UFO landed in San Francisco for an intimate Thanksgiving eve performance at The Independent. A capacity crowd of mostly middle-aged men eschewed the pre-holiday obligations and packed the house for what would prove to be well worth effort. Taking the stage just past 9:30, UFO kicked things off with fan-favorite “Lights Out.”

With over 40 years at the helm, Phil Mogg, now into his 60’s, sounded absolutely fantastic. Relaxed and talkative behind the mic, Phil vamped on the “odor” wafting from the crowd and fidgeted with his belt as he fretted over losing his trousers altogether (“they looked good on the shelf”). With long-time members Andy Parker (drums) and Paul Raymond (keys), the band was tight as can be and Phil demonstrated genuine appreciation for Vinnie Moore’s guitar work.

While there appeared to be a setlist taped to the stage, the band seemed to veer mid-way through the set, letting the crowd vote on songs and touching on some rarer classics (“Cherry”). But with a new album out, (Seven Deadly), there was no avoiding a healthy dose of the new material (“Fight Night,” “Wonderland,” “Mojo Town”) which left no doubt that UFO is not back … they never went anywhere in the first place.

An extended version of “Rock Bottom” included a searing solo by Vinnie Moore and signaled the beginning of the end of the night; the band left the stage, but the packed house wasn’t going anywhere. Phil came back holding a pizza box and chewing away, exclaiming that he was starving, before sharing the rest of the pizza with the front row. Even the less-than-die-hard UFO fan knew was was next … UFO wrapped up an amazing night with “Doctor Doctor” and “Shoot Shoot.” The two hour set from UFO went way too fast but proved to be the perfect start for the long holiday weekend.

Supporting act: Points North

© 2012 Alan Snodgrass | www.digitaldiversion.net. Please do not use without express permission. If you like what you see, leave a comment below and subscribe so you can be notified of new posts. You can also become a fan on Facebook.