September 19 2015 – In 2010, the Scorpions announced their farewell tour, an epic 3 year journey with hundreds of shows that was supposed to be the end of the band as a touring entity. As they approached the end of that tour they realized that they were not ready to quit, in particular because of the emotion they saw from a brand new generation of Scorpions fans. Teenagers and 20-somethings were there in full force singing along to the songs and experience the magic of Germany’s biggest rock band who have sold over 100 million albums.
Fast forward to tonight and this was not the farewell tour any longer but the Scorpions 50th Anniversary tour. As is the case for almost all bands these days the original lineup (or even the lineup from the band’s golden era) is no longer intact. However, rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker did start the band in 1965 and has been with them every day since. Just as significantly the voice of the band Klaus Meine has been with the Scorpions since 1969. To put this in context Led Zeppelin formed in 1968, Fleetwood Mac in 1967 and Pink Floyd in 1965. The fact that the Scorpions have been around as long as legends such as those bands ensures that the Scorpions are a legend in their own right.
Scorpions are not showing any signs of fatigue and they even have a documentary coming out very shortly. Forever And A Day is currently playing a limited run in some cinemas (check local listings) and will be released in DVD and digital by the end of the year. It is a full on documentary which follows the band around to many exotic locations on the last few years of their touring and full of prime footage from the classic days as well. Surely a must see/own for fans of the band.
Tonight was the finale of the 2015 summer concert series at the Molson Amphitheatre for rock and it could not have been a better night in Toronto. Mid September usually brings the early signs of winter with temperatures in the high single digits but this year it was mid 20’s and t-shirts was the clothing article of choice. The venue was full (except for the lawns which were not even open) with almost every one of the 9000 seats being sold.
Queensrÿche kicked off the night and were impressive with their progressive metal. Formed in 1982 they still have their original drummer (Scott Rockenfield), bassist (Eddie Jackson), and guitarist (Michael Wilton). Surprisingly their original vocalist (Geoff Tate) and guitarist (Chris DeGarmo) are no longer with the band. Tate can especially be considered irreplaceable with his unique voice, but as we have seen with bands such as Styx, Foreigner, Journey, Great White and Alice In Chains the show must go on. The new singer is Todd La Torre and he blew us away. In fact I wasn’t even aware that the guy singing tonight wasn’t the original singer until a friend of mine told me that fact during the break.
Silent Lucidity, Queen of the Reich, and Eyes of a Stranger are the big three and all of them were played in fine form. Blazing guitars with high energy vocals are the trademark of Queensrÿche, and it was evident they can still deliver with the intensity of their gigs from the 80’s and 90’s which they were revered for. The seats were much more full than what is found for a typical “opening” band and it was clear that Queensrÿche were an excellent choice to kick off the night. They played 9 songs – 8 of which were from their back catalog and only 1 from their current new album Condition Human.
Tonight the Scorpions decided to kick it off with a new song – Going Out With A Bang. Usually bands kick off with a hit to set the tone for the night but the Scorpions unorthodox approach gave everyone a chance to get to their seats and be ready for a killer night of music. The next two songs from Animal Magnetism created an incredible emotional bond with the audience that established The Zoo and Make It Real.
A big surprise was a nice collection of the 70’s deep cuts in the form of a medley. Top Of The Bill, Steamrock Fever, Speedy’s Coming and Catch Your Train were presented in a nice 7 minute segment that kept the rock hard and heavy.
There were plenty of other highlights throughout the night but some memories that stood out were;
– Meine handing out tons of drumsticks throughout the night to the fans in the General Admission area in front of the stage and runway.
– Kottak dazzled with his drum solo which was accompanied with each one of the Scorpions album covers appearing on the screen one by one and eventually filling up the whole stage screen area (see photo below). Having recently seen Motley Crue and the hyped Tommy Lee rollercoaster drum solo, we can clearly say that Kottak’s was much more succesful in connecting with the audience. Kottak’s drum kit was on an elevated platform for the whole night but for the solo the kit was raised with hydraulics way in the air.
– A mini acoustic set ensured there was singalongs for Always Somewhere and Send Me An Angel. The biggest sing along for the night was for Wind Of Change. An emotional experience with its strong pro-peace imagery for the German unification which still applies to the current world.
Typically bands that were big in the 80’s and late 70’s have a very high potential of coming off cheesy at their concerts now that their members are well into senior citizenship. Trying to imitate their moves from over 30 years ago sometimes looks ridiculous and very dated. The Scorpions did not face that issue as this show was very authentic and they truly grabbed the audience and connected with us for the whole night. The fans responded to all requests to raise our hands or to make some noise and the Scorpions ended off the night with a 2 song encore of Still Loving You and Rock You Like A Hurricane. In all the band played 18 songs plus the drum solo for a show that truly satisfied.
Verdict 5 out of 5: After having seen many concerts at the Molson Amphitheatre this summer including Def Leppard with Styx, Deep Purple, Peter Frampton, The Australian Pink Floyd Show and others – we solidly name Scorpions with Queensrÿche the best rock show Toronto hosted this summer. Queensrÿche were tight and delicately complex in their delivery of their prog masterpieces. Scorpions delivered an amazing performance with an excellent stage setup, pristine sound and perfectly timed visuals. Words can not do this show justice so perhaps some videos from the night might….
- Scorpions Toronto 2015
- Scorpions Toronto 2015
- Scorpions Toronto 2015
- Scorpions Toronto 2015
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