UFO’s Last Orders Rocked Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater!
Congratulations as we wish the legendary Phil Mogg the best retirement!
Somehow it just doesn’t seem possible that this is our last time enjoying Phil Mogg rock us live with UFO before he really retires. So many of us have spent the last 50 years with him, both live and by so many recordings, we want to wish him the best retirement! For hardcore UFO fans, Phil’s voice is as natural to us as the air we breathe, and for me, it began with what many consider to be the best live album ever, Strangers In The Night.
I was a bit too young to attend any of the venues when that was recorded in 1978, although I never get tired of listening to fans share their memories of being there, especially Chicago, which always sounds like Rock ’n’ Roll Heaven to me.
Of course, Tuesday night’s Milwaukee audience consisted of fans of many ages, many of which are road tripping the Midwest to see as many stops on this tour as possible. I was fortunate to talk to a few Chicago UFO fans who said this show was “Spectacular!,” largely due to Phil’s incredible voice and performance energy as we all remain dazed forgetting he is 71 years young. There are no other shows to compare this one to simply because no one recalls a bad UFO show. We talk about the history of UFO guitarists, including Paul Chapman, Michael Schenker, the late Paul Raymond, and the current lineup of Vinnie Moore and Neil Carter, all of which have brought their own style to the songs embedded in our memories. Everyone could tell how much fun Vinnie and Neil had performing together and we sure dug them at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater as there is no mistaking their soulful styles and fun guitar faces!
What did we hear?
Phil had immediate command of the stage when UFO opened with “Mother Mary,” and the crowd immediately stood while rocking with UFO! “We belong to the Night” and “Run Boy Run” followed, and as a photographer, I had a wide grin while dodging dancing fans to take photos. UFO served us energy and we served it back, as I watched Phil smile with approval as he viewed a swarm of cell phones shooting video. I wondered if he ever thought he would have a lifetime of fans who would show up to say goodbye? “Venus” was next then we were back on our feet with “Lights Out,” which was the first time of the night UFO gave me Goosebumps. A few more songs (see setlist below), including “Only You Can Rock Me,” before Rob de Luca (bass) brought tears to my eyes with his intro to “Cherry,” and where, by the way, does he get those awesome pants?!
Andy Parker (drums and co-founder of UFO with Phil Mogg and Pete Way) is, by no means, slowing down on drums, even with “Shoot Shoot,” the last of two songs performed for the encore!
Is this really the end of UFO?
It’s a topic close to being considered too blasphemous to discuss with fans. All we are focused on now is where their next tour stop is, and if you are going to be there to love up and rock out with the band we have been listening to for most of our lives!
Damon Johnson opened for UFO
Everyone I spoke to agreed Damon’s set needs to be longer as he has quite the career of material as he has performed with Brother Cane, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders, and solo, all in addition to his meaningful songwriting over several genres of music. The two most significant parts of his performance that resonated with me, was his sharing his passion for opening for UFO over this leg of their “Last Orders” 50th Anniversary Tour: “If 17 year old me knew I would be here, opening for UFO…” and his playing his medley of Thin Lizzy songs, which includes “Boys Are Back In Town.” You will be sorry if you don’t show up on time to catch his opening for UFO! Plus he’s incredibly kind and greets fans after his performance.