UFO at O2 Academy, Newcastle on 25th April 2015

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In 1969 future US President Jimmy Carter was busy filing a report relating to a UFO sighting that he and a number of others saw in Georgia USA. Around this time in the UK some cockney types were busy creating their own UFO in London and they are still being sighted on a regular basis 46 years later.

It is an early 8pm start on a Saturday evening for Phil Mogg and the gang as they amble on to the stage looking incredibly relaxed; and fair play to them they kick off at a canny kilter with ‘We Belong To The Night’ from the 1982 Mechanix album. The sound is a bit fudgy at first, as is sometimes the case at the Academy but it improves quickly.

Sadly when the first song finishes and they have just built up a head of steam they decide to a play a couple of real plodders – Run Boy Run from their latest offering Conspiracy Of Stars and Fight Night from their previous release Seven Deadly. This is all rather confusing given that neither are the strongest tracks from those respective albums not to mention the array of songs they could have chosen from. However, they then quickly redeemed themselves by blasting into the classic Lights Out.

Aside from the obvious Michael Schenker it is fair to say that UFO have had some great guitarists in their ranks in their time and Vinnie Moore who has been with the band since the early noughties is no exception. This whizz shredder came to prominence during the mid 1980’s in his own right and having owned a couple of his solo albums from way back then I wondered how his incredibly technical virtuoso style would work in a rock band rather than in a strictly metal arena. I need not have worried; he knows exactly when to put his foot to the floor and when to ease off the gas. Likewise Phil’s voice is coming over wonderfully during the songs but his between song banter is somehow getting lost in the hall.

There is no point kidding ourselves, set highlights are the older classic stuff; my personal highpoint being the wonderful Love To Love; who can resist that haunting piano refrain and how the mood builds and falls before finally climaxing in crescendo of guitar trickery. In between the classics there is still time for notable tunes from the new album such as The Killing Kind, but before we know it Rock Bottom is pounding out and we know the end is near. Vinnie Moore blitzes the solo and it is all over…apart from the encores which include Doctor Doctor and then it really is all over.

All in all, a highly commendable and enjoyable performance but for this reviewer it was punctuated with some strange song choices.

By the way, experts finally concluded that Jimmy Carter had probably witnessed the planet Venus that evening in 1969 rather than an alien object – I forgot to mention that UFO also played the song Venus tonight.

Reviewer: Dom Mallatratt

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