MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK
Filmed and recorded in Madrid on November 19th 2015, here we have the full-on Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock live experience in visual/audio form, with a whopping 22 song setlist (well, 21 if you don't count the intro music preceding the band's stage entrance). Joined by his esteemed and established Temple of Rock brethren - vocalist Doogie White; drummer Herman Rarebell; bassist Francis Bucholz; and guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay - this is a truly wonderful release that epitomises their rock/metal potency and showcases just why Schenker and co. have become a must-see gig in the rock/metal calendar.
The Joy Eslava Theatre was apparently chosen for the occasion because of the intimacy it offered... and "joy"... literally! Both band and audience look like they're indulging in pure rock revelry from start to finish. Despite the venue's two tiers of balcony, it really does look like an intimate place; so much so that it's even lacking a photopit (which is unusual for a pre-planned, controlled filming situation). As such, concert goers are right up against the stage, so the audience/band divide, apart from a few monitor speakers, is virtually non-existent. Hands can be seen constantly reaching out to touch the performers, and the band reciprocate and seem to be loving every second of it. I spoke with Michael about this forthcoming release back in January this year, and he talked so enthusiastically about his happy memories of the show, and the intimate, jovial occasion it was, where he said: "with the audience right in front of me... I ended up doing as much high-five as I play songs." He wasn't joking! It's a pleasure to watch so much mutual merriment between a band and their fans. Schenker, in particular, looks like he was having the time of his life up on stage, smiling away for what seems like 90% of the show. The music itself is delivered with so much passion, energy and flawless execution, these guys were obviously on the finest of forms in Madrid. In fact, I believe that no overdubs have been deployed here, so this is mightily impressive stuff, particularly from the high-fiving Schenker! The setlist is largely as expected, with Temple of Rock, Scorpions, UFO and MSG tracks galore.
Given the venue's intimacy and small-ish size of the stage, there are an impressive number of cameras, both static and non-static, that've captured all the action from a multitude of up-close-and-personal angles, all edited into an engaging montage that never succumbs to overly quick cuts between each of the shots. However, while the lighting's generally impressive, the stage is occasionally drowned in that perpetual filmic irritation of blue and red lighting, which renders the visuals a blotchy mess. Like I say, though, this is only an occasional occurrence and discernibly improves as the show progresses, to the point where image clarity is notceably better for it.
It's the DVD edition of this release that's been made available for review, so the fact this has been filmed in 4K HD video is almost entirely redundant in the SD presentation of the footage. However, while the general sharpness, detail and clarity of image associated with HD is generally lacking (as you'd expect for a DVD), it still offers respectably clear visuals with enough clarity and detail, through an MPEG-encode with a high enough bitrate. And those desiring the full HD experience will be pleased to know this is also being released in a Blu-ray edition. Sound-wise, there are two options available - LPCM stereo and DTS 5.1 mixes - both of which offer their own merits and sound every bit as resonant and 'live' as you'd hope for this kind of thing. Again, the Blu-ray disc would be the preferred edition as this, apparently, comes with an additional Dolby Atmos 3D mix.
Bonus features are restricted to just two short pieces of film. One is under two minutes of footage of the queue outside the venue, with White himself mingling and posing for photos. The other is just over six and a half minutes of 'Soundcheck Sketches' which are exactly what it says on the tin - soundcheck snippets - and allows you to see just how small and intimate the unpopulated venue is, with house lights up. A few interviews or some candid, backstage footage might've been a nice addition; maybe some post-show reactions too. However, the real joy here is the show itself, and this is a fantastic audio/visual document of Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock at the tail-end of 2015.
ON A MISSION - LIVE IN MADRID
Review by Mark Holmes
29th April 2016
1) Ocean Odyssey - Intro; 2) Doctor Doctor; 3) Live and Let Live; 4) Lights Out; 5) Where the Wild Winds Blow; 6) Natural Thing; 7) Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; 8) Victim of Illusion; 9) Lovedrive; 10) Coast to Coast; 11) Vigilante Man; 12) Rock My Nights Away; 13) Saviour Machine; 14) Too Hot To Handle; 15) Only You Can Rock Me; 16) Lord of the Lost and Lonely; 17) Rock You Like a Hurricane; 18) Rock Bottom; 19) Horizons; 20) Attack of the Mad Axeman; 21) Communion; 22) Blackout
Bonus Features: Outside the Theatre; Soundcheck Sketches
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...this is a truly wonderful release that epitomises their rock/metal potency and showcases just why Schenker and co. have become a must-see gig in the rock/metal calendar."