Afforded legendary status by many within the rock fraternity, it seems German guitarist Michael Schenker is a little more humble about his position within the annals of music history. Despite the egocentricity implicit in the title of last year's solo album 'Temple of Rock', the onetime Scorpions/UFO axeman and prolific solo artist, judging by press blurb, considers himself a mere constituent part of such a sonic 'temple'. And the release of 'Temple of Rock - Live in Europe' on DVD goes part way to reinforcing such where, during a nineteen track setlist filmed and recorded in the Netherlands at the 013 in Tilburg earlier this year, only two songs from said album are aired with over half the running time occupied with Scoprions and UFO classics. So self-indulgent Schenker is not; rather it's more an exercise in fan-pleasing tunes. Sure, he takes centre stage during the many solo spots but there's a band vibe at work here rather than a solo-centric performance. The visuals are great with all the action captured up-close and from afar but the overall sound and mix is where this DVD truly shines (stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio options are equally as good depending on your personal preference and home setup). Apart from Schenker's fretboard widdling sounding absolutely succulent, the general sonics are wonderfully resonant - the live vibe has been captured perfectly and not enervated by too much post-production polish. Whether any overdubs have been deployed I am unaware, but with the quality of musicians involved - ex-Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell; ex-Scorpions bassist Francis Buchholz; the ever-reliable Doogie White on vocals and long-time MSG member Wayne Findlay on keyboards/guitar - one would expect the high quality of musicianship that's on display in the hundred minutes of show footage.
And it's a wise choice of location for the recording too - I've been to a handful of gigs in 013 over the past few years and, for a venue of its size (2,200 capacity), its atmosphere, acoustics and ambience are incomparable, and this all comes across on 'Temple of Rock - Live In Europe'. Of course, the DVD recording won't make you feel like you're there (there's no substitute for the actual lived experience of attending a show) but it did make me wish I was there. That's job done as far as I'm concerned from the perspective of not only the musicians but an obviously skilled production crew. In terms of bonus material, there's footage of five tracks shot/recorded at the UK's High Voltage festival last summer which is of equally excellent quality as the main concert and featuring guest appearances by Rudolph Schenker, Jeff Scott Soto and Pete Way. Then there's ten minutes of behind the scenes 'Before the Show' clips backstage at 013 (which, to be fair, is not that interesting as it's only the band hanging out just prior to hitting the stage, discussing the setlist and genital-related graffiti scribbled on dressing room furniture, amongst other verbal ramblings). A smart booklet's also included with Schenker contributing to liner notes as well as general blurb in both English and German and full song and production credits (so many music DVDs seem to be absent of an accompanying booklet these days so it's simple but a nice touch). Overall, 'Temple of Rock - Live in Europe' is a genuinely great product with so much quality fodder for fans of Schenker, UFO and/or the Scorpions to lap up. Recommended.
TEMPLE OF ROCK - LIVE IN EUROPE
Review by Mark Holmes
3rd Dec 2012
CONCERT: 1) Into the Arena; 2) Armed and Ready; 3) Lovedrive; 4) Another Piece of Meat; 5) Hanging On; 6) Cry for the Nations; 7) Let Sleeping Dogs Lie; 8) Coast to Coast; 9) Assault Attack; 10) Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; 11) Lights Out; 12) On and On; 13) Let It Roll; 14) Shoot Shoot; 15) Rock You Like a Hurricane; 16) Rock Bottom; 17) Holiday; 18) Blackout; 19) Doctor Doctor. BONUS (Live at High Voltage): 1) Armed and Ready; 2) Another Piece of Meat; 3) Rock You Like a Hurricane; 4) Hanging On; 5) Doctor Doctor
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...the live vibe has been captured perfectly and not enervated by too much post-production polish."
'Michael Schenker: Temple of Rock - Live in Europe is released on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and Ltd Deluxe Edition by inakustik. Schenkerís Temple of Rock UK tour starts 9th April 2013. Book online: www.thegigigcartel.com, Ticket Hotline: 0844 478 0898. Further info: www.michaelschenkerhimself.com.