UFO @ The Ritz
For those of us who were there, the UFO gig at the Manchester Apollo in November 2000 was a horrible, torrid affair, one gig that is best forgotten. But memories of that night surface every time the band comes to Manchester. Permanently removing metal Mickey Schenker from the band resulted in a succession of solid albums and a fairly stable lineup. And tonight UFO were back at The Ritz promoting their new album A Conspiracy Of Stars.
Openers, Russian rockers Reds’Cool hailing from St Petersburg, played what they described as uncompromising heavy rock. With songs that sounded far too similar to Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy, they have some way to go to formulating their own sound. It also didn't help that at times their singer sounded like the modern day David Coverdale. But they were professional, polished and were appreciated by many in the crowd but they didn't exactly set The Ritz on fire.
UFO came on stage to the sound of SAHB’s Faith Healer and launched into We Belong To The Night from the Mechanix album, the start of a varied set that covered nine albums from the past 42 years. Run Boy Run and The Killing Kind from the new album were featured early on and had a more solid feel to them confirming what I've always said that they are a better band live than on record. Makin’ Moves made a pleasant change and it was great to hear Cherry again. Singer Phil Mogg’s voice is still in great form, lubricated as always by lager. However, his stage movements are now much, much slower than in the past with him looking like he needed a Zimmer frame at times.
Other than Venus, which unfortunately was a bit ropey, the rest of the set was classic UFO - Love To Love, Only You Can Rock Me and Rock Bottom going down particularly well with an audience that ranged from teenagers to pensioners showing the wide appeal this band has as well as their importance in rock history! Finally the band finished the evening with a double-barrelled encore of Doctor Doctor and Shoot Shoot which had the audience going nuts.
Words: Anthony Firmin Photos: Anthony Firmin & Cai Dixon