It was not long ago that persistent rumors circulated of the Scorpions demise. If you were at Thursday’s show at the SAP Center in San Jose, you would understand that that could not be further from the truth. Celebrating their 50th anniversary as well as the release of their eighteenth studio album, Return To Forever, the Scorpions juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down.
Queensrÿche kicked off the evening with a set that spanned the classics (Queen of the Reich) through to the Todd LaTorre era material including Arrow of Time from their latest release, Condition Hüman. Clearly re-energized after the recent band turmoil, the guys used the generous 45 minute set to flex their muscles and win over what initially appeared to be a skeptical crowd, making it clear to everyone in the room that Queensrÿche is back and demands to be taken seriously.
Sufficiently prepped and duly pumped, the crowd was on their feet before the giant curtain even dropped on the Scorpions stage. Massive video screens behind them, the band took the stage amidst a massive fog bank which quickly dissipated as they tore into Going Out with a Bang … no doubt in reaction to the aforementioned rumors of their demise. No, these guys aren’t going anywhere, nor should they. Klaus Meine remained center stage, poised with his mic stand while Rudolf, Matthias and Pawel engaged the front rows. A long stage extension made for an intimate feel despite the size of the arena and gave Klaus plenty of runway as he peppered the crowd with drumsticks during The Zoo.
Mid-way through the set, the band gathered at the end of the stage extension for an acoustic medley of Always Somewhere, Eye of the Storm and Send Me an Angel. Kottak even stepped away from his kit which lowered behind the LED screens to join the band. Always in character, Rudolph brought out an acoustic Flying V for what proved to be the most intimate moment of the evening.
Not content with just a drum solo, James Kottak had his drum platform lifted into the air for Kottak Attack … a good 10+ minutes of banter and drumming that riffed on Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll and, with each pound, ushered in each of the Scorps album covers on the big screen. A talented drummer and under-recognized backup vocalist, Kottak got his well-deserved moment in the spotlight and the crowd ate it all up. Nothing less should be expected from a guy with his own name tattooed across his chest and “Rock & Roll Forever” covering his back.
From then on out, it was about wrapping the hour and 45 minute set with the hits. From Blackout to No One Like You and on to Big City Nights which had ever person in the room singing along … the Scorpions absolutely pummeled the crowd. Clearly there was no intention of letting up until the last notes of Rock You Like a Hurricane echoed off the rafters. Guitar picks, drumsticks and handshakes finished a night that proved that the Scorpions remain at the top of their game, even after 50 years.
- Going Out with a Bang
- Make It Real
- The Zoo
- Coast to Coast
- Top of the Bill / Steamrock Fever / Speedy’s Coming / Catch Your Train
- We Built This House
- Delicate Dance
- Always Somewhere / Eye of the Storm / Send Me an Angel
- Wind of Change
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Band
- In the Line of Fire
- Kottak Attack
- No One Like You
- Big City Nights
- Still Loving You
- Rock You Like a Hurricane
Supporting act: Queensrÿche
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