UFO Burn Down The House In Ohio
Over 40 years on, UFO remain one of hard rock’s most treasured, and yet most under appreciated bands ever. Though the band has seen its share of personnel changes over the years, founding drummer Andy Parker and original singer Phil Mogg are clearly in it for the long haul. Thursday night at the Tangier in Akron, Ohio, neither one showed any real signs of wear and tear.
Kicking off the show with a double punch of vintage classics, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Mother Mary,’ the band were in top form, delivering an energy and fire that defined their style, yet defied their years. New songs like ‘ Fight Night’ and ‘Burn Your House Down’ from their most recent release, ‘Seven Deadly’ fit in comfortably with the older material. Newest member, bassist Rob De Luca looked the part of a young Pete Way, right down to the Firebird bass, and added a lot of energy to the mix.
Highlights were plenty, from buried treasures like ‘Cherry’ (from ‘Obsession’) to ‘hits’ like ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and ‘Too Hot To Handle.’ Longtime member, guitarist and keyboardist, Paul Raymond continues to provide a key element to their sound, while Mogg’s vocals were in top form throughout the show. He has lost little of his soulful power over the decades. ‘Venus,’ from the band’s underrated 1995 album ‘Walk On Water’ was also put in the spotlight.
The epic ‘Love To Love’ got one of the biggest responses of the night, with fans on their feet and voices shouting in approval at song’s end. It’s no wonder why either. The song, always a tour de force, was given a powerful reading this night. Another one that brought the house down was one of their signature songs, ‘Rock Bottom.’ One of the best loved songs from the Michael Schenker era, ‘Rock Bottom’ has a riff to kill for, and on this performance, gave plenty of room for guitarist Vinnie Moore to stretch out. Now here is the only genuine complaint, and it has to do with Moore’s playing. While there is no question the man can play, he tends to get off into, shall we say, “noodle land” too often. It’s as if he is trying fill a quota to fit as many notes into as short a space as possible. The problem there is, it drains the soul out of the song and makes it a mere masturbatory fantasy for Moore’s lightning fast flash. UFO were always more soulful than your average metal or hard rock band, and at times, his playing stepped on that aspect.
The band returned to encore with one a pair of their best, ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Shoot Shoot,’ before somehow finding their way into a seemingly offhand cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ perhaps as a nod to the birthday boy (Berry turned 87 the next day). UFO are a warhorse band. They have been around for decades now, and yet refuse to fall into becoming an oldies act. They still write, record and release new music on a semi regular basis, and obviously, still have the passion for performing.
UFO Set List: Akron, Ohio – Oct. 17, 2013
‘Let It Roll’
‘Burn Your House Down’
‘Only You Can Rock Me’
‘Love to Love’
‘Too Hot to Handle’
‘Johnny B. Goode’