Scorpions

Concert Review: Scorpions, Concord Pavilion, Concord, CA, 08-01-10 (Sunday)      
 
            On Sunday, August 1, 2010 the Scorpions played Concord’s 12,500?seat capacity Concord Pavilion (CP) that was three?fourths full (approximations presumed throughout).  The Scorpions played a 16?song, 95-minute set from 8:35 to 10:10.

            1. Sting in the Tail (Sting in the Tail, 2010).  Before Sting in the Tail James Kottak’s (“JK,” drummer) drum set positioned on a 48?inch high riser covered with two metal grills that met at a 90 degree angle pointed at the crowd center stage elevated 30 feet, revealing a base covered with silver horizontal blinds.  [JK’s drum set rose so high I nearly got a nose bleed, and JK likely donned an oxygen mask.]  Flanked on each side of JK’s drum set were three metal steps and, further out, two ascending metal grill platforms, 30 and 80 inches high.  Four amplifiers were beneath each of the four platforms.

 

            Sting in the Tail began with Rudolf Schenker’s (“RS,” guitarist) recurring high guitar note with flanger effect he played on his half black and half white Dommenget flying V guitar that, after two bars, was augmented by Matthias Jabs’s (“MJ,” guitarist) up tempo guitar riffs and JK’s snare drums.  JK’s drum riser slowly descended to the point where it was 15 feet above stage.  Klaus Meine (“KM,” vocalist) then sang the first two verses during which RS and MJ continued to play the up tempo guitar riffs reminiscent of Angus Young’s (AC/DC guitarist) riffing on early AC/DC records.  RS and MJ played mid tempo chugging guitar riffs during the five?second musical interlude between the two verses.  KM then twice sang the chorus, “Hail, hail a sting in the tail” prompting audience participation followed by MJ’s 10?second guitar solo he played on his natural wood Dommenget explorer EX Corinna guitar.  MJ wore black sneakers, black leather slacks with two vertical red stripes on the outer sides, semi long?sleeve button?down black cotton shirt with studs and two thin chains on the right shoulder, large silver cross on a black rope necklace, and black cotton baseball cap.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and first chorus when he sang the third verse and second chorus, the latter which he repeated six times.  I admire the Scorpions for starting the show with a new song, which they counter?balanced by shifting straight to a 30 year?old song.    

 

            2. Make It Real (Animal Magnetism, 1980) began with RS’s slow tempo guitar riffs he played that, after two bars, was augmented by MJ’s guitar run, JK’s drum beats, and Pawe? M?ciwoda’s (“PM,” bassist) up tempo bass lines.  RS wore black Converse sneakers, black leather slacks (with one chain extending from his belt loop to his back left pocket), black cotton vest with studded (mini, dull) lapels, black wrap?around sunglasses.  KM then sang the first verse during which RS and MJ played subtle, mid tempo chugging guitar riffs and PM continued to play up tempo bass lines.  KM then sang the first chorus augmented by RS’s slow tempo guitar riffs and MJ’s guitar run from the introduction.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  The tempo momentarily escalated to an up tempo pace for a 30?second jam session during which RS played frenetic guitar riffs, MJ a 15?second guitar solo, and JK his tom?toms and snare drums.  The tempo then resumed its initial pace and KM repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus, the difference being that MJ began the verse by playing a lingering, recurring high guitar note before playing chugging guitar riffs. 

            3. Bad Boys Running Wild (Love at First Sting, 1984) began with a 10?second cascade of MJ’s quick guitar notes after which RS and MJ played mid tempo guitar riffs augmented by PM’s bass lines and JK’s drum beats that they continued to play when KM sang the first verse.  At the end of the first verse the band stopped playing for one second after which RS and MJ resumed playing mid tempo guitar riffs (two bars) during the seven?second musical interlude preceding the second verse.  KM then sang the first chorus during which JK added cymbals and RS and MJ played slightly more up tempo guitar riffs, including a short series of palm muted guitar riffs right after KM sang the last line.  KM then sang the third verse and second chorus.  As KM sang the last line of the second chorus (i.e., “and you better get out of their way”) he extended and four times repeated the final word, the last time being augmented by JK’s tom?toms.  MJ then played a 20?second guitar solo on his black Dommenget explorer Corinna guitar after which KM sang the third chorus.  KM wore black Converse sneakers with velcro straps, off?black silk slacks with interwoven white spiral patterns on the outer sides, long?sleeve button?down black shirt with vertical satin stripes with the sleeves rolled up to his forearm and atop a short?sleeve button?down black shirt, fairly thin black tie (loosely?tied) with white line patterns set at a 45 degree angle, sleeveless black leather jacket, leather bracelet on his left wrist, and black sunglasses.

            4. The Zoo (Animal Magnetism, 1980) began with two bars of RS and MJ’s ominous guitar riffs followed by RS’s chugging, slow tempo guitar riffs on his gray Dommenget flying V guitar and MJ’s ominous guitar chord progression on his black Dommenget Corinna guitar augmented by PM and JK’s solid bass lines and snare drums.  KM then sang the first two verses during which RS and MJ continued to play the same guitar riffs and chord progression.  The first two verses were separated by a 20?second musical interlude during which RS and MJ continued to play the same guitar riffs and chord progression.  JK’s snare drums served as the cue for KM to twice sing the chorus during which the tempo escalated to a mid tempo pace.  RS and MJ then played a series of heavy guitar riffs for 10 seconds after which they resumed playing the guitar riffs and chord progression from the introduction. 

            The band then engaged in a 70?second jam during which RS played the chugging guitar riffs while MJ added vocal effects using a Digitech GNX4 Talker effect.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and chorus when he sang the third verse and twice repeated the second chorus.  The band engaged in a second jam near the end of the song during which RS and MJ used flanger guitar effect.  After the song concluded JK arose behind his drum set.  JK wore knee?length off?black denim slacks that were falling off his waist.  [Since JK was shirtless, his rotund belly was exposed raising doubt in my mind that we may be Siamese twins separated at birth.  A sumo wrestling match between us would have been a spectacle of cataclysmic proportion.]  JK played ddrum drums, double bass drums, Zildjian cymbals, and each drum head featured the “Kottak” logo with swords in place of “Ts” against a black background.

            5. Coast to Coast (Lovedrive, 1979) is an instrumental song that began with RS and MJ’s mid tempo guitar notes augmented by JK’s snare drums and PM’s groovy, heavy bass lines he played on his cream bass with standard Fender Stratocaster body shape and brown pearl?colored pick guard.  PM wore white loafers, black silk/polyester blend slacks, mocha?colored vest with cream?colored laces and Native American motifs on the shoulders and outer sides.  RS and MJ then began to play mid tempo, trudging guitar riffs.  70 seconds into the song RS momentarily played a series of guitar runs atop MJ’s guitar riffs, which he repeated at the 2:00 mark.  At the 2:15 mark RS and MJ stopped playing for 35 seconds permitting PM’s groovy bass lines and JK’s solid snare drums to come to the forefront.  RS then resumed playing the mid tempo, trudging guitar riffs on his gray Dommenget flying V guitar while MJ played a guitar solo on his on gray guitar with standard Fender Stratocaster body shape that extended to the end of the song.  KM joined RS and MJ by playing a black guitar with standard Fender Stratocaster body.  KM, RS, MJ, and PM all jammed standing next to one another center stage.  As KM, RS, MJ, and PM strummed the final chords JK left his drum set, came stage front next to KM, raised the devil horns, rubbed his hair like a lunatic, and returned to his drum set.  [KM stared at JK as if observing his Ritalin?deprived (psychostimulant drug that treats attention-deficit hyperactivity) son or insane asylum escapee missing his straight jacket.]  

            6. Loving You Sunday Morning (Lovedrive, 1979) began with two bars of RS and MJ’s melodic guitar notes followed by their mid tempo chugging guitar riffs and JK’s solid drum beat that they continued to play while KM sang the first verse.  KM, accompanied by JK, then sang the first chorus, “Loving you Sunday morning.  You were on my mind love everyday.  Loving you Sunday morning.  Your love makes me fly so far away.”  RS and MJ played drawn out guitar chord progressions they momentarily replaced with mid tempo chugging guitar riffs when KM sang the final word of even?numbered chorus lines (i.e., “everyday,” “away”).  Black and white images of the band’s live performance appeared on each of the three video screens that stretched to the ends of the large stage.  The images were mirrored on each video screen and each screen was comprised of a rectangular?shaped panel mounted at the rear of the stage with the center screen positioned behind JK’s drum set and each of the two adjoining screens positioned behind the dual metal platforms.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by MJ’s 35?second guitar solo during which RS played a mid tempo guitar chord progression.  KM then repeated the second verse (in partial form) and chorus.  The song concluded with JK’s drum fills.    

            7. The Best is Yet to Come (Sting in the Tail, 2010).  Before The Best is Yet to Come KM said, “Thank you.  Good to see you.  Good to be back in the Bay Area.  We would like to sing a new song for you.  This is The Best is Yet to Come.”  The Best is Yet to Come is a sentimental ballad that began with RS and MJ’s melodic guitar notes, the introductory ones reminiscent of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray’s (Iron Maiden guitarists) guitar work on Iron Maiden’s Somewhere in Time record (1986).  KM then sang the first verse and chorus that, until near the end, was solely accompanied by RS and MJ’s melodic guitar notes.  The second time KM sang the phrase, “And the best is yet to come” JK and PM added drum beats and bass lines while MJ played guitar chord progressions atop RS’s guitar notes.  Black on fluorescent green images of the band’s live performance appeared not only on each of the three video screens but also the metal grills of the four platforms flanking JK’s drum set.

            KM then sang the second verse during which RS and MJ played melodic guitar notes augmented by JK and PM’s drum beats and bass lines followed by the second chorus during which RS and MJ played guitar chord progressions.  KM then sang the bridge during which the song momentarily converted to a power ballad augmented by MJ’s fiery guitar runs he played on his gold standard Fender Stratocaster body shape guitar.  The song then resumed its initial slow tempo pace and KM sang the third verse and chorus.  At the end of the song the band encouraged audience participation while KM twice sang, “Take my hand, the best is yet to come” augmented by JK’s bass drums.  Interestingly, an unidentified guitarist who stood stage left assisted by playing melodic guitar notes throughout the entire song.  [If I had known the stage was a free?for­?all, I would have jumped on stage next to the mystery guitarist and played my kazoo.]  After the song concluded KM said, “Arizona (error, KM meant California) thank you.  [I hope 62 year?old KM’s error was a careless oversight and not attributed to Alzheimer’s disease (degenerative disease with progressive patterns of cognitive and functional impairments, including memory loss.]”  

            8. Winds of Change (Crazy World, 1990).  Before Winds of Change KM said, “Here we go.  This is Winds of Change.”  Winds of Change is a slow tempo, sentimental ballad that began with KM whistling the song’s catchy melody after which RS and MJ played melodic guitar notes.  RS played a black acoustic 12?string guitar mounted on a stand.  KM then sang the first two verses solely augmented by RS and MJ’s melodic guitar notes and separated by a 20?second musical interlude.  Black and white images of the band’s live performance interspersed with audience shots appeared on the center video screen while the two side screens showed scenes of the Berlin wall’s demolition that began on November 9, 1989.  JK and PM did not play their instruments during the first two verses.  KM then sang the first chorus during which JK and PM began playing simple drum beats and bass lines.  PM played a coffee-colored Gibson Thunderbird bass.  RS switched from the acoustic guitar to his half black and half white Dommenget flying V guitar.  KM then sang the third verse, second chorus, and fourth verse at the start of which the song converted to a power ballad.  RS then played a 25?second guitar solo followed by the third and final chorus.  The song softly concluded as it began, with KM whistling the melody.

            9. Holiday (Lovedrive, 1979).  Before Holiday KM said, “Thank you.  I guess this is the next one for you to sing.  This is Holiday.  Are you ready?!”  Holiday is a slow tempo, sentimental ballad that began with RS and MJ’s melodic acoustic guitar notes they continued to play as KM sang the first two verses in an emotional tone, including the 10?second musical interlude between the first two verses.  RS played a natural wood Dommenget flying V Abalony acoustic guitar and MJ a natural spruce wood top Dommenget explorer acoustic guitar.  JK and PM did not play their instruments during the first two verses.  RS and MJ went off stage and returned with electric guitars.  [RS and MJ walked on stage like warriors armed with battle axes intent on wreaking havoc on the audience’s auditory sense.]  KM then sang the third and final verse at which point the song converted to a mid tempo power ballad for the remaining 150 seconds accompanied by RS and MJ’s guitar riffs, PM’s bass lines, and JK’s snare drums.  MJ played a guitar solo during the third verse atop RS’s guitar chord progression.  After the song concluded JK put on a muscle shirt with the Superman logo.  Holiday and two other songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction with Holiday receiving the strongest reaction.

            10. Raised on Rock (Sting in the Tail, 2010).  Before Raised on Rock KM said, “I don’t know about you but I was Raised on Rock.”  Raised on Rock began with RS and MJ’s thin?sounding guitar riff and JK’s basic drum beat.  KM then sang the first verse, “I was born in a hurricane.  Nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Ran before I walked.  Reaching for the top.  Out of control just like a runaway train.”  The bravado lyrics did not mesh with the song’s pedestrian, mid tempo pace.  [It was akin to a dude with a thimble?sized penis stuffing an eggplant in his trousers to appear more manly.]  KM then sang the first chorus during which RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction while JK took his shirt off, pounded his bass drums, and clapped his hands over his head, prompting the audience to sing along.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus during which RS played guitar riffs incorporating Pete Townshend’s (The Who guitarist) signature windmill move.

            Black and white images of the band’s live performance appeared on the center video screen while the two side screens showed vintage images of the band’s past live performances.  Multi?color, marquee?like images shined on the metal grills of the four platforms that flanked JK’s drum set.  KM then sang the pre?chorus during which RS played mid tempo guitar riffs on his half black and half white Dommenget flying V guitar and MJ played melodic guitar notes on his white Dommenget explorer guitar with four black stripes.  JK played his tom?toms while RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction during the 15?second musical interlude between the pre?chorus and third chorus.  KM then sang the third and final chorus during which KM, RS, MJ, and PM stood at the front of stage right and engaged in a jam session that included a 25?second MJ guitar solo and KM playing a tambourine.

            11. Tease Me Please Me (Crazy World, 1990) began with four bars of RS and MJ’s brooding, slow tempo guitar riffs reminiscent of Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing’s (Judas Priest guitarists) riffing on Judas Priest’s Defenders of the Faith record (1984).  JK’s heavy snare and bass drums then escalated the song to a mid tempo pace and RS and MJ began playing recurring, groovy guitar riffs that they continued to play when KM sang the first verse.  KM then sang the first pre?chorus during which RS and MJ played chugging, mid tempo guitar riffs.  RS and MJ then switched to playing pedestrian guitar chord progressions when KM began to sing the first chorus in an overly pop?tinged tone at odds with the verse, “Tease me please me. … no one needs to know.  Tease me please me … before I have to go.”

            During the 15?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse RS resumed playing the recurring, groovy guitar riffs from the introduction on his red Dommenget flying V Ferrari guitar, MJ played a catchy guitar run, and PM played groovy up tempo bass lines.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse, pre?chorus, and chorus when he sang the second verse, pre?chorus, and chorus after which MJ played a 15?second guitar solo on his black Dommenget explorer guitar.  KM then repeated the pre?chorus and chorus.  Black on red images of the band’s live performance appeared on each of the three video screens while images of woofers that pulsed in beat with JK’s bass drums appeared on the metal grills of the platforms.

            12. Dynamite (Blackout, 1982) began with RS and MJ’s chugging, up tempo guitar riffs and JK’s tom?toms.  During the fifth through eighth bars of RS’s guitar riffs MJ played searing guitar runs on his white Dommenget explorer guitar with four black stripes.  KM then sang the first verse mainly accompanied by JK’s loud snare drums and RS and MJ’s twice repeated two?chord progression.  KM then sang the first chorus while RS, MJ, and PM played the up tempo riffs from the introduction.  PM stood on the lower platform stage right and played a natural wood bass with standard Fender Stratocaster body shape and brown pearl?colored pick guard.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus after which MJ played a 40?second guitar solo atop RS’s shuffling guitar riffs. The band then jammed for 20 seconds during which RS and MJ played the chugging, up tempo guitar riffs from the introduction.  KM then sang the third verse and chorus.  Images of fireworks appeared on the two side video screens.

            -Kottak Attack (JK drum solo).  JK played an extended nine-minute drum solo during which he successfully maintained the audience’s attention because the two side video screens showed a short film of JM acting out various scenes in which the theme tied in with the Fly to the Rainbow, Love at First Sting, Lovedrive, Crazy World, Animal Magnetism, and Blackout album covers.  For example, one scene showed JK in a gas station using a tattoo gun to tattoo a scorpion on a female’s thigh similar to the Love at First Sting record cover while another scene showed him using a key similar to the one on the Crazy World record cover to open up a free?standing door situated in the middle of a desert.  JK’s drum riser elevated twice, rising a total of 30 feet.  JK said, “Oh my god.  I wish you could see what it looks like from up here!  It is great to be back in San Francisco, California.  Three words, you … kick … ass!  Let’s do it!”  JK then continued with thundering drumming on his bass and tom?toms.  JK then arose, stood with his legs spread apart on his two bass drums, turned his back to the crowd and revealed the slogan on the back of his muscle shirt, “Rock & Roll Forever.”  JK took his shirt off and revealed the same message tattooed across his entire back.

            13. Blackout (Blackout, 1982) is a classic rocker that began with RS and MJ’s up tempo, chugging guitar riffs augmented by JK’s snare drums and PM’s bass lines that they continued to play when KM sang the first and second verses.  PM wore a black cowboy hat while RS donned a prosthetic face mask that covered his head (mouth excluded) modeled after the Gottfried Helnwein (Austrian-Irish painter) self?portrait on the Blackout record cover.  RS played an orange and yellow swirl Dommenget flying V guitar.  KM, who had switched to a sleeveless black denim Levi’s jacket with studded shoulders, then sang the first chorus during which RS and MJ played arpeggio guitar notes.  RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction during the 15?second musical interlude between the first chorus and third verse.  KM then sang the third verse and second chorus followed by MJ’s 20?second guitar solo and the third chorus.  Blackout, Holiday, and another song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

            -Six String Sting (MJ guitar solo).  MJ played a three-minute guitar solo on his black Dommenget explorer guitar.  Black and white images of the band’s past live performances appeared on the three video screens.  MJ ended his solo with the catchy guitar riff from the introduction of Big City Nights, serving as the cue for his band mates to come on stage.

            14. Big City Nights (Love at First Sting, 1984) began with RS and MJ’s catchy, up tempo guitar riffs augmented during the second bar by PM’s punchy bass lines and JK’s solid snare drums.  MJ played a fiery series of guitar notes during the third and fourth bars of RS’s guitar riffs.  KM then sang the first verse in a melodic tone augmented by PM’s prominent, upbeat bass lines and RS and MJ’s guitar chord progressions.  PM had switched to a plain cotton black vest.  KM then sang the first chorus during which RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction while standing at the front edge of stage right.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  KM, RS, MJ, and PM stood at the front edge of stage left during the second verse.

            KM then sang the first pre?chorus during which the tempo momentarily slowed to a mid tempo pace and then resumed an up tempo pace at which point RS, who was wearing a black cowboy hat with skull and crossbones emblem as the crown centerpiece, played a 45?second guitar solo on his gray Dommenget flying V guitar.  KM then sang the third chorus during which JK played bass drums, RS stood in front of JK on his drum riser, and PM stood on the lower platform stage right.  Color images of a city street immersed in neon lights appeared on the video screens.  Near the song’s conclusion the word “Concord” scrolled atop the city street landscape in red letters while KM stood on the lower platform stage left, PM on the lower platform stage right, and RS center stage.  After the song concluded KM said, “Thank you California.  I love you all.”  The band left the stage at 9:58 and returned in two minutes to play two additional songs.

            15. No One Like You (Blackout, 1982).  Before No One Like You KM said, “California there is No One Like You.”  No One Like You is a powerful rocker that began with MJ’s searing guitar run he played atop two bars of RS’s heavy, mid tempo guitar riffs and JK’s drum beats.  [MJ’s guitar run was powerful enough to puncture a hole in my ear drum at high volume.  No matter how stoned or inebriated, MJ’s guitar run woke you’re a** up.  The auditory onslaught was tantamount to pouring sulfuric acid on an open wound.]  KM then sang the first verse during which the tempo momentarily reduced to a slow tempo pace and MJ played melodic guitar notes atop RS’s brooding, mid tempo guitar riffs.  KM then sang the first chorus during which the tempo resumed a mid tempo pace and RS and MJ played the heavy guitar riffs from the introduction.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by MJ’s 30?second guitar solo during which RS played guitar riffs positioned stage right and KM struck a cowbell using JK drum sticks that he individually tossed into the audience after a few hits.  KM then repeated the chorus.  Black on red images of the band’s live performance appeared on each of the two side video screens while the center screen showed a kaleidoscope image (i.e., optical instrument in which bits of glass held loosely at the end of a rotating tube are shown in continually changing symmetrical forms by reflection in two or more mirrors set at angles to each other).

 

            16. Rock You Like A Hurricane (Love at First Sting, 1984).  Before Rock You Like A Hurricane KM said, “Time to Rock You Like A Hurricane!”   Rock You Like A Hurricane is the band’s biggest commercial hit that began with RS and MJ’s instantaneously recognizable mid tempo guitar riff augmented by PM’s heavy bass lines and JK’s snare drums.  MJ played a fiery guitar run during the fifth through eighth bars of RS’s guitar riffs.  KM then sang the first and second verses after which the tempo slightly slowed down and RS and MJ played chugging guitar riffs while JK played a basic drum beat.  KM then sang the first chorus during which the song resumed its initial mid tempo pace and RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and first chorus when he sang the third and fourth verses and second chorus followed by MJ’s 30?second guitar solo during which RS played the guitar riffs from the introduction on his gold Dommenget flying V guitar.  KM then repeated the first verse, fourth verse, and chorus.  Black and white images of the band’s live performance stretched across all three video screens.  Rock You Like A Hurricane, Blackout, and Holiday received the strongest audience reaction.

 

            Venue: Concord Pavilion (“CP”) is an outdoor ampitheater built in 1975 and designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry and landscape architect Peter Walker.  Gehry also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California.  CP was built in response to the East Bay community’s desire to have a venue for the annual Concord Summer Festival.  CP is set in a natural bowl below Mt. Diablo.  CP was remodeled in 1996 to increase seating and make additional improvements.  CP has a 12,500?seat capacity comprised of three?tiered seated sections and perimeter lawn section.  For a period of time Concord Pavilion was called the Chronicle Pavilion, and it is currently called the Sleep Train Pavilion, both corporate entities that purchased naming rights.

            Opening Band: Cinderella

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian.  This article and all photos are protected by copyright.  Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins. 

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