Growing up, The Scorpions were a fairly big band, but they weren’t really among my favorites. They always seemed a little more on the pop metal side of things. their 80s output was decent, but it never really did a whole lot for me. That was until I hit college and one of my friends turned me onto their early 70s era albums.
70s era Scorpions were a psychedelic influenced, krautrock machine. The driving force of these early albums was a man named Uli Jon Roth. Roth was a worshiper at the altar of Hendrix and you can hear this influence all over the four studio albums on which Roth was lead guitarist.
Since it was much later in life that I was exposed to these albums (plus the fact that I was 7 or 8 when Roth left the band), I never got to see Roth play live and never got to hear some of these Scorpions classics live. Until this past Saturday, that is.
I have to say that this show was a bit bittersweet. Roth was amazing. At 62, his guitar playing is as fluid and cutting as they sound on the albums he played on nearly 40 years ago. It was worth the drive to San Antonio just to hear some of his solos. It’s always cool to see a master playing up close in an intimate setting.
The drawback on this show was really the lead singer he brought. God bless him, he was giving it his all, but his high pitch vocal style was just way over the top and just overwhelmed the songs. You have to understand this is basically karaoke at this point and people are really wanting to hear Klaus Meine sing these songs. Ideally, you would hope the singer would do his best to compliment the original. There were moments on the slower songs were the guy did an admirable attempt, but overall, there were just too many times when he went above and beyond with the high pitch wailings. It just made these songs sound a little too saccharine and sanitized for my tastes.
Here are some highlights:
In Trance (I apologize for focusing issues)
Sail of Charon (Once again, focusing issues)