Written By Mike Arnold
On Saturday July 10th, 2010, Concert Blast accepted the invitation to cover the Scorpions farewell concert from their current “Get Your Sting and Blackout Tour,” as the tour stopped in Nashville, TN.
With Tom Thompson on vacation and James Downing attending another show in Memphis, Concert Blast photographer Brian Hasbrook and I attended the show. Here’s the Concert Review.
It’s been decades since I had the opportunity to witness a Scorpions concert. In fact I had never seen them as a headliner! I always thought that the Scorpions was a good (not great) opening act, but on this night my mind was definitely changed as the Scorpions made believers out of the estimated 6,000 hard rock fans in attendance!
The house lights flickered as a warning for people to get to their seats, an AC/DC song blasted over the house PA system to get the fans ready for a night of excitement. As soon as the song ended, the house lights went down, the stage lights came up and the rockers in the crowd screamed as they anticipated the Scorpions to take the stage for the last time in Nashville, TN (if this is actually a Farewell Tour).
On the huge three part video screen behind the drummer showed footage from the 1983 US Festival in San Bernardino, California as the security team opened the gates and the huge crowd went running to the stage area. The footage also showed the Scorpions flying in on a helicopter, getting out of the flying machine, and greeting fans from various other appearances. My first site of a band member was drummer, James Kottak, who climbed to his seat as the drum riser continued to rise to the lighting rafters. James stood up with a drumstick in each hand to entice the overly excited crowd. The other instrumental band members made their way to the stage to blast into the first song of the night which is the title track from their new project, “Sting In The Tail.” As the music started, lead singer Klaus Meine made his way to front and center stage wearing his beret, mirrored shades, leather jacket, tennis shoes, and sporting a loosely fitted tie, all dressed up in black. Once Klaus grabbed the mic stand and began to belt the words of the song, I knew we were in for a treat… his voice sounded excellent!
The band did not stop as they continued with the second song of the night from the 1980 album, “Animal Magnetism,” “Make It Real.” It didn’t take long for rhythm guitarist Rudolph Schenker to use the runway, which went half way down the arena floor. Rudolph would literally sprint down the runway to get closer to the fans. He practically did this throughout the entire show. Klaus screamed, “What da ya say Nashville, Tennessee?” and the band kicked into “Bad Boys Running Wild” from 1984’s “Love at First Sting”. As this high energy show continued, drummer James Kottak stood and with three beats on the high-hat, the guitars blasted out a crowd favorite, “The Zoo.” While the band provided the slow groove of the song, singer Klaus Meine grabbed a handful of new drumsticks to give out as concert souvenirs to the rockers in the general admission mosh pit at the front of the stage. The next number was a long instrumental, which came from their “World Wide Live” album called, “Coast To Coast.” Personally, I am not fond of instrumentals or instrumental solos, but the crowd sure did enjoy it. At one point in this song even Klaus was playing guitar, but the guitar work of Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker was the highlight.
I would say the Scorpions did a good job covering a good span of their career as they went back to 1979 for the next song from “Lovedrive,” as they played “Loving You Sunday Morning.” The band then broke into the rock ballad, “The Best Is Yet To Come” before playing a couple of numbers acoustically with all band members at the end of the runway (including drummer James Kottak and bassist Pawel Maciwoda) as Klaus lead the crowd singing while performing the songs, “Send Me An Angel” and “Holiday.” Toward the end of “Holiday,” the band members slipped away to get back to the main section of the stage as the band played the latter portion of the song electric.
Klaus yelled to the crowd, “I don’t know about you, but I was “Raised On Rock”!” as they performed the song from the new CD while showing old vintage clips of the Scorpions on the three sectional video screen. James Kottak stood behind his drum kit while thumping the pedal bass drum to start the song, “Tease Me Please Me.” Guitarist Rudolph Schenker began the next song as he strummed his guitar hard and fast with the band following him for the song, “Dynamite.”
It was time for drummer James Kottak to take the spot light as he began a unique drum solo which they call, “Kottak Attack.” The uniqueness was his drumming became a part of a strange video interaction. The video was like a sequence of dreams as the drumming, with other electronic noises included, provided some sort of a soundtrack for the video. At the end of his solo, James was wearing a t-shirt with the words on the back of it that said, “ROCK AND ROLL FOREVER.” James was showing the crowd the back of his shirt as it was also displayed on the video screen. James then took off his shirt and there were the same words in the same style tattooed on his back. The crowd screamed with approval!
The remaining band came out on stage to start up another crowd favorite, “Blackout.” Rudolph had his face and head made up like the man on the cover of the album as he went wild running all over the stage. The end of this song began the guitar solo from Matthias Jabs as he began the solo, which they named, “Six String Sting.” Matthias pleased the crowd with his expertise playing, but what really got the crowd excited was the next song, “Big City Nights.” The video screen showed a nighttime, busy, big city night. The city streets looked something like Las Vegas or New York, but there were Nashville businesses in the scenes, including the Bridgestone Arena with the upcoming events scrolling on the sign. When the song ended, the band members waved goodbye to the enthusiastic crowd and left the stage. We all knew they would return to the stage to continue to thrill the Nashville fans and they did.
Upon returning to the stage, singer Klaus Meine thanked the crowd for a fun evening and then began to whistle out the beginning of “Wind of Change” which brought out even more excitement. They continued with the thrills as they went into “No One Like You.” Klaus said, “It’s time to Rock You!” and they definitely succeeded the task as they closed the night with “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” After the three-song encore, the band left the stage for the night and everyone in attendance left satisfied.
I was extremely impressed with the Scorpions. In fact this was one show I could have taken it or leave it. I’m glad I took it! The show had several surprises and the band played songs I had forgotten about. The new songs they played were also good tunes and they didn’t ram all the new songs down our throats as many artists do. The parts of the show I didn’t care for was the instrumental song “Coast to Coast” and the solos, although the drum solo and video screen interaction was interesting. Another part I didn’t care for was how the set list was arranged by putting most all of the top hits at the end of the show and the encore. At times people around me were wondering when they were going to play some of the big hits. I kept telling everyone, “Wait for the encore.” Due to these differences, on a 10.0 Concert Blast Scale, I will give the Scorpions concert an 8.5. I would definitely go see them again and would encourage everyone to see them before they call it quits for good.
Written by Mike Arnold
Tags: <atthias Jabs, Big City Nights, Blackout, blog, Brian Hasbrook, concert blast, concert review, James Kottak, Klaus Meine, Mike Arnold, Pawel Maciwoda, Rock You Like A Hurricane, Rudolf Schenker, Sting of the Tail, The Scorpions, The Zoo, Wind of Change