Schenker Resize@Newcastle O2 Academy, December 10 2014

Imagine watching Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on a gluepot of a pitch.

The star attraction is on top form but for all his mazy dribbles, clever passing and explosive shooting, ultimately, he’s powerless to influence the overall result.

Conditions 1, Football Genius 0. 

And so it was at the O2 Academy last night when Michael Schenker and his Temple of Rock launched their UK tour.

The German maestro was at his blistering best. Those present will bear testimony to that fact.

But the harsh truth is that the vast majority of the crowd will have left feeling underwhelmed due to a dreadful mix.

On numerous occasions, I saw frustrated fans approach the mixing desk to inform those behind it that vocalist Dougie White couldn’t be hard but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Early on, even Schenker’s Flying V guitar was way down in the mix but thankfully this problem at least was rectified.

Not so White’s vocals with the Scot himself betraying his own frustrations late on when he complained about the feedback he was hearing.

White is not my favourite vocalist. He’s an enthusiastic frontman but his range is limited.

Having to replicate the strains of UFO’s Phil Mogg and Klaus Meine of The Scorpions is a tough enough task in itself. When you’re let down by technical failures, it becomes nigh-on impossible.

For those planning to see Schenker elsewhere, don’t be put off, however. The set-list was excellent with the band kicking off with Doctor Doctor and playing classic from the 59-year-olds back catalogue with UFO, The Scorpions and MSG such as Rock You Like A Hurricane, Armed And Ready and Too Hot To Handle.

But no Blackout. It was pencilled in for the final encore but clearly the band were as fed up as the audience by the inadequate sound.

Thankfully, there were highlights, including the two instrumentals Coast To Coast and Into The Arena with former Scorpions bassist Francis Bucholz complementing Schenker’s fretwork admirably.

And we’ll leave the best to last.

Schenker’s solo on Rock Bottom was breathtaking. I’ve seen him numerous times and can’t recall him performing it better than he did last night. The man isn’t just back to his best, he’s scaling new heights.

In music just as in sport, genius can override the most testing conditions.

Ian Murtagh