March 10, 2017
Gas Monkey Live!
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Dave Gray
Photos by Dave Gray
UFO - UFO, Saxon
UFO Lands At Gas Monkey Live!
35 plus years ago there was this thing called the NWOBHM. Things have changed over the years and now maybe it's the OWOBHM, but fortunately for the citizens of Dallas, two of the bands of that wave shared the same stage at Dallas' premier live music venue tonight. Great Britain's Saxon and UFO were both on the bill at the Gas Monkey Live! performing in front of a near sold out standing room only crowd on only their second night of the 2017 USA Spring tour.
Saxon opened the night with "Battering Ram" which started the 70 minute set with a heavy dose of musical caffeine. "This Town Rocks," "Dallas 1 PM," and "20,000" Feet" were originally recorded over 30 years ago, but the experience tonight seemed better than ever as the current sound technology of new electronic gizmo's and the visual explosion of lights breathed new life into these heavy metal classics. Lead vocalist Biff Byford still has the stage presence and vox to capture an audience as he did 35 years ago when I saw him in Dallas opening for Rainbow. He was even friendly enough to toy with the fans "What do you want to hear next? an old one or a new one? an old fast one or a old slow one?," before blazing into "Heavy Metal Thunder." Full of high energy and power chords, just like the old days, except with a fresh new, crystal clear sound, this band still has the chops to satisfy the old school.
Then the second wave hit the stage, England's UFO. Phil Mogg, Paul Raymond, and Andy Parker were in house to enlighten the fans to cuts from their recent CDs plus many hits, of course, from the Michael Schenker/Way days. Opening the set with "Long Gone," the band played a song or two from their most recent albums mixed in with great classic hits that they were known for back in the 1970s and 80s. Front man Phil Mogg still has the throat and energy to deliver the goods vocally, diced with a bit of subtle comedy between songs. Highlights of the night included "Baby Blue," "Burn Your House Down," and Eddie Trunk's favorite song of all time "Love to Love." It was great to see and hear Vinnie Moore's guitar solo wizardry and Paul Raymond's left handed Les Paul rhythms, while bassist Rob De Luca and the burg's own Andy Parker provided the thump.
Speaking of the thump, to me, the real crescendo of this evening was "Cherry." I bought the 45' in 1978, I saw UFO open for Ozzy in 1982, and they didn't play it then. But to hear the opening bass line... and to hear them do it tonight, in perfection, was incredible. The song, unfortunately, was not a hit single at the time, and maybe some audience members tonight didn't know it as well as "Lights Out" or "Rock Bottom," but this is my favorite UFO song, and it was great to finally get to hear it live. (Sorry, Eddie). Cheers.