort, A Conspiracy of Stars, another from Seven Deadly and one from 1995’s awesome album, Walk on Water.
Highlights for me were Lights Out, Love to Love, Too Hot to Handle (not played that often so far on this tour), Venus and Rock Bottom. The only lowlight would be the sound in the venue. I thought with it being pretty filled that it may sound better but that just wasn’t the case. I like the venue and the staff but the sound in there is just awful. Roc Box (formerly Kapone’s) has it dialed in pretty well.
I’ve heard people bitch and moan about Vinnie Moore being in the band. What? That guy is great and does a great job. Other non-classic era bassist, Rob De Luca f. of Spread Eagle is also in the band. He’s been in since 2008. Rounding out the lineup were Andy Parker, Paul Raymond and the incomparable Phil Mogg. He’s 67 and his voice sounded great. I was pleasantly surprised. The band was tight and played everything at a good moderate pace. Andy’s drumming was solid and he had no issues rocking the set.
Of course I brought The Book with me. The band wasn’t set to do a meet and greet so I had to hope for them to come out after. Unfortunately on Rob de Luca came out. The plus side to that was that my friend Christie was there and she’s friends with him. Through that connection, Rob graciously walked me to the band’s green room, offered me a Peroni and introduced me to Paul and Andy who both signed the book. I caught Vinnie Moore in the hallway and he was super cool. Phil wasn’t anywhere to be seen and then from another room he popped out with travel bags in both hands. He looked at me, the book, then back at me and said, “I’ll sign it after I drop this off on the bus.” I offered to help carry his stuff and he responded, “That’s nice of you but I’ve got it. And you know, I better sign this now because I likely won’t come back off of the bus.” I thanked him for his time and for his music. He made a funny crack about the picture of him and thanked me again for offering to carry his stuff. I think that may have been the only thing he signed after the show. SCORE! I owe Christie big time for that hookup.
After the show, we hit IHOP then back to Rodney’s and listened to records until the wee hours of the morning. After 2 hours of sleep I got up and drove home. What a great night!