Michael Schenker, Blue Oyster Cult and Girlschool at Hard Rock Hell
Venue: Hard Rock Hell
The grand finale of Hard Rock Hell 2014
There are not many musicians out there that can be classed as a bona fide rock guitar legend, but Michael Schenker is unquestionably one of them. Unique and influential in his style of playing, he has not only seen success with his solo projects, but has also played a significant part in the success of NWOBHM heroes UFO as well as being instrumental in the early success of German rock legends Scorpions. It’s no surprise then that the room is absolutely filled to bursting point to by the time the intro music kicks in and his current solo incarnation, Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock , burst onto the Hard Rock Hell main stage.
As opening moves go, kicking things off with the UFO classic Doctor Doctor takes some beating and not surprisingly the gathered beer-fuelled hordes go nuts as they bounce and chant along to a song of a calibre that a lot of bands would give anything to close with. Still, when you have an arsenal of UFO, Scorpions and not to mention MSG tracks to pull from, it’s no real biggie and Schenker and co. certainly take full advantage of the catalogue of classics at their disposal as they belt out Scorpions tracks such as Lovedrive and the instrumental Coast To Coast as well as UFO’s Shoot Shoot – all the while Schenker cutting that familiar figure, hunched over his flying V as he rips up the fretboard in his own inimitable style.
It’s not just all about the old-school tonight though as Temple Of Rock tracks get a look in too. “This is a drinking song... and a sea shanty,” exclaims frontman Doogie White as 2013’s Lord Of The Lost And Lonely cuts a fine sway, while the brand new, yet to be released Vigilante Man stomps along and shows great promise for what’s to come on the new album due in early 2015. Somewhat inevitably though it’s the classics that win through the night, the response to Rock You Like A Hurricane threatening to tear the roof off the room as the place goes bonkers, while Rock Bottom ends proceedings in massive style to rapturous cheers for a man who is a genuine legend of our world.
There is no disputing the influence that melodic hard rockers Blue Oyster Cult  have had on the American rock scene in their time. Whichever way you cut it though, it’s a simple fact that for all but their biggest fans they are simply the band who did ‘that song’. With that in mind, it was always going to be a big ask to keep people's interest throughout a set of an hour and twenty minutes tonight, and so it proves to be.