Schenker Fest 02 Sheffield 3/11 Review

02 Sheffield is the destination and tonights entertainment with a twist is no other than guitar legend Michael Schenker, accompanied by not one but three of his former singers which includes Graham Bonnet, Robin Mcauley and Gary Barden.
Tonights job of warm up came from the very capable Departed featuring the former treatment guitarist ‘Ben Brookland’ and former Empire of Fools vocalist ‘Mark Pascall’ so as you would expect it was not long before the growing crowd of Sheffield were getting into full rock mode helped out by Mark’s warm vocals and Ben’s awesome riffs and licks of which tonights headliner Mr Schenker himself would have been proud, by the time we had reached the penultimate track ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ Mark had the crowd warmed up and almost eating out his hand as he lead the chants. As with all warm up acts just as the show gets going its time up, and we are pretty sure we will be seeing much more of this little band keep your eyes and ears peeled for The Departed.


It was time for what this crowd had come to see, the one and only Michael Schenker and he was first out to the rather rockin instrumental tones of ‘Searching for a Reason’ quickly followed by ‘Into the Arena’ while Schenker mesmerised one and all with his sublime guitar wizadry and custom swagger, The first vocalist to take the stage was indeed Schenker’s first vocalist ‘Gary Barden’ and from one rock classic to another Cry For The Nations, Attack of the Mad Axeman, Armed and Ready he wooed the crowd and as their fists pumped the delight on ‘Barden’s’ face was there for all to see, it just like he had stepped into a time tunnel and taken us all back to the early eighties.
Next to take the stage was ‘Graham Bonnet’ now for all that do not know his tenure was extremely brief performing on the 1982 classic ‘Assault Attack’which featured one of the finest Schenker songs in ‘Desert Song’ After performing Desert Song Bonnet reminds us what happened the last time he hit the stage in Sheffield with Schenker (rather tipsy at the time he decided to flop his twanger out for all to pluck on at which point that was the end for Bonnet) at least this time around he kept everything tucked away and let his impressive vocals do the talking, donned in black pants shirt and raybans with a bright pink jacket with the looks of showaddywaddy but the voice of a demon Bonnet surely can sing and what a great rockin voice.
Next up was ‘Robin Mcauley’ whos albums were at the more melodic era of Schenkers catalogue as he arrived to the rocker ‘No Time For Losers’ well you could quite clearly see he was hear to rock and rock he did its been thirty years he cries not looking a day over thirty himself he quickly followed up with ‘Save Yourself”Bad Boys’and the super anthemic mtv hit ‘Love Is Not A Game’ which found the crowd in fine vocal form themselves to the delight of Schenker and Mcauley.
As the night was drawing to a close there was time for one more treat as the encore featured all three singers as they took to the stage for ‘Doctor Doctor’ which received rapturous applause and cheers to close we had in this instance the apptly named ‘Lights Out’which brought the curtain down on one fantastic evening.