26 October 2016
Reviewed by Jan Mellor
I was looking forward to watching the band UFO as I had seen them a couple of times in the 1980’s and although had none of their music I loved their major hits of “Rock Bottom”, “Lights out in London” and of course “Doctor, Doctor”. The arena of Parr Hall was packed with the majority of people choosing to stand more than taking the seats upstairs in the balcony – people wanted to dance to the hits and let off some steam. The band arrived on time to roars on stage, some of the band were original members but the guitarists were recent members and probably weren’t even born in the 80’s! This did not deter the avid UFO fans and by the amount of the audience that adorned UFO t-shirts – there were many of them – this was a nostalgic experience. The support band from Russia –‘Reds’Cool’ had warmed them up nicely and now the crowd waited in anticipation for the main event!
The set opened with “Hold on Tight” which had people applauding loudly, then moved onto “Stay away forever” and “Everyone’s got a story to tell”. These openers showed that the recognisable UFO sound was still here and that over time they had maintained their sense of humour (they joked that their songs had gone ‘cardboard’ in several countries) and stamina. Following this self-deprivation, the room went wild as UFO moved into the infamous starting riff of “Lights out in London”. The crowd were happy now – the tracks of the 80’s were alive and kicking and as several people demonstrated by screaming the titles – this is what the crowd wanted to hear. Then more of the same with “Only you can rock me” –moving to a sombre “I’m going to burn your house down” to calm the room a little. The band still had the bassy sound and although the vocals of the lead singer were not as good/strong as they were back in the band’s heydays – they were still recognisable and acceptably held a note. All were pleased that the band finished their set with the desired favourites of “Rock Bottom” and “Doctor, Doctor” and these were well received.
For me – if you enjoyed the rock songs of the 80’s and knew the hits of this band it would be an enjoyable night for all. Take it in the spirit it is meant – a return back to an era of huge amps, studded belts and men having longer hair than women and you’ll enjoy this gig. The vocals are not there as they were in those gigs/records decades ago but the passion, enthusiasm and desire to give a good gig certainly still is.
For more information and tour dates visit www.ufo-music.info.
For other shows at the Parr Hall in Warrington visit www.pyramidparrhall.com.
Pyramid & Parr Hall, Cultural Quarter, Palmyra Square South, Warrington, WA1 1BL | 01925 442884