UFO - Lights Out In Babenhausen 1993
November 13, 2023, 3 weeks ago
Just one in a series of nine, newly issued live albums from various points in the career of the sadly defunct Brits. This German show is memorable for the fact it marks Michael Schenker's return to the band. Apparently the band was so happy to have Herr Schenker back in the fold that they allowed him to perform two tunes from his solo album, individually and acoustic, in the middle of the set. Essentially the entirety of Strangers In The Night (plus "Hot 'N' Ready"), albeit a different running order.
After some airy keyboard effects as an intro, Schenker lets rip to open "Natural Thing". For thirty year old tapes, they clean up well. Essentially an authorized bootleg, the sound is unpolished, yet vibrant (if not initially a little over modulated), with Phil Mogg's voice crisp and up front in the mix. Pete Way's bass thumps throughout "Mother Mary". There's a jangling undercurrent for much of "Let It Roll". Electric piano opens "Out In The Streets" and remains prominent for the rest of the song. Notice the little embellishments, as the keys play alongside the guitar break. Maybe it's the perceived language barrier, but Mogg's not in a talkative mood, typically just mentioning each song title or the occasional "Thank you."
"Open & Willing" gets a little keyboard augmentation, while the title cut off Positive Forward is played on a pair of acoustic guitars. The German crowd is boisterous. Electricity restored, the aforementioned "Hot 'N' Ready" is a classic slice of British blues based hard rock, over in just 3:41. From here on (the second of the two discs, on vinyl) it's a string of hits, beginning with "Too Hot To Handle". More electric piano, to kick off "Love To Love", which appears to also sprinkle in a bit of acoustic guitar, before becoming fully electrified. "Lights Out" sees Michael soloing, while proper set ending "Doctor, Doctor" begins with keys and six-string.
They return for mammoth 9:35 "Rock Bottom", with Schenker given plenty of time to improvise, as the drums & keys keep time beneath him. "Shoot Shoot" ends the night. Beyond the historical significance, the listener gets all the big hits. What's not to like?