Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Legend of Uli Jon Roth and The Scorpions

"Just before he left the band, Michael Schenker asked me, in fact, to join The Scorpions. He told me what was going on with the UFO thing, which was supposed to be a secret. Then Rudolf Schenker rang me a couple weeks later, and said 'Did you know Michael has left the band,' and 'We've got this gig lined up, would you like to fill in?'"

And so it was that Uli Jon (Ulrich) Roth joined The Scorpions, and in four short years the guitarist created a legacy that still dominates any discussion of what has been an incredibly varied, and productive career. In those years (1974-1978), Roth recorded five albums with The Scorpions, and arguably created a genre of rock guitar known as shred. This last comment may raise the hackles of fans of Blackmore, Page, Schenker, Beck, and Iommi, but Roth brought to the table some skills that none of these greats could quite claim.

Uli Roth took the Stratocaster and Marshall sound of Jimi Hendrix and injected it with a sense of precision, daring, and technique that had not previously been demonstrated. His speed was unparalleled, his knowledge and use of theory unique to the world of hard rock, and his whammy bar histrionics set the stage for Edward Van Halen.

Speedy's Coming was the first song on Fly To The Rainbow, Roth's first album with the German rockers in 1974, and never had any guitarist introduced himself in such an auspicious manner. He begins every solo and fill with almost unbelievable violent tremolo bar work, performing huge dives, and shrieks only to follow them with fiery licks - all while keeping the guitar in tune, a trick unheard of in those pre-Floyd Rose days. Even Ritchie Blackmore rarely played with this amount of fury, and passion.

Two songs later, Uli sings and plays his first recorded composition, Drifting Sun. Roth sings terribly. Terribly beautiful - like some of the great singers - like Dylan, and like Hendrix. The man is a visionary poet, delivering his deeply spiritual and philosophical poems over some of the most adventurous post psychedelic rock ever laid to wax. Drifting Sun is equal parts Bob, Jimi, and King Crimson. Roth successfully marries All Along The Watchtower to 21st Century Schizoid Man, while simultaneously taking the art of rock guitar to a new and exciting level.

Uli Roth, "Thinking about the early days, it may be interesting for you to know that on a recording one gets no sense of the sheer volume at all, and it is actually and most definitely not an accurate representation of what the whole thing sounded like in real life. It may amuse you to know that during Scorpions days I always played with cotton-wool in my ears, both on stage as well as in rehearsals. I call that particular line of fire the “death ray”, because it is just that – the tone has little sideways bloom, but is thrust directly forward like a sharp laser beam."

Eddie Van Halen began playing covers of Speedy's Coming, and Catch Your Train before Van Halen the band had a set full of originals to call their own. By 1975 The Scorpions were doing big business across Europe (co-headlining with KISS), and debuting in England at the Cavern Club, most famous for being the Liverpool home of The Beatles. The band released their third album (their second with Roth), In Trance, which became RCA's best selling album in Japan that year.

In Trance was a departure from the band's psychedelia tinged prog/metal - the arrangements were simplified, and the hooks became catchier. However, that is not to say that in any way the band stopped progressing. In fact, this is the album in which Uli Jon Roth stepped up to write six of the album's ten tracks, including the LP's opener, Dark Lady. If you were to put this album on and not be impressed by the sheer force, and propulsion of this magnificent chunk of rock, your sanity may be questionable. This is about as exciting as rock gets. It screams, it howls, it shouts, and Roth is playing like he's being chased by the devil, though I suspect the opposite is true, and Ulrich has Lucifer on the run here. His playing is startlingly complex, and his audacity is stunning - he fearlessly performs stunts that still have my jaw dropping, more than 35 years later. Malmsteen never got this exciting, not even close - no question that Yngwie is a remarkable instrumentalist, but his playing exhibits none of the daring on display here.

Roth on technique versus soul, "Sometimes it is important to devote time to technical aspects - and to do this intensely - but this shouldn’t be one’s main focus for long – only for as long as necessary. To concentrate mainly on the technical aspects of one’s music making can become like a mechanical drug for some people. They become addicted to technique and in some respects hide behind it – to cover up a lack of musical depth or substance by fast, slick flurries of meaningless notes. There is a huge difference between playing fast runs that are dictated by finger reflexes and by those which have musical meaning, quality, and weight. Melody is usually the first victim of this approach – rhythmical precision and clarity of phrasing and expression are often next on the list. For a lot of players this habit can easily lure them into a trap that they may find hard to escape. The problem with this way is that there is very little connection with the deeper layers of music – with the inner content; there is a lot of musical activity, business – but very little of substance is actually being said, and achieved. Concentrating mainly on technique can lead to a musician’s alienation from the essence of music, and the player is then trapped in a perpetual scraping of music’s surface level, which means he is stuck in an immature state of musicianship and never gains any deeper insights."

Here's Uli on his equipment during this period:

1) The guitars were not modified in any way except for the heavy duty tremolo system.

2) My picks tended to vary – very early on I used Fender medium, but soon I started using stronger plectrums such as Joergensen Heavy, which I played for quite some time. The picks I use nowadays are even heavier.

3) My string gauges have always varied, but I have always favored heavier bass strings. The top-string during Scorpions was always an 008. The B probably 011. The G was 015 – the others varied a lot.

During Electric Sun I played heavier strings in general – on the ‘Earthquake’ album they were quite heavy with probably a 052 bass string and an 011 top-string. For the 'Fire Wind' album I went to slightly lighter strings with a 009 at the top – then I started favoring 014 G strings, because I preferred the sound.

4) The Roland 301 Echo only made an appearance just before Tokyo Tapes – I didn’t use echo before then during Scorpions days. (I did use it before Dawn Road, though). Whatever echo you are hearing on those albums was created in the studio.

5) I did have quite a few effects lying around and used them now and then – but not very often during ‘serious’ or melody driven leads. Here is what I can remember: I had an Electric Mistress Flanger which I used on a couple of occasions. The Univibe made its first and, I believe, only appearance on ‘I’ll Be Loving You Always’. I used a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face during ‘Fly To The Rainbow’ at the end of the song. This was also used at the beginning of the track ‘Earthquake’. The ‘Polar Nights’ lead sound was played through a Roland Jet Phaser, which you can also hear at the end of ‘Enola Gay – Hiroshima Today?’ The Wah-Wah pedals tended to be Vox Cry Baby. I played most of my leads through it back then in order to achieve a more singing tone, but onstage it tended to be very piercing and extremely loud, which is why I always used cotton-wool in my ears. I don’t use these piercing sounds any more, nor do I use cotton-wool, but against the drums these brutal, relatively thin sounds were cutting through better.

6) My main Marshall amp was always the same: 100 Watt Super Lead Tremolo from 1972. To this day I have not found a better one for my needs, although I have other Marshalls which sound great, but this one gives me more magic."

In Trance also signaled the beginning of a heavier straight forward hard rock attack, mostly coming from the riff rich guitar of Rudolf Schenker. Songs like In Trance, Top of the Bill, and Robot Man placed The Scorpions directly in the sights of the more commercial ears of Western Europe, and music fiends in America, who were starting to take notice of this Teutonic super-group. Unfortunately, due to a lack of faith in their commercial potential, The Scorpions with Ulrich Roth never stepped foot on American soil.

It was around this time that The Scorpions, and Uli Jon Roth came to my attention. As I recall, I was 16 years old, and had only just discovered the music of UFO, and the guitar wizardry of Michael Schenker. This discovery had truly shaken, and changed my world. Having previously delved into the typical American diet of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, this new style of German hard rock guitar took me by force, challenging not just my musical skills, but my intellect, as I had to absorb not just a new style, but a new language. It took some time, and I vividly recall my first listen to the band's fourth record, Virgin Killer.

Highly controversial for its cover art (over which the band had no control, and little say), Roth had this to say about the cover, and the title track, "Looking at that picture today makes me cringe. It was done in the worst possible taste. Back then I was too immature to see that. Shame on me—I should have done everything in my power to stop it. The record company came up with the idea, I think. The lyrics incidentally were a take-off on Kiss, whom we had just supported on a tour. I was fooling around and played the riff of the song in the rehearsal room and spontaneously improvised 'cause he's a virgin killer!' trying to do a more or less way-off-the-mark Paul Stanley impersonation. Klaus immediately said 'that's great! You should do something with it.' Then I had the unenviable task of constructing a meaningful set of lyrics around the title, which I actually managed to do to some degree. But the song has a totally different meaning from what people would assume at first. Virgin Killer is none other than the demon of our time, the less compassionate side of the societies we live in today—brutally trampling upon the heart and soul of innocence."

My considerations at that point were more in trying to assimilate this new information. Guitars had never sounded like this to my ears, and the band's Germanic vocalization took some getting used to, something I am infinitely glad I was able to do. As recently as today, a friend has said that Klaus Meine's voice, "sounds like someone is sticking a broken wine glass in my ear." Well, not everyone likes Dylan, either. And Klaus Meine's wonderful voice is a walk in the park when compared to Uli's singing. Again though, you must be able to see through your conditioning to accept the voice of any true artist's soul.

Virgin Killer is Uli Jon Roth's greatest contribution to the history of rock guitar. Every song is a tour de force of incredible six string heroics, and from beginning to end, Uli is covering new territory, and expanding his virtuosic palette.

Pictured Life has Roth playing dizzying, fast cascades of notes interspersed with silky bends, and as is often the case, sees him harmonizing with himself throughout. Doubling lines, creating tension with tones, and always managing to do it within the composition - never sounding forced, or out of place, it is Uli's musicianship and taste that keeps his sheer musical muscle from being overpowering.

The next song on the album, Catch Your Train is a Roth classic. It's not hard to see why a young Van Halen set this as his six string high water mark. Throughout the entire song, from the feedback drenched intro to the horrifyingly fast fills, and solos, Uli Jon Roth again makes the case that in the year of our Lord, 1976, he is probably the finest practioner of rock and roll guitar on the planet.

Uli on Eddie, "I cannot really comment with authority on Eddie Van Halen’s playing since I have only heard brief snippets here and there, but never an album. The band actually came onto the scene at a time when I had lost all interest in listening to hard rock, which is why they passed me by. Maybe I should check them out. From what I have heard, Eddie played with emotion and conviction, I thought."

Jimi Hendrix has always loomed large in the artistry of Uli Roth. Roth obviously absorbed everything Hendrix did, and while you certainly hear the influence, it is especially apparent when you hear the guitarist slow down, and play softer, more emotional material. Yellow Raven the last song on the Virgin Killer album is perhaps the finest example of the German paying homage to his American forefather. And while it's the song's sultry rhythms that evoke the memory of Jimi, Uli's leads and fills are his unique brand of soulful bending, and masterful flights of fretboard fire that mark this as his own. The ending coda is superb in both composition, and execution, and stands as one of the finest fade outs in all of rock's recorded history.

By 1978, The Scorpions had spent many years, and traveled many thousands of miles establishing their brand in the world of rock and roll, but what had emerged was a coin with two very dissimilar sides. One side had the catchy metal riffs of Rudolf Schenker, and the other featured the more cerebral contemplations of Uli Jon Roth. It was a stew that served the hardcore fan such as myself very well, but confused the more casual listener, and left both sides somewhat dissatisfied.

Uli Jon Roth on rock, "The truth is that I have never loved rock music and it was never close to my heart, but I have always been fascinated by some of its aspects and certain possibilities or characteristics which I saw of artistic value for what I wanted to express. This is still the case. When I was in the Scorpions it was a distant dream for me to be able to do one day what I can do now. My playing in those days reflected early projections of that dream to the best of my abilities – but back then I felt extremely limited by so many things. Today I don’t feel limited anymore – I feel free and at peace with what I do – at least most of the time, but there is always room for improvement, and I do enjoy the journey.

"Back in the Scorpions days I also didn’t like the sound we created – I found it too mechanical and lacking mystery. But I felt the same with regard to many, probably even most bands – I think I also rebelled against certain formulas.

"In those days I really felt that our sound was too plain and also too brutal – lacking warmth. The recording process was too casual and we never explored anything in terms of sound. I clearly remember that I was usually highly dissatisfied with the results. I think we could have done it so much better – even at that time, but we were never in a studio I liked or had sufficient time to really get to grips with things.

"I know that there are many who don’t share these feelings of mine regarding those early days, but I think I do hear things differently from a lot of people – not necessarily better, but certainly from a very different angle."

By now, the magic had waned, and The Scorpions had become Uli Jon Roth's job. So, how do you think the maestro decided to handle matters? By recording two of what are still considered by most hard rock guitarists, and serious listeners as a couple of the genres finest records.

First came Taken By Force, this version of the band's final studio album. The disc includes just three tunes written by Roth, Your Light, a typically spiritual number in the tradition of Roth's balladry, the shred guitar classic, The Sails of Charon, and the prophetic, I've Got To Be Free, which features lyrics that state his case for leaving the band very bluntly, with lines such as: "I'm not your Bugs Bunny, and you're not my wife..." However, Roth's playing on the album is superb. He may have considered it a job now, but it was a job he performed as few could.

The album contains two of Roth's finest guitar moments, those being the whole of The Sails of Charon, and his epic soloing on the Monika Danneman penned, We'll Burn The Sky. Both are sublime examples of the finest, fastest, and flashiest rock and roll guitar playing.

Though Roth disagrees, I find his playing on this record to be as good as any he had done to date. His soundscapes on several tunes are as expansive as any, and his lead playing is fiery and inspired. Once again, album cover art became an issue (the original cover featured children playing with weapons in a graveyard). On this, Roth states their case with his usual elegance:

"I think the original idea was children playing with guns at a military cemetery  in France and some people found that offensive. I don't think it's offensive because I think it was actually a quite a good image because it puts war totally into perspective, very often it is young people, eighteen, nineteen , going to war that don't fully understand life. When you're fifty you don't fully understand life, but these guys then have to shoot other people simply because someone tells them to do it for their country. Politicians are sometimes also children with guns, in all periods of time a lot of politicians are far too trigger happy and war too easily becomes an "easy solution", whereas for me it should never be a solution, there should be no war in the first place. Maybe every once in a while a country may need to defend itself, I understand that, but in general if you consider that there are over a hundred wars raging in the present day on this planet alone then it's just sheer lunacy and always the tool of the Dark Side. Usually bad things come from war, very few good things, but sometimes good things come from bad things, that's true, nothing's that black and white. It's always the wrong solution to kill people."

As you can see, Uli Jon Roth is as good with language, and with his thoughts and philosophy as he is with an electric guitar. He is an artist who lives his art as much as he has ever performed it.

Tokyo Tapes. Uli Jon Roth's final recording with The Scorpions. I could write another lengthy article just on this record, perhaps the greatest live document laid down by any rock guitarist, but I won't. I will simply tell you to listen to it. To listen to this album is to realize why the legend of Uli Jon Roth's work with The Scorpions still stands as the template for much of the heavy music that has followed.

tony conley

The quotes used in this article come from Uli Jon Roth's website - questions asked by fans, and answered by Roth. I have attempted to use them in proper context, and with original intent and meaning intact.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

God Bless UFO

"I've a bet with the drummer, 50 quid....he says I'm gonna fall flat on my face."

Phil Mogg is leaning heavy on the mic stand, and smiling, having just led his band of veterans through a spirited rendition of 1981's The Wild, The Willing, and The Innocent, and before counting off the classic rocker Mother Mary, he's had his first jibe at his band-mate for some 42 years, Andy Parker. It won't be near the last of the evening, and he wins the bet.

Tonight, UFO played a blinder of a set, tearing their way through a catalog that the audience knew like the backs of their hands. The band performed as if they were in front of 10,000 instead of 500, and the fans responded in kind. It was a genuine love fest, with both sides reveling in a long shared history.

Dayton is one of but 14 cities in America seeing UFO on this tour, chosen, no doubt by its longstanding love affair with one of Britain's greatest hard rock acts. There is a staunch sense of survival on both sides, with each losing as many as they've won over the years, but neither willing to say so on this cold, rainy evening. No, this is a night of victory, celebrating the fact that all are still not just standing, but rocking.

Mother Mary  kicked off side two of the band's 1975 release, Force It, and for good reason it has never left the set list. Vinnie Moore has been playing this riff laden rocker for more years than any of the group's guitarists, and he delivers it perfectly, replicating some of the original's scorching leads and fills, and adding more than a few of his own. All night long Moore fuels the band's many great songs with a delightful nod to the past, and constant reminders that he is his own man,  a great guitarist.

Next up is Saving Me, from the band's last studio album, 2009's The Visitor. This number exposes UFO's bluesier roots, with Moore playing some tasteful acoustic slide guitar during the intro. Vinnie saunters seamlessly several times throughout the night between electric, and acoustic, segueing between the two smoothly and to great effect. Phil Mogg sings the song with his usual deep sense of sincerity. Mogg may be the consummate member of the boys club between tunes, but when he sings, it is with a passion perhaps unrivaled since the departure of Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott. His understated melodies, and masterful phrasing assures that these are songs straight off his sleeve by way of his heart. Mogg has long been one of rock's finest, and most underrated front-men.

Let It Roll is met with a huge acknowledgement of recognition by the fearlessly faithful, who howl when they hear Moore sound the tune with those eight bars of beautiful feedback which are followed by the tune's steamroller rhythm. Let It Roll is a song that UFO has been playing effortlessly for a great many years, and their effortlessness belies the staggering amount of skill, chops, and energy required to make it through this complicated, and unconventional composition. The song winds along, through the heaviest of metallic verses and choruses, only to be interrupted by two forays into decidedly Germanic gypsy tinged sections. the first is a staggering stream of choppy single notes, that then lead into a fiercely romantic, and melodic solo section, in which Moore is joined by one of rock music's finest keyboard players, Paul Raymond, who matches Moore note for note through a complicated scheme of harmonies. Raymond has long been the perfect fifth member of the group, exchanging his keyboards for some great rhythm guitar chugging when required. By the song's blistering riff of an ending, the band has conquered the audience completely, and it's a full minute of appreciation before the band can get on to the next.

Given the length of UFO's career, it is only fair that they should delve into newer material, though one gets the impression that the fans wouldn't mind a note by note replay of the band's 1978 classic Strangers In The Night, which still stands as one of the greatest live records. Helldriver, and Venus are next on the set list, and both grab the audience, and bring them along through an update of the band's history.

By now, Mogg has upped the ante, telling Andy Parker that now each song he gets through will cost the drummer another ten spot. The drummer replies that Mogg can subtract it from his past debts, and with that, these fellows who have aged so very gracefully (it's easy to forget the times when it looked as if the wings had fallen off the spaceship) slam head first into another rocket shot rocker from 1975's Force It - the staccato, hyperactive blues of This Kid. Again, Vinnie Moore takes the riffage of another guitarist, and captures the essence of the tune before unleashing some virtuosic torrents of his own.

Moore and Raymond then team up for the beautifully melodic intro to I Ain't No Baby, and the crowd goes nuts, as this number is a longtime favorite, but one seldom seen in the band's live sets. This tune is a Phil Mogg tour de force, and the singer milks it for everything it is worth, hitting every note with great precision, and emotion. UFO's songs have always been a nice combination of streetwise cockiness mixed with a born to lose vibe, and once again audience and actor are sharing the same space in time.

Only You Can Rock Me takes me directly back to the first time I saw the band, opening for Aerosmith in 1978 at UD Arena here in Dayton. It is as if 33 years have lapsed in an instant. From the song's instantly recognizable intro, to the melodic single note underpinnings of the verses, and onward into one of the most memorable guitar solos in rock history - once again the band tosses it off with aplomb and ease. Grace has perhaps been the true mark of this group, their ability to go from street kid toughs to sublimely sophisticated musicians in the blink of an eye, without a moment's pretension. Hard rock has perhaps not seen another band with more class.

The audience again goes completely bonkers, and the band basks in the reflected glory of shared love.

Vinnie leaves the stage for a well deserved toweling off, and guitar change, as Mogg again addresses the crowd, "This one is about a love affair that went not so well....It's called Try Me."

Paul Raymond's years of discipline, and practice at the piano were never more on display than when this truly elegant man plays the gorgeous introduction to UFO's finest moment of balladry. Mogg delivers this with a look and sound that suggests he means it now, as much as ever:

"Try Me, oh take me for a little while,
Before it's over, and you leave me with just a smile,
Try Me, oh let me be the one,
You say it's over, but for me it had just begun."

Vinnie Moore then nails one of the most distinctive of solos, a signature set of notes laid down by one of the best guitarists to ever pick up the instrument, and though he brilliantly changed a section and inserted his own take on the art of emoting perfectly through six strings, the audience was none the wiser, and wisely accepted the solo as his own.

If it had ended there and then, there would have been no complaints, but actually this seasoned band of veterans were just getting wound up, and it was time for a ferocious bolt towards the finish line as the band proceeded on to play perhaps their five best known tunes.

UFO were not always a club band, no. There was a time when the band was at the crest of super-stardom, back in 1977, coincidentally, the year I graduated from high school. The band released what heavy metal critic/talk show host Eddie Trunk has called his favorite album, the incendiary Lights Out. The album flew up the Billboard charts in a day when the charts still meant something, when we actually bought the music we chose to listen to. Lights Out knocked on the Top 20's door, arriving at 23, almost unheard of for what, at the time, was considered a heavy metal record. The band was always more melodic than metal, but rock wildly they did, and never more so than with the album's lead single, Too Hot To Handle."

I've not yet mentioned bassist Barry Sparks, but filling the shoes of the truly legendary Pete Way is as difficult a job as there is in all of classic rock. Way co-wrote a great many of the songs being played tonight, but more importantly he had what is so very rare, a tremendous stage presence. Pete Way was a direct influence on Iron Maiden, and Def Leppard, as well as indie rockers Guided By Voices. As much as an absent guitarist can create a gaping hole, so can the band's spirited cheerleader, the life of the party itself.

Sparks is a veteran with an amazing resume, including time spent with Yngwie Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth, Ted Nugent, Dokken, The Scorpions, and of course, the Michael Schenker Group. Not just a great player (and he is a monster of a musician), Sparks is a tremendous performer, singing every word of every song, engaging the audience constantly, and conveying the sense that there is no place better in the world than onstage with a great rock and roll band. I can think of no one better to fill Pete's shoes, and as a player, no one can argue that he's a great musician.

Someone close to the band of old suggested to me before the show that I was about to see, "....a crown without the jewels." Actually, nothing could be further from the truth of the matter. Don't get me wrong, I miss seeing Michael Schenker and Pete Way playing in UFO. Anyone who ever saw them would. But, it is by their choice that they are no longer members of UFO. UFO is still a very great rock and roll band, not a tribute, not a substitute in any sense.

Doctor, Doctor is the oldest and perhaps most beloved song of the evening, dating back to May of 1974, and the Phenomena album, the first with which UFO dented the American consciousness. Another timeless classic that the audience sings as loudly as the band, and the smiles upon the faces of everyone in the room says it all.

You can tell a UFO fan by walking up to any fifty year old rocker, and simply saying, "Misty green, and blue." If they are a fan, and they inevitably are, they will respond with, "Love to love to love you," the chorus of an epic tale of rock and roll and the road, Love To Love. Yet another complex arrangement that would leave even the most competent musicians scratching their heads, the song sees Moore switching from electric to acoustic throughout, and playing some of the best guitar of the night. The entire band is highlighted on this wonderful old gem that leaves some in the audience a bit misty themselves. Maybe that is the greatest thing about this great night - the fact that everyone appreciates. The audience loves, and appreciates the band - deeply. The band loves, and appreciates another night of glory and shared feelings. This is the truth of rock and roll. This is UFO.

Mogg has been playful with the audience and the band all evening, and especially with the aforementioned Andy Parker, who incidentally is playing as well as I've ever heard him play, bringing a carpenter's slam to every snare shot, and directing the newer kids with his expert timing, and fills. Now, Phil gives the audience a hand in song selection, asking if they'd rather hear Rock Bottom, or Lights Out.

Rock Bottom is a riff like no other. It suggests nothing that came before it, and it has not been copied, or cloned. It is as unique a riff as exists. Vinnie Moore, and the band take the audience on a twelve minute journey that is amazing to watch. It contains all the elements essential to the band, and expand on what has preceded it. Paul Raymond is once again masterfully switching instruments, and his duets with Moore are as breathtaking as they were with Schenker back in 1978. Harmony and unison lines are passed back and forth with daring, and precision. If there is a better rocker with which to end a show, I've yet to hear it.

And with the completion of Rock Bottom, it is, "Thank you, and good night."


That's twice tonight that I've heard this chant, and twice that its sheer energy and exuberance have blown me away.

Once again, Mogg plays the gracious host, and offers his audience a choice. "Lights Out, or Shoot, Shoot?"

Lights Out it is, and I have to believe the crowd made the right call. The blistering pace of this number makes it the perfect encore. 'Hold on tight, until the end,' indeed, and we do, as Moore and Sparks take this one beyond the limit, and into territory both new, and exciting. These two outstanding players bring to this band a combination of extraordinary musicianship, and beautiful enthusiasm. Though many years younger than the band's founding members, better band-mates could not be found. I honestly cannot remember when I've seen a band have more fun onstage than this bunch did tonight.

To those members who I first saw back in '78, I offer this:

Phil, Andy, and Paul - I thank you fellows from my heart for a great, great many years of service, and enjoyment. For everyone in the audience tonight, I think I can say that this was a great one, a show we will always remember, a night that made us recall why we love rock and roll, why we love UFO so dearly.