September 21, 2015 Scorpions Storm Through Brooklyn, NY 9-12-15 w/ Queensryche
Over the past five decades, one band has circled through a variety of genres in Rock-n-Roll music. Whether it came from Thrash, Hard Rock, Nu Metal, to even a bit of Punk Rock, this particular group sprinkled across the spectrum as an essential influence. This legend is known to be one of the greatest and longest running Hard Rock bands of all time, the one and only Scorpions. Rightfully celebrating their fifty years stride since the initial formation in 1965 from Hannover, Germany, releasing their eighteenth studio album Return to Forever in February 2015. Carrying on with the commemoration, the band flew overseas to North America for a sixteen-date tour. On the night of Saturday September 12th, Scorpions appeared in one of the newer monstrous arenas in Brooklyn, New York, Barclays Center. Supporting them on this journey were the renowned Queensrÿche, promoting their upcoming fifteenth studio album, Condition Hüman due out via Century Media on October 2nd.
Queensrÿche was ready to open the evening filled with music mastery to the already packed house. Historically known by conquering the spotlight after selling over twenty million albums worldwide, including the acclaimed 1988 Operation: Mindcrime, the band formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington. These Progressive Heavy Metallers have battled through a handful of lineup ups and downs, particularly in 1997 when co-founder Chris DeGarmo left the group. In 2012, they parted ways with original frontman Geoff Tate as well to usher in a new era. The road has been quite windy as confusion rolled in through 2013 after Tate’s split, he recorded an album under the Queensrÿche name, entitled Frequency Unknown, followed by the remainder of the Queensrÿche releasing a self-titled album. Shortly after this double release, the court ended such confusion and the Queensrÿche name was awarded to the band themselves, leaving one and only Queensrÿche consisting of Todd La Torre (vocals), Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass), Scott Rockenfield (drums) and Parker Lundgren (guitar). As the disarray and battles settled, the group has been traveling ferociously to show off their new look and are now promoting the latest and highly anticipated aforementioned album, Condition Hüman.
Opening the set with the classic “Anarchy-X” and “The Needle Lies” from Operation: Mindcrime, La Torre’s vocals projected over the arena as the rest of the pack took their places on the platform. Moving along, LaTorre asked how everyone was doing and went into another favorable classic, “Walk in the Shadows.” Keeping the energy alive, LaTorre once again engaged with the crowd, thanking everyone by demanding all to sing in the next track from the known 1990 Empire album, “Jet City Woman.” Powerfully escalating into the brand new tune “Arrow of Time,” fans screamed in delight during its robust delivery. Keeping up with a crisp melody, they rolled right into “Eyes of a Stranger,” captivating the crowd as fists were raised in the air. La Torre asked the audience if they wanted to hear more, which followed by a monstrous sea of screams in approval as they went into “Empire.” Lastly, La Torre asked if everyone was ready to hear, as he belted out the words of the song “Queen of the Reich,” from their self-titled debut EP from 1983. LaTorre’s vocals and stage presence have led him to be accepted beyond measures as the best frontman replacement. Nailing in quite a few memorable guitar solos, their set was short, sweet, and unforgettable. At this point, fans were pumped for the main act.
As fans had a few moments to explore the options between cocktails, delicious bites, and checking out the merchandise tables, it was time for Scorpions to ignite the platform. Throughout the course of their fifty-year career, over 100 million albums have been sold, including reaching the heights of gold and double platinum status. Proving their fanbase dedication, the band has traveled around the world to visit as many as humanly possible and present a consistent amount of joyous performances. This evening was no different as Klaus Meine (lead vocals, guitar, tambourine), Rudolf Schenker (guitar), Matthias Jabs (guitars), James Kottak (drums), and Paweł Mąciwoda (bass) launched onto the stage.
Fans awaited to celebrate along with their fifty-year musical journey as they opened up with “Going Out With A Bang” from Return to Forever. Each member ran across the stage, providing an exuberant amount of energy and spirit, especially from Schenker during “Make It Real” from Animal Magnetism (1980). The now ecstatic Meine asked all if they were ready to hear more. As everyone screamed out in excitement, “The Zoo” charged in. Moving into a psychedelic lighting background, “Coast to Coast” from Lovedrive (1979) chimed along with a few long-lasting guitar solos. Continuing with an invasive instrumental solo act, members fled across the platform to show off their skills during the ’70s tracks consisting of “Top of the Bill,” “Steamrock Fever,” “Speedy’s Coming” and “Catch Your Train.”
Meine took a moment to speak to the packed house by expressing, “So many times we are here and spend so many times in this country. So many great memories baby! It’s been a long journey, you know we went through all the highs and lows and we’re still standing strong. You know why? You know why?! You know why?!!! Because, ‘We Built This House’ on Rock…” as they mastered the newer track, “We Built This House,” followed by “Delicate Dance.” Switching to a more intimate and acoustic setting, Meine emphasized, “Oh yes, it’s been awhile that we came out to the United States and came back to New York City, it’s a while ago. So this is the beginning of the tour and I hope we come back next year of course. And how about that?” As everyone cheered to hear they will possibly return to NYC, Meine continued, “I am sure some of you might remember the words to this one…” and they broke into “Always Somewhere,” followed by “Eye of the Storm” and closed the acoustic set with fans waving their hands back and forth during “Send Me an Angel.” Switching to the historic ballad era of 1990, “Crazy World” had fans lift their lighters and a few shed tears of joy during the classic “Wind of Change.” Meine halted this track in order to hear the emotions coming directly from the fans. Knowing exactly how to put on a remarkable performance, they picked up the pace with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Band,” “Dynamite,” and “In the Line of Fire.”
The screen in the background switched to a collage of albums throughout their fifty-year career as fans await for the ultimate Kottak Attack! While Kottack shines in his glorious and flawless skills, he has his moment to converse with the crowd. Kottack expressed, “You know this year, we’ve been in China, we’ve been in Russia, we’ve been in Europe, we’ve been in Korea. We went here and went there, and the same question everywhere is ‘Hey Kottack, where is the best audience in the world?” Fans cheered out in excitement as he continued with, “Do I really need to answer that?” The audience shouted even louder at this point as he looked around for proof, “I need you to prove me right that America is the best audience in the world. All you gotta do is say one word. The secret word, Scorpions.” The entire arena shouted out Scorpions to the point that the sound could have reached out to Queens. Kottack was impressed and wanted to say three words to his friends in the audience, “You kick ASS!” Continuing to showcase his drumming mastery, fans were left in awe, however, there was one last attack. Kottack stood up for all to see, took off his shirt and showed a large tattoo displayed on his back reading, “Rock & Roll Forever.” That concluded the Kottack Attack experience, and fans were wowed.
Moving along with the set was the infamous “Blackout.” Surprising the crowd once again, Meine introduced, “Here and then you want some young and upcoming artists and musicians, so, tonight, will you welcome please, he’s very young and very talented. Twelve years old, Brandon Niederauer from Long Island, New York!” This young guitar prodigy went on the stage and performed “No One Like You” and fans were left in a jaw dropping stance. Envying this child, many were most certainly tempted to go home that night to pick up their own axe they left collecting dust in a closet somewhere. After this surprise, it was time for Scorpions to sadly close out the set, of course it was done in a monstrous New York City way with “Big City Lights” from the acclaimed Love at First Sting (1984). The crowd continuously shouted out “Big City” while jumping and clapping with pleasure until its official closeout.
As the lights faded, fans stood, shouting out, “Scorpions!” Shortly after this break, they came back for the encore set. Keeping with the Love at First Sting vibe, they roared in with the beastly ballad of “Still Loving You” as everyone sang along. It was time to save the most famous track for last as they officially closed the night with “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”
Filling up an evening of endless Rock-n-Roll glory that surpassed satisfaction, left fans juiced up . It was a remarkable experience, with impeccable lighting, and a pristine sound quality as well. It is not too late to catch them as the tour ends in North America on October 9th, in Seattle Washington, at the Showare Center. Essentially, this has been an incredible and outstanding tour, perhaps one of the band’s best ever, and five decades from now Rock fans will still be talking about Scorpions.