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Michael Schenker Group - Classic Album Review

Way back in 1981, the Michael Schenker Group toured Japan before legions of screaming fans. Despite the language barrier, crowds were receptive and energetic. The band recorded one of the stops and this became the classic live disc One Night at Budokan (BGO).The album was originally released in 1982 and remastered in 1996.


The track listing for One Night at Budokan:




  1. Armed And Ready (Schenker/Barden) 6:20
  2. Cry For The Nations (Schenker/Barden) 5:32
  3. Attack Of The Mad Axeman (Schenker/Barden) 4:50
  4. But I Want More (Schenker/Barden) 5:24
  5. Victim Of Illusion (Schenker/Barden) 6:18
  6. Into The Arena (Schenker) 4:45
  7. On And On (Schenker/Barden) 5:32
  8. Never Trust A Stranger (Raymond) 6:07
  9. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Schenker/Barden/Glen/Raymond/Powell) 7:18
  10. Courvoisier Concerto (Schenker/Raymond) 3:42
  11. Lost Horizons (Schenker/Barden) 7:22
  12. Doctor Doctor (Schenker/Mogg) 5:30
  13. Are You Ready To Rock (Schenker/Barden) 7:10

The album is comprised of songs from the first two MSG albums as well as Schenker’s work with UFO. The MSG lineup for this recording include Gary Barden (vocals), Paul Raymond (rhythm guitar), Chris Glen (bass), Cozy Powell (drums) and Schenker.


So, is One Night at Budokan the best live album of all time? In a word, no. It is, however, pretty damn good and features some of the best guitar work of the 1980s. There’s no doubt that Michael Schenker is a guitar machine – his skill is largely unmatched, saved for the likes of Eddie VanHalen. Even with Schenker’s guitar ability, the real hero here is the production: the drums sound huge. The wall of sound fills your speakers and pretty much demand attention. The late Cozy Powell really shines here. This is, perhaps, his finest effort with the Michael Schenker Group.


What are the highlights? There are a lot, but my favorite songs are “Doctor Doctor,” “On and On” and “Cry For the Nations.” “Doctor Doctor” is a favorite for obvious reasons, but “On and On” has a wicked introduction that you really just need to hear to believe. “Cry for the Nations” has pounding drums, which I love and give One Night at Budokan depth. It’s this depth that separate this live effort from so many other releases that just don’t quite replicate the actual concert experience.


Back to “Doctor Doctor.” The intro clapping and the transition to the guitar solo are really all you need here...except the song just gets better and better, thanks to a slow build in the arrangement.  It’s pretty obvious the crowd realizes this is the apex of the show, because there is more ambient noise – from cheering, clapping and the like.

The verdict? Required listening for any Glam fan wanting a historical foundation of guitar rock. Michael Schenker was doing crazy guitar licks before Eddie VanHalen  but he never really got his due. One Night at Budokan is a good representation of Schenker’s live skill and status as bona fide guitar legend.


Buy the import by clicking here.

Reader Comments (6)

Thank you for the great review. This album is a classic. My favorite songs are "Attack Of The Mad Axeman" and "Into The Arena".

Did you know that a 2-disc re-release came out last month? Your link is for the 2003 single disc version. Here is the link for the 2-disc 2009 re-release:

Highly recommended!
February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrank66
Love the review. Love the album... for me certainly one of the best live albums for the songs and the capture. Cozy's drums and Michael's guitar demand those huge speakers we all use to have, grills ripped away, paper cones straining to move so much air. Not those silly Bose sugarcube things.
February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLondon
Great review of a classic release! Nice job Allyson...
February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
A great album indeed. those wanting to dig back even further for historical prospective should check out UFO's live album "Strangers In The Night." Once UFO stopped doing the space rock thing, they were fortifying the foundations of 80s hair metal as early as 1974.
February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Michael Schenker, a big influence on my playing along with other guitar players around that time, Frank Marino, Pat Travers, Leslie West, Tommy Bolin, Ace Frehley, David Feinstein, and the list goes on.
February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoy
MSG are a mixed bag for me. The early albums are terrific, but in the last twenty years most of the music has been mediocre.
March 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike Winters

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