ufoHe’s back and this week Self Made Man looks forward to a run of live shows the like of which he’s rarely seen before.

Every week our classic rock king sounds off about his beloved genre.

And today it’s all about the past – and its exciting future. 


When it was announced back in June that three of my favourite bands would be playing on successive nights in Newcastle, I knew immediately, that, for financial, family and work reasons, a clean sweep was a non-starter.

Of course, I’d love to see Kasabian, The Who and Michael Schenker in concert next month but when it came down to choosing two out of three, the decision was a no-brainer.

Kasabian were the ones I’d miss out on, not because I like them any less than The Who or Michael Schenker but because I know that there will be opportunities in the future to see them live.

The Who have already announced their forthcoming UK tour will be their last while despite Schenker seemingly enjoying a second flush of youth, his clock is ticking too.

It’s one of the reasons I saw The Rolling Stones at St James’  Park back in 1981.

At the time I was a student with a heavy overdraft and couldn’t really afford the price of the ticket.

But I was persuaded my mate’s sound argument: “We’ve got to go,” he said. “Let’s face it, at their age, we probably won’t get the chance to see the Rolling Stones ever again.”

It’s incredible to think that back then, no-one thought bands would carry on playing into their forties or fifties, let alone when they’d reached a pensionable age.

Even so, whenever I’ve seen some of my favourite bands – UFO, Rush, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young – I often wondered as they took their final bows on stage, if I’d ever get the chance to see them again.

It was the same in June last year when The Who performed Quadrophenia at the Arena. Who would have predicted I’d be seeing them again just 18 months later.

Being present in Manchester when Roger Waters performed The Wall last year wasn’t just an enjoyable experience, it was an emotional one too because after 1980’s performances at Earls Court, I’d waited 33 years for one final chance to see the production.

Bands that we’ve listened to for years, decades even, have a special place in our hearts and perhaps the reason, I chose The Who and Michael Schenker over Kasabian wasn’t only down to their respective ages.

It’s very much down to my age too.

Much as I love relatively new bands such as The Temperance Movement, The Answer, Black Keys, Arcade Fire, Kasabian of course and Joe Bonamassa, too, it’s not quite the same seeing them live as going to a Rush gig or travelling miles to see Aerosmith or AC/DC.

Even those bands I first listened to in my 20s and 30s – REM, Radiohead, The Stones Roses and Oasis don’t have quite the same pull as the classic rock bands of my teenage years.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that I wasn’t building up my hopes too high about The Endless River, Pink Floyd’s last ever album which should arrive in the post on Monday morning.

But my emotions have got the better of me and right now, I feel a bit like a six-year-old kid waiting for Christmas Day.

There are good bands, great bands, even new favourite bands. And then, perched high above them all are those long-standing favourite bands you first fell in love with during those life-defining adolescent years.

Ian Murtagh