It was January 28th, 1982, the day after my 21st birthday. As part of the celebrations, I had tickets to see UFO at the second of three sell-out concerts at what was then the great temple of British rock, the Hammersmith Odeon in London.
The BBC recorded the show for their regular Saturday night ‘In Concert’ broadcast a couple of weeks later. This has shown up as a bootleg in the past, now it sees an ‘official’ release. While many people associate UFO with Michael Schenker, the often overlooked period with Paul ‘Tonka’ Chapman saw their greatest commercial success. This recording shows just why; it shows the Phil Mogg/Paul Chapman/Pete Way/Andy Parker/Neil Carter line-up at it’s peak.
In complete contrast to the classic “Strangers in the Night” live album released just three years earlier, they draw the bulk of the songs here from their most recent albums ‘No Place to Run’, ‘The Wild, Willing and the Innocent’ and ‘Mechanix’. Just a few Schenker-era favourites remain, four on this album, since the final encore ‘Doctor Doctor’ is missing.
High spots are the “No Place to Run”, the harder and heavier version a great improvement on the weak studio version (I always felt the lightweight production on ‘No Place to Run’ was the major blot on George Martin’s copybook; perhaps hard rock just wasn’t his forté), a fast and furious “Long Gone”, and the storming cover of Elvis’ “Mystery Train”. Paul ‘Tonka’ Chapman’s playing is superb throughout, unconvinced Schenker fans should listen to his solos on “Only You Can Rock Me” and “Love to Love”.
This is of course an ‘official bootleg’, no overdubs or edits, and suffers from the odd pops, clicks and fades. But the live intensity of the performance shows though; this is just what live albums are supposed to be about. The only thing missing apart from the final encore is the bit where Phil Mogg announced that the gig was being recorded for the radio, and got the audience to shout “Hello Mum”. Turn up the volume as far as the neighbours will tolerate, and enjoy!
And I do still have the T-shirt, 20 years later.