What do you mean you haven’t heard about Flight To Mars? Alright let me introduce you – FTM is a UFO tribute band featuring Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and friends. You haven’t heard of UFO either? That’s sad … UFO is an English band from the seventies featuring guitar virtuoso Michael Schenker, singer Phil Mogg and crazy bassist Pete Way. Flight to Mars played The Casbah in San Diego on their 10th anniversary West Coast tour. Fans of UFO and Mike McCready were treated to a night of some fine rock n roll.
Opening bands were Vendetta Red and Mistresses of Reality, an all female Black Sabbath cover band from Los Angeles. How cool is that? These gals rocked the house to warm up the crowd for FTM!
At 10:30pm, Flight of Mars took the stage. From the first chord, this band blew me away! Alongside Mike McCready, you had North Twin guitarist Tim DiJulio, bassist Gary Westlake, drummer Kelly Van Camp and frontman Paul Passereli who sounds amazingly like Phil Mogg!
This was a high energy, octane filled slice of guitar based melodic rock at it’s finest. As a UFO fan, I enjoyed every fist pounding moment. McCready’s shredding was fluid and resplendent on a Gibson Flying V favored by Michael Schenker during his stint with UFO and beyond.
After running through a blistering set of UFO hits, Mike introduces a special guest (a hero of his … more on that in a bit). The set-list went like this. I didn’t memorize it because I was lucky enough to score it from McCready!
So here’s the development that caught fans by a surprise in a special way. As the set was drawing to a close, McCready announces that he’s bringing on to the stage a man who was the reason why he picked up a guitar. That special man was none other than Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley. So Ace jams with the band with fans screaming … it was a pretty special moment.
I leave you with a clip from the band performing Lights Out … This was an amazing show. If you get a chance to catch FTM on tour, do it!
Good night and thank you San Diego!