Review: Scorpions at Toyota Center

Toyota Center

As long as you think Scorpions exist, it’s probably longer than that. Formed in 1965 by guitarist Rudolf Schenker as a psychedelic-tinged combo. Current vocalist Klaus Meine joined in 1970, and – after a brief breakup (and the departure of Schenker’s brother Michael to UFO) – the band regrouped in the mid-1970s, honing their signature sound and eventually soaring to the heights of hard rock kings up.

Although they may have been more notorious for the album covers in their early days Animal magnetism, love instinctand Maiden Killer (don’t google that last one at work) Band members still claim the record company was behind this, which seems disingenuous until you see them live. Because it’s precisely in a concert setting that the Scorpions’ cartoonish machismo and seriousness combine to create… whatever the German equivalent of spicy jambalaya is. Sauerkraut soup maybe.

Last night the Scorpions stop was in Houston rock believer Tour celebrating their 19th studio album and the band’s 57th anniversary as an ensemble. You know, it’s not often that you hang out with your grandpas. And that’s basically a Scorpions concert, assuming your grandfathers still tend to dress in black leather and throw guitar picks at their offspring.

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The latest album made up a good chunk of the band’s setlist, starting with opener “Gas in the Tank.” As expected, the crowd was ripped from their seats. The title cut would not appear until late in the set, but by then the band had expertly thrashed the Toyota Center crowd into submission.

Mine remarked, “It’s been a long time, great to be back” to Houston, which… look, I love his stubborn lack of English understanding as much as anyone, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking this isn’t generic was greeting from the septuagenarian singer.

Correct: Meine (and Schenker) are both 74, guitarist Matthias Jabs is just 66. In contrast, the current bassist Paweł Mąciwoda and drummer Mikkey Dee (ex-Motörhead and Helloween) are 55 years old and the babies of the group are 58 and 58 years old respectively.

So I’m happy to report that Meine continued to have a good voice throughout the show, particularly on the songs that require maximum wailing (“Peacemaker”, “Big City Nights” among others). Was he pacing a little slower than Schenker and Jabs? Maybe, but Schenker is a freak.

The biggest reactions have come for the band’s early ’80s tunes (“No One Like You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” were the encores), including perhaps the band’s most historically significant tune, “Wind of Change.” Acknowledging that the song’s initial optimism completely failed, Meine dedicated it to the people of Ukraine. Hey man, whatever helps.

But Scorpions need to scorp, and going from the desire for peace in Europe straight to the unfortunate pole dancing backdrops for Tease Me Please Me is pretty much on-brand. It also mirrors the inappropriate lady graphics seen in The Zoo.

In fact, however, this was a show for multiple audiences: classic rock devotees wanting to say a final farewell to their fellow Teutons, old rocker dudes and rock’s last devotees glasnost. Still, New Vision allowed newcomers Mąciwoda and Dee to show off their stuff while Schenke, Meine and Jabs took a breather before the final push.

But even for old guys, Scorpions delivered. One of my favorite parts of the show was how Meine held out the mic stand to the crowd to sing — not because he was out of breath or otherwise unwell (*cough* Vince Neil *cough*), but because “there’s no one like him Houston, Texas.” .”

Yes, it’s cheesy. Leave them alone, they are Germans.

What about the opener? THUNDERMOTHER (her name is automatically capitalized) brought the thunder, mothers. Equal parts Vixen and Joan Jett, they were fucking great.
Personal inclination:

The amount: Excited, but also secretly satisfied, the show ended before 10 a.m.

Overheard in the crowd: “Schenker is 74 years old! And he’s jacked!”

Random notebook dump: “Is that a Mercedes Flying V?”

petrol in the tank
make it real
The animal park
coast to coast
seventh sun
Bad boys running wild
delicate dance
send me an angel
A breath of fresh air
please tease me
rock believer
new vision
big city nights

No one like you
Rock like a hurricane

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