The Nak Report…

My bucket list has a big new checkmark on it.

Got to see Michael Schenker the other night, in a nice upscale club that’s part of the Patriot complex in Foxboro. Nice enough venue, but a bit small for MSG at considerable volume.

Although somewhat the  worse for wear and not quite as thin as Johhny Winter, Michael’s playing has only improved with time. And he was pretty freaking scary to begin with. There have been several versions of MSG over the years, with many personnel changes;  I was hoping for Simon Philips on drums and Graham Bonnet lead singing. This tour includes Gary Barden singing and Carmine Appice on drums. Not so bad, save for Appice’s overly long and tedious drum solo, which I presumed was written into his contract. Dinosaurs R’Us.

This is a 30th anniversary tour. I had to get out my abacus and make sure that the sundial was positioned just so; but damned if the math doesn’t add up. And I still have never gotten through ‘ Into the Arena’ even once without dropping the ball. But I still have time…right??

In anticipation of this event, I ran some  MSG stuff through the old Nakamichi the other day, and found some appalling inconsistencies; mainly, an absolute lack of low end in the final mix. The conventional wisdom of the time said that if you gutted the lows from heavy rock, then you might get some radio airplay. Michael was produced then by Roger Glover of Deep Purple fame, and he really took that to heart. Too bad. ‘ Somebody’ ought to remix all that stuff and put the juice back in.

While standing in the crowd, it occurred to me again, as it has in the past, why this music needs to be loud. It needs to hit you in the chest and knock you back four feet. That is a huge factor in its effectiveness, and if you take that away, then you ultimately forget what the point ever was.

It took the sound techs about four songs in to get everything balanced. Loud is very uncomfortable if it’s not done properly, and people hate that. Nobody likes noise. This was loud and clean.

But when you’ve got Michael hunched over his V ( Dean, not Gibson), two JCM800’s with four cabs, nominal special effects, and that Yoda- like zone he gets into…well, it almost makes it worth all the other crap. Alchohol, messy divorces, living on tour buses…

Also occurred to me as to why there have been so many changes in MSG. You wouldn’t notice unless you saw them live.

There’s Michael being Michael, and everyone else is a sideman. That’s an odd dynamic for a rock band. Singers especially would hate that. So there’s been a busload of personnel changes, because they can’t handle the truth. There’s only Michael/ not Michael.

I’m not Michael. But I only have to get through ‘ Into the Arena’ once. Just once. It’s on my list. And then, it’s on to Mt. Everest. That is also on my list. Guess which one will happen first?…

Yeah, I know.

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Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 2:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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