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By some weird freak circumstance, I learnt that in 2020 Chrysalis released a deluxe version of the EPIC live album from UFO, “Strangers in the Night”.

This album is special to me. I first heard it when I was in high school. At the time, I was deeply into progressive rock, with my record collection leaning towards Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd, and Genesis. But during a listening session at one of my friends, Ken Rice, he pulled out Strangers in the Night, and put on the last side, and I was mesmerized.

The guitar work was in your face, solid, and just full of life. Too Hot to Handle, Shoot Shoot, and other live anthems just blew me away.

The next day, I bicycled to Tower Records and plopped down the money to take a copy of that record home.

Wow. The whole album was just perfection. From the first needle drop to the end of the last track, there is not a single song that is skippable.

At the time, I didn’t know much about UFO, but I knew I wanted more. Lots more.

That lead to Michael Schenker becoming one of my idols, and influences as I learned to play.

Much later…

I learned that the recording was made in Chicago in Fall 1978. It was the last tour that had Michael Schenker, and that the experts were in agreement that the recording techs juiced the recordings to make it “pop”.

Alas, Michael left the band, sat in with his original band, “The Scorpions” for their “Lovedrive” album as they were looking for a replacement for their guitarist, Uli Roth, before forming MSG.

The rest is history. I have most everything recorded by Michael Schenker, and listen to his music all the time.

In fact, not long ago, I found a recording of UFO at the Texas State Fair, and without Schenker it was a blah performance.

As Mentioned

The last series of shows were in October 1978, and apparently the sound techs ran the tape on 7 shows. In 2020, the tapes were mastered into CD’s for a release, and sold as a “Deluxe” edition, 8 CDs, including a very high quality version of the original Strangers in the Night album, and 6 additional shows.

All of them have slightly different play lists, and the shows have many slightly different takes. Clearly, UFO wasn’t like Rush or Eric Johnson where the live performances are crisp and perfect. Each of the solos had some differences, different energies, and just absolutely amazing riffs.

I have listened to each disc at least twice, and I am just blown away. The recordings are clear and clean, the playing is amazing, and it is everything I wanted it to be.

For $35, it is a steal.

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