UFO
Strangers in the Night


5.0
classic

Review

by menawati CONTRIBUTOR (90 Reviews)
September 7th, 2012 | 21 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the best live albums ever released.

Nearing the end of the 70's UFO were at the top of their game. Their studio releases had demonstrated a steady progress in songwriting and musicianship throughout the decade and they had delivered their best work with the classic 'Lights Out' and 'Obsession' albums. They were at the peak of their popularity and close to breaking into the mainstream. Then, unfortunately, talismanic guitarist Michael Schenker decided to quit the band. They never fully recovered from this hammer blow but the double live set 'Strangers in the Night' is a worthy representation of how dynamic UFO had become as a live act by the late 70's with Schenker on board.

Recorded in 1978 at shows in Chicago, Illinois and Louisville this album is almost a 'Best of UFO' package and with a few exceptions serves as a near perfect summary of the band's output to that point. While many live albums of the time have been singled out as having been overdubbed Schenker has pointed out in Guitar Player magazine that 'it would not have been possible to overdub the guitars because they also came through the drum microphones'. So what you hear on this album is pretty much a warts an' all Schenker. It has, however,been well documented that 'Mother Mary' and 'This Kids' are actually live studio versions with crowd noise added. I know that sounds rather offputting but they sound so good and fit so well in the set that you can forgive them for such a blatant act.

Notwithstanding any concerns about overdubs and such like the band are totally electric on this album; tight, powerful, rousing and confident. Without hardly any exceptions the live versions on here are better than their studio incarnations and in some cases the improvement is so vast that the originals become almost unlistenable by comparison. 'Let It Roll' hits you with a force totally unlike the rather badly produced rendition on 'Force It'. 'Only You Can Rock Me' actually does rock you and the signature song 'Doctor Doctor' receives it's definitive performance. The version of the classic 'Rock Bottom' on here is also exceptional and features a new intro and an extended middle section which serves as a Schenker showpiece. Another highlight is the driving 'Lights Out' which hits you like a ton of bricks..'lights out, lights out in CHICAGO' screams Mogg to the cheers of the crowd. It might sound contrived but it captures the moment perfectly and just adds to the excitement while the song thunders along with Paul Raymond's distorted organ sounds vieing to compete with a frenzied Schenker on guitar.
There is more to this album than driving hard rock however. UFO were always famous for their ballads and 'Out in the Street' and 'I'm A Loser' benefit greatly from a slightly more robust approach than they were given in the studio. Another ballad 'Love to Love', probably the best song they ever wrote, is one of the real gems of this live set. In fact, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden is cited on wikipedia as claiming it as his favourite song and it is beautifully performed on here.

My only gripe with the album is the track order. The original LP felt perfect with 'Natural Thing' as the opener. The re-issue places 'Hot n Ready' and 'Cherry' at the start of the album and these are definitely the weakest songs of the lot. Also, 'Love to Love' is shifted to near the start of the set and seems out of place. Apparently this mirrors their live show at the time but the original track order was perfect. If it ain't broke don't fix it. However, that's just a very small fly in a vat of ointment as this is without a doubt one of the best live releases of all time.

If you only ever buy one UFO album, this is the one you want.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
September 6th 2012


71839 Comments


yea gota hear this, nice review bro

Digging: A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2012


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

it won't disappoint ;]

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012


20739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome album.

Great review, pos'd.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2012


7395 Comments


I'm not really familiar with this band, but it's a cool review. Keep them up!

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

Jethro42
September 7th 2012


12456 Comments


Yeah good review

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thx for the encouragement guys, will do 'Obsession' next week and i think the UFO review gaps on the site are filled

Coconutaerofreestyle
December 20th 2013


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Doctor, Doctor, pleease ....

MrSirLordGentleman
February 7th 2014


4438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the archetype of live rock

KILL
February 7th 2014


71839 Comments


live at leedz

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2014


20739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Made in Japan.

KILL
February 7th 2014


71839 Comments


damn true

might prefer leeds by a lil tho

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2014


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

wow thread had cobwebs, nice ufo bump lads

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2014


20739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Made in Japan will always be my favourite live album.

MrSirLordGentleman
February 7th 2014


4438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I prefer Made in Japan, but this has a more, I don't know how to say it, I think it has the beauty of simpleness

(I don't like Live at Leeds, I know I deserve a shot)

KILL
February 7th 2014


71839 Comments


wtf

MrSirLordGentleman
February 7th 2014


4438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Never been a fan of that album, Daltrey's live voice has never being good for me, and the fact that it was released before Who's Next and Quadrophenia makes the tracklist a little bit weak for me

KILL
February 7th 2014


71839 Comments


honestly the covers are the best part

MrSirLordGentleman
February 7th 2014


4438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That might be true

MrSirLordGentleman
April 28th 2014


4438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

When the crowd starts screaming when Doctor, Doctor starts, FUCKING EPIC

MrSirLordGentleman
May 20th 2014


4438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This has the riffs and the m/



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