Club Nosturi, Helsinki
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA
The British rock legends UFO are no strangers in Finland. In fact, the band has visited Finland a few times and they have a solid fan base in here. Although there are only two remaining members left from the bands “golden era”, vocalist Phil Mogg and drummer Andy Parker, UFO has still managed to put out several decent albums during the past few years. YOU ARE HERE (2003) was the first release featuring Vinnie Moore on guitar and later on they have put out THE MONKEY PUZZLE (2006), THE VISITOR (2009) and the latest opus SEVEN DEADLY which came out in early 2013. However, it’s time to check out if UFO is still flying on 2014.
The show opened up, a bit surprisingly, with one of the bands biggest classic “Lights Out”. In general, it is customary to save the end of these classics such as this, but it works this way as well. The band sounded good and their sound was clean and clear right from the beginning. Two SEVEN DEADLY tracks followed and proved again the fact that it doesn’t matter how great you new material is but hardly anybody knows the newer stuff. It’s a shame because all four albums released after Vinnie Moore joined the band in 2003 have all been high quality discs with lots of great material. Classic “Let it Roll” put things back on the rails for a moment. The first surprise on the set list was “Pushed to the Limit”. It’s a brilliant song from the bands classic line-up re-union album WALK ON WATER (1996). I might be wrong but I don’t remember that band has played too much, if any, any material from that album after the tour that followed after the album was out. Anyway, the song sounded excellent and it was definitely one of the highlights of the evening.
The following “Makin’ Moves” was another surprise from the band. Prior this tour the song has last time been performed in 1982 during the MECHANIX –tour. Overall it’s a pity that the band doesn’t play more material from the Paul Chapman era because there’s a plenty of great stuff in there. “Burn Your House Down” was the third and last song performed from the latest UFO album. Again, it was a great track, but a very few seemed to recognize the song in the audience. As expected the rest of set was a pure hit parade the band played all the mandatory UFO classics: “Only You Can Rock Me”, “Love To Love”, “Rock Bottom” followed by encores “Doctor Doctor” and “Shoot Shoot”. The show was over and it’s time to make some conclusions.
Let’s start from the positive things. The band was still as good as ever and their sound was extremely clear. Phil Mogg is definitely one of the most underrated vocalists in rock/metal music history. The man can still, in his mid 60’s, sing all the parts perfectly. His stage character is also funny to follow. You never know what’s going to happen next, is he going to leave stage, have a drink, tell stupid jokes or fall asleep while standing up. He is a true gentleman with a strong British humor if you know what I mean. Vinnie Moore is a world class guitarist with great sense of style, Andy Parker is still the same powerhouse drummer as always and Paul Raymond handled his double duty (keys and guitar) with style. Raymond has always been a bit “suspicious” looking guy, and it seems that with more age the suspicion will only strengthen … But whatever. The latest addition on the puzzle is a bassist Rob De Luca who’s been on/off live member of the band since 2008 when the original bassist Pete Way stepped away. To be honest, Luca is a lot like a young version of Way. Not only does he play the bass-lines exactly as Pete but he also looks pretty much the same and he does a lot of same stage moves what Way used to do. However, he’s a great bassist and a good fit for the band.
The set list was a combination of new album tracks and the obvious choices with a pair of rarely played songs which are mentioned earlier. Maybe the band should re-think, shake that list a bit more, and leave out some worn-out songs because they have a tons of great material in their pockets. But all in all, this set list act as such for most of the audience just fine with no complaining. The biggest problem with tonight’s gig was the fact that there were not too many people in the crowd. There were approximately 150 people there, when the capacity of Nosturi is close to 800. And I do remember when UFO last played in Finland a few years ago, they didn’t do any better then. Maybe it’s time to do some more changes, not only in the set list, in the UFO camp soon. Otherwise I doubt that we’ll see this classic band in Finland anymore in the future.
Let It Roll
When Daylight Goes to Town
Pushed to the Limit
Burn Your House Down
Only You Can Rock Me
Love to Love