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JAXX; Springfield, Virginia; 06/05/99

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I finally found a good reason to travel 90 miles to see a show at JAXX - Vinnie Moore and Michael Schenker. It was with great anticipation that I couldn't wait to see this show - the fact that it was my birthday made it even better.

Jay Nedry, the owner of JAXX, was kind enough to let me and my buddy, the infamous K.O., sit inside the air conditioned bar away from the heat. Let me say this right off the bat: Jay Nedry's leadership and hard work are turning JAXX into the premier mid-Atlantic club to see great live acts. Every style from Cheap Trick to Emperor play JAXX; there's no doubt that the manner in which Jan Nedry treats the bands will keep his hall filled with great talent for many years to come.

It was with great anticipation that I was finally going to see Vinnie Moore play in a live setting. I was also excited about seeing the legendary Michael Schenker for the first time in nearly ten years. This show was the last night of the tour (32 shows in 36 nights!).

VINNIE MOORE opened the show with the dramatic "With The Flow." Moore immediately captivated the audience with his stunning technique, great sense of melody, infectious attitude, and energetic performance. It's easy to tell when an artist is enjoying the performance and this was no exception. Moore played a selection of songs from his catalog including "Daydream" from the first album "Mind's Eye," "Check It Out!" from the third album "Meltdown," and a host of songs from his new album "The Maze." Moore closed the set with his very blues-based "VinMan's Brew." I was a little disappointed that Vinnie chose not to play any material from his second album "Time Odyssey," but this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of his set. Barry Sparks' ornate, but not too complex, bass playing was a great complement to Vinnie's virtuosity. Shane Gaalaas provided solid and interesting drumming. Utility man, Wayne Finley, handled rhythm guitar and keyboard duties - at times playing both instruments!

Vinnie Moore was subjected to many practical jokes throughout the set as the stage crew managed to keep Vinnie on his toes throughout the evening. Vinnie Moore took everything in great stride and managed to give a little back.

In addition, Vinnie Moore is the nicest and most sincere musician I've met in a long time. I was able to speak with Vinnie for a few minutes after the show; one can tell he appreciates the positive reaction of his fans and remains humble to this day.

MICHAEL SCHENKER, the German legend, hit the stage with the classic "Armed And Ready." Schenker ripped through a host of UFO, Scorpions, and Michael Schenker Group material including "Only You Can Rock Me," "Piece Of Meat," "Into The Arena," and "Attack Of The Mad Axeman."

Schenker played each solo with technical skill and great attention to melodic detail.

Schenker was obviously affected by the sparse attendance, and perhaps was a bit drained from the heavy load of touring. Schenker's set ended abruptly with "Love To Love" which showcased a variety of music styles, but left the fans wanting more in the hopes that Schenker would play "Lights Out" or "Doctor Doctor."

There was only one bad thing about the Schenker performance - the vocals were damn near impossible to hear! Vocalist Kelly Keeling seemed to be offering a lot of effort in his delivery, but the amps and speakers were apparently not up to the task. This made things a tad frustrating throughout the set.

Michael Schenker was supported by the same cast that supported Vinnie Moore: Shane Gaalass on drums, Barry Sparks on bass guitar, and Wayne Finley on guitars and keyboards. Of course, the aforementioned vocalist Kelly Keeling handled the vocal duties all night.

Having seen three concerts in three days it is quite easy to say that this concert was the most satisfying and the most enjoyable of the three.

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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.