Uli Jon Roth - Academy 3: Live Review
Having chosen the intimate surroundings of the Academy 3 for the Manchester date of his 50th Anniversary tour, I jumped at the chance to watch the ex-Scorpions axe man up close, especially since the last time I caught Uli Jon Roth was markedly less intimate, namely during a set at the Wacken Festival playing to an audience of thousands.
Of the support, Kaleb McKane, Uli has stated "I thought he was very interesting - his music and performance is very high quality and he’s a great addition to the tour”. High words of praise indeed for the young guitar wiz whom is providing the support for tonight. Kaleb and his band played an awe inspiring set, melding great song writing with stunning technical prowess. Songs such as Talk To God certainly highlighted his Marc Bolan-esque swagger and stunning guitar playing. Needless to say I can’t wait for his upcoming album, definitely an artist worth watching out for.
After being suitably fired up by Mckane the audience were ready and rife with anticipation when Uli's band took to the stage followed closely behind by the main man himself who informed the crowd that tonight would be a mixed evening featuring Scorpions classic's, material from his solo albums and even acoustic numbers.
As the band launch into Electric Sun its evident that we are being treated to performances by not one but three incredibly gifted guitar players, Uli has certainly assembled a class A band to support him on this run including guitarists Niklas Turman and David Klosinski. After this we are treated to a choice selection of pieces from Uli's solo album all of which are executed flawlessly.
About 45 minutes into the set Uli Again takes the microphone and tells the crowd he is going to perform a couple of songs written by his late brother, neo classical guitar great Zeno Roth, similar in style to Uli's work these songs go down great and it was a nice moment, one which I feel was probably the highlight of the night for Uli himself.
It was however the second set of the night which for me was my personal highlight of the evening, as Uli treated us to a myriad of early Scorpions classics. Stand out tracks were In Trance, Sails Of Charion and Yellow Raven. It was also during this set that we saw the most of the night’s guest singer, Liz Vandell of Sahara Fame, a stunning singer who both paid homage to Klaus Meine’s vocals while also making the songs her own.
As the final notes played and the crowd realised we had been treated to a two and a half hour set, I found that I wasn’t in the slightest fatigued, which is high praise indeed for such a guitar heavy set, Uli and band were obviously enjoying themselves and while most people often associate the guitarist with his work in Scorpions I was left with a new found appreciation for his solo work.