Review: Waterfront’s Last Orders with UFO celebrates 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll shenanigans

UFO performed at Norwich Waterfront for their farewell, 50th anniversary, tour. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

UFO performed at Norwich Waterfront for their farewell, 50th anniversary, tour. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

As hard rock nearly-men UFO landed in Norwich for their final East Anglia show in their final ever UK tour, thoughts turn to the five-piece's remarkable longevity.

Let's face it, for a band who wrote the textbook on rock 'n' roll excess, forging a ferocious fame for all manner of substance abuses, the very fact they are still standing in 2019 – 50 years since their formation – is nothing short of remarkable.

And while nowhere near as sprightly as their spandex-clad prime, the band were clearly in a celebratory mood for their final Norwich show on the aptly named Last Orders tour.

So without a finer excuse in the world to relive the likes of classic tunes Doctor Doctor, Too Hot To Handle or Only You Can Rock Me, the Waterfront was transformed into an exuberant 1970s rock club for one last fling.

Bass player lynchpin Pete Way is no longer involved, but Rob De Luca puts on a fine display, and alongside the original pairing of vocalist Phil Mogg and Andy Parker (drums), and well established guitarists Vinnie Moore and Paul Raymond, musically Way's departure isn't noticed.

US guitar shredder Tara Lynch was the opening act for the show, giving a sincere, if well-worn, performance.

And as the last orders bell rings out calling the band to the stage and the opening chords of Mother Mary greet the throng of faithful fans, one is reminded that they never quite hit the big time.

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It certainly wasn't for lack of killer songs, or indeed killer talent, having boasted the likes of Michael Schenker, future Whitesnake axeman Bernie Marsden, AC/DC tubthumper Simon Wright and Jason 'son of John' Bonham on their books.

But ever the survivalists, the group defied their self-destructive personality to continue carving out the kind of classic rock numbers we've all come to know and love.

Moore wrings the neck of every last guitar solo, Mogg stalks the stage like a Dickensian villain eyeballing the crowd, and on the likes of Lights Out a visibly shattered Parker pounds the skins so hard you wonder if he or the drums will explode at any moment.

And as the sweaty Waterfront pilgrims amble back out into the night, having raised one last pint before UFO take off again, it's with a fond farewell their extraordinary journey is toasted.

Cheers boys, here's one for the road.

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