Veteran rockers UFO call ‘Last Orders’ on Tyneside as part a farewell tour for lead vocalist Phil Mogg.
With a career dating back to 1969, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the British hard rock legends. However, of equal significance is the fact that frontman Phil Mogg recently announced his intention to retire from the group following the conclusion of the band’s forthcoming touring activities.
Therefore tonight’s show in the North East of England is somewhat of a final swan song for the band’s legendary lead vocalist. Subsequently, a packed out crowd is in attendance at the O2 Academy Newcastle to participate in this celebration of 50 years of UFO. This being the band’s first appearance in the region since 2015.
A large brass bell positioned on a stack of amps at the rear of the stage rings in an almost ceremonial manner as it ushers in the start of the show. The five-piece takes to the stage to a warm Geordie welcome as they kick off the proceedings with “Mother Mary”, “We Belong To The Night” and “Run Boy Run”, which in turn forms somewhat of an impressive opening to the show.
This evening’s setlist perfectly represents the group’s vast discography and is packed to the rafters with crowd-pleasing classics. Phil Mogg intends to go out with a bang, and the band are most certainly on fire this evening and raring for the occasion.
In Vinnie Moore UFO have got a bonafide guitar shredder who lights up the stage all night long with his blistering fretwork and emotive playing. Multi-talented guitarist/keyboard player Paul Raymond is the perfect foil for Moore – the pair play off each other and harmonise with one other frequently during the course of the show. Likewise, the band’s formidable rhythm section of long-serving drummer Andy Parker and bass player Rob De Luca underpin UFO’s thunderous groove all night long.
UFO delivers a set which undeniably has been the soundtrack to the lives of many in attendance this evening. You can hear just how much these songs mean to the fans present, with frequent whoops, roars, claps and cheers accompanying each song in the band’s career-spanning set.
The five-piece transports the Geordie faithful to classic rock heaven with fan favourites such as the anthemic “Only You Can Rock Me”, the incredibly infectious “Cherry”, and the epic “Love To Love”. During the latter of which the stage is aptly illuminated in misty green and blue.
Of course, frontman Phil Mogg is more than familiar with the North East of England and recollects performing at The Mercano in Sunderland back in the day, one of two haunts the band played in the region at the beginning of their careers. Throughout this time Mogg has also picked up some of the local Geordie dialect from his friends in The Quireboys.
This evening UFO put forward their strongest set possible. During the latter stages of the show a pair of back to back hits in the shape of “Too Hot To Handle” which features some showboating from Moore who performs his guitar solo behind his head and an extended and somewhat harmonious rendition of “Rock Bottom” brings the main set to a close.
A two-song encore featuring the unmistakable “Doctor Doctor” and a show-stopping performance of “Shoot Shoot” brings the night to an explosive conclusion.
It’s fair to say that this evening’s UFO show was most certainly otherworldly. Tonight may well mark ‘Lights Out’ for Phil Mogg’s tenure with the group, but it goes without saying that the impact and the musical legacy that he has left behind will undoubtedly live on forever.
Event Date: 29-Mar-2019