The Scorpions bring a finely tuned rock and roll show to Cleveland, Ohio in celebration of their 50th anniversary.

German engineering is synonymous with performance, reliability and longevity around the world. These terms certainly applied to the Scorpions who presented a nearly 100-minute jaunt down their own musical Autobahn of history. Held at the open air Jacobs Pavilion on the river downtown the weather was still holding out for one last spin down the highway with its top down, radio blasting and not a care in the world. The parking lots were nearly full long before doors opened as generations of fans came to recall those ‘big city nights’ memories when arena rock ruled the day.

Queensryche provided the opening entertainment on this tour with a 45-minute set that began as the sun began to dip below the city skyline. Fronted by the very capable Todd La Torre the new vocalist and Parker Lundgren on guitar the group has found a rekindled and rejuvenated energy that had been missing for years. With the tumultuous legal battles far behind them they have forged ahead winning back fans around the world by  touring extensively around the globe over the past couple years. Founding members Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drummer) have said in recent interviews they feel stronger than ever about the future of the band and are continually appreciative at the outpouring of support the fans have given them.

They opened with the inspirational anthem that is “Anarchy-X” as they took to the stage with a renewed sense of purpose. La Torre nailed each classic song from start to finish with flourish. “The Needle Lies”, “Walk In The Shadows”, “Jet City Woman”, and “Silent Lucidity” comprised the first half of their set, all of which were well received and known by all in attendance.  It was during “Arrow of Time” off their new album that the band really came alive. The pride in their new work was radiating from each of them during this song as they all became much more animated, putting every ounce of energy in bringing it to life. It heralded the return to the classic Queensryche sound with a bold confidence, one that has been missed for some time.

Wrapping up their set with two of their biggest hits came “Eyes Of A Stranger” and “Empire”. The seats were well packed with fans who provided an ensemble backing vocals at all the key points, on point with La Torres prompts. Leaving the stage to thundering applause and cheers, they regrouped to return for the final song of their set, “Queen of the Reich”. It was the strength of this song on their first EP that saw the band get signed to a record deal before they even played a single show. To hear it sung live, in perfection note for note is an aural tour-de-force that had everyone  on their feet, even those who were not familiar with the song. It’s a flagship song that showcases the amazing vocal skills of La Torre which you can hear for yourself when Condition Human releases on October 2nd worldwide.

After a brief intermission the lights dimmed, the curtain fell and the Scorpions trotted on to a fog-filled stage and right into the new song “Going Out With A Bang”, setting the pace for the night. “Make It Real” followed and was succeeded by the trudging, crunchy guitars of “The Zoo”. Shifting the gears of time they revisited the 70’s on hits such as “Speedy’s Coming” and “Catch Your Train”. Few bands have lasted 50 years old and be able to be so versatile on the stage. It’s evident they are grateful to their fans as they constantly interacted with them through the show. Guitar picks and smiles flew in droves from Rudy, Matthias and Pawel who all playing with exceptional vigor while Klaus manned a cowbell and tossed drumsticks to the fans.

The band slowed down halfway through their set to break into a set of acoustic numbers which ended with “Winds Of Change”. It didn’t take much encouragement to get the audience engaged to sing along on that number as their voices filled the venue in unison. It was a pleasant break from the hard-hitting rock show that showcased the gentler side of the band before diving back into the electrified guitars again.

The last part of the show became a circus as drummer James Kottak rose above the crowd on his drum kit suspended by wires. Turning away from the crowd to show the back of his shirt which read Rock & Roll Forever, he lifted it word by word revealing the same tattooed on his back. Perched high above the crowd he turned and proclaimed “Cleveland! You! Kick! Ass!” Descending back to earth they launched into “Blackout” with Schenker laying down licks on a guitar that emitted fog from the end of it. Wrapping up their set with an encore which included their biggest hits “No One Like You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” the Scorpions proved that their sting is just as deadly as when they first burst on the scene 50 years ago.

The band has sold over 100 million albums worldwide with their latest studio effort Return To Forever marking their 19th release. This album consists of partial songs or ideas that were written over the course of the 80’s. They decided to revisit these after a few jam sessions and found it turning into an album writing project. It’s a biography of the band in music over time that sums up their legacy succinctly.

Scorpions
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Queensryche
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About The Author

Hailing from Boston and now residing in the Metro Detroit area, Mick has spent several years photographing concerts and interviewing musicians in the music industry. After spending a few years shooting and writing for MOTORCITYBLOG.net, he founded and started the National Rock Review in the fall of 2013. Recruiting staffers from around the world, he has led the National Rock Review team in to a respected and established publication in the online music news/press industry in a short period of time.

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