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Music Video Distributors presents
The Michael Schenker Group: World Wide Live 2004 (2004)

"I just wanted to be free and to express, and that's what MSG is all about."
- Michael Schenker

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: September 29, 2004

Stars: Michael Schenker, Chris Logan, Wayne Findlay, James Jones, Pete Holmes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:16m:43s
Release Date: October 05, 2004
UPC: 022891441298
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-B+B+ C+

DVD Review

In a career spanning over 35 years and with over 40 album credits to his name, German-born Michael Schenker has achieved legendary status and is considered by many to be one of the finest guitarists in the field of hard rock/heavy metal. His early interest in music saw him begin playing guitar at the age of nine. His professional recording career was launched in 1972 after he and fellow Copernicus bandmate, vocalist Klaus Meine, joined Michael's older brother Rudolph's band, the Scorpions, the release of Lonesome Crow drew attention to the then fifteen-year-old's considerable talents.

Discovered by UFO on their German tour, Michael would join for an eight year stint, putting his trademark sound on the band's now classic albums Phenomenon (1974), Force It (1975), No Heavy Petting (1976), Lights Out (1977) and Obsession (1978) culminating his career with the band in 1979's Strangers In The Night, still considered one of the finest live performance albums ever recorded. After leaving UFO he returned to the Scorpions in 1978 to record their brilliant Lovedrive album before launching his solo project, the Michael Schenker Group, in 1979. After four MSG albums he joined forces with Robn McAuley to form the McCauley Schenker Group, then returned to UFO in 1992 for Walk on Water. He would reform MSG in the mid 1990s, while also releasing several instrumental albums under his own name (only available through his website). Despite his popularity and invitations to join other successful musicians in various lineups, Michael chose to focus on following his own artistic visions.

This concert, filmed and recorded at their March 2004 appearance at Poland's Metalmania Festival in Spodek, Katowice features Chris Logan on vocals, Wayne Findlay on guitars and keyboards, James "Rev" Jones on bass, and Pete Holmes on drums. The setlist covers many of Schenker's UFO classics, including Mother Mary, Let it Roll, Lights out, Only You Can Rock Me, Too Hot to Handle, Doctor Doctor and the closer, Rock Bottom with Schenker's signature solo. MSG material includes Armed and Ready, Into the Arena (which also highlights the bass and drum solos), On and On, Are You Ready to Rock?, Assault Attack, Rock 'n' Roll Believer and Arachnaphobiac.

The band is tight, and while Logan won't be mistaken for UFO's Phil Mogg or MSG's original vocalist, Gary Barden, his voice suits the material well. Schenker's stage presence is reserved, donning his trademark Flying V, the guitarist content to deliver his tasteful and melodic lead breaks inauspiciously, leaving the theatrics to his flamboyant bassist, who makes no appologies while hurling his bass into the air or employing over-the-fretboard gymnastics. The video production is professional, although sometimes frustrating when the camera switches off the player providing focal point in the song at a few key moments.

Set list:

(Are You) Ready to Rock?
Mother Mary
Assault Attack
Let It Roll
Lights Out
Rock 'n' Roll Believer
Into the Arena
Only You Can Rock Me
On and On
Too Hot to Handle
Armed and Ready
Doctor Doctor
Rock Bottom

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The Michael Schenker Group: World Wide Live 2004 is presented in a very nice anamorphic 16x9 transfer. Colors are bright and well saturated, black levels are for the most part solid. The image is clear a fairly crisp with good contrast, and only minimal signs of aliasing. There is a bit of macroblocking during sequences that are heavy on blue lighting, which is not uncommon for concert footage. Fans should be quite happy with the video quality.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Both 5.1 and stereo options are available. The Dolby Digital track is clean and well defined, with only moderate use of the surround channels. The bottom end is on the light side, with little punch in the drums and bass. I would have prefered a little more overall fullness to the sound. The 2.0 track is basically mono. The mix is fine, with the same definition to the instruments, albeit slightly different in apparent levels.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 14 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Unknown
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Michael Schenker
  2. Discography
  3. Still gallery
Extras Review: Included are a nice suite of bonus features, the first being a 20m:57s interview with the man himself from 2004. Michael covers much of his career, and shares his thoughts on the business side of the industry. A very welcome addition to the disc.

A photo gallery from the live show is presented as a five-minute slideshow.

A fairly detailed biography is also present, along with Michael's extensive discography, plus a screen with relevant internet links listed.

DVD-ROM extras include four desktop images, which can also be viewed on regular players.

Apparently the first 3000 copies will also include a limited edition CD, but I can comment on its contents as this was not included with our review copy.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Despite his immense popularity and invitations to join other highly successful musicians in various lineups, Michael Schenker continues to focus on following his own artistic visions. This concert DVD contains material covering the highlights of his long career with UFO and his own Michael Schenker Group, and should be very welcomed by fans of this exceptional musician. Highly recommended.


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