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19/04/2018 : SCORPIONS - Live at Vorst Nationaal - Belgium - 04.04.2018

SCORPIONS

Live at Vorst Nationaal - Belgium - 04.04.2018

Concert
GlamrockHard RockHeavy Metal 19/04/2018, Kris TIECK

Scorpions And Mikkey Dee Let The Beast Loose

The Scorpions visited Belgium again for their current rock hall tour after Antwerp last saw them in 2015 on the occasion of their 50th birthday. That year and also in 2017 one had the opportunity to see and hear them at the open air Metal Meeting of Graspop Dessel. This time around their management picked the Forest National venue in Brussels, also a stop in 1990 for the original ‘Crazy World Tour’.

Now the Germans were supported by Dutch guitar player Ad Vandenberg and his Moonkings. Vandenberg used to be the guitarist of the band that carried his surname and also of Whitesnake. Thus not a regular passer-by. Again he’s still playing oldskool rock and heavy metal which is sometimes reminiscent of Aerosmith. They succeeded in animating the public for a while during their gig and no doubt they will do the same this summer at Graspop but Scorpions were the ones we were waiting for… After their return from retirement they’re back on the road with the previously mentioned ‘Crazy World Tour’, recalling the record released in 1990. The child needs a name but this is mainly a "best of" tour which we can not imagine evokes much resistance in music fan circles. New in the band since May 2016 is drummer Mikkey Dee who after the passing of his boss Lemmy was ‘on the market’. In a band which frequented Monsters Of Rock more than enough to be one itself, a drum beast like Mikkey is in the right place but the real beastly times, the golden years of heavy metal, have already been gone for a while now. Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine know all too well that tits were not unwillingly flashed in those days. It seems fairly probable that both men regret their heydays in the 80s considering all recent evolutions. But tits or not… the musical tandem these Germans form – about half a century old – could never be separated.

In the van to Belgium

Schenker always had more of a wish to be a good composer than to be the fastest guitar player in the world but in the end he scored on both fronts. Meine always searched and found the melody in the guitar parts of his partner in crime. The world already knew for some time that he has a patent on effortless and efficient melodies but few singers in rock music also know how to sing so perfectly in the high regions of the voice. After all Klaus is a tenor! Gradually the monster of heavy metal evolved into a rock band that is publicly known for its ballads but they only brought out a song like Still Loving You when they felt ready for it, playing it for years anonymously at rehearsals. It just shows what changes they went through, their sense of perfection and how popular they became because – although perceived by some as cheesy – writing and playing a good ballad still is an art according to us. Yet The Scorpions are more and they proved that in a homegame which, surprisingly, did not sell out the indoor arena beforehand.

Well okay, Going Out With A Bang from the last album immediately proved this band clearly still stands its ground. The song should be renamed Coming Up With A Bang from now on. I can’t confirm if Meine's story is true that their first gigs abroad went in the direction of Belgium in a little van. That they’d one day make it ‘all the way’ (to Brussels) is indisputable. With eighteen records under their belt you’d think for most bands the choice of songs to play on a best of-tour is difficult. Not so for The Scorpions because they just have some that simply can’t go missing. Among them the melodious The Zoo which brought us the first climax, followed by Coast To Coast, an ingenious instrumental by Rudolf Schenker, both songs dating from the end of the seventies. Fans know that Schenker is also a show animal with his guitar on the short catwalk but it should be obvious that without any fun you wouldn’t do this for half a century. On the other hand, speaking for Meine, Klaus knew that too much pleasure could damage the vocal chords but luckily he cared for them enough to keep them intact, notably after some delicate operations and moments, even as recently as October. After the hardrock medley of 70s' songs the party really began with the rocker We Built This House, from the last album as well. One of the absolute musical delights of the evening was the next song Delicate Dance, an instrumental that only came out in 2013. Signed: Matthias Jabs, the second guitarist who also isn’t shy of showy moments. The acoustic medley: within it the cheesy and feebly sung Eye Of The Storm as well as the singalong Send Me An Angel formed the build up to that other singalong Wind Of Change, who doesn’t know the song? After that a second party moment in the stands and on the ground broke loose with Tease Me Please Me. Maybe the most spectacular about bassplayer Pawel Maciwoda are his band shirts, this time among others the radio waves of Joy Division, but he keeps the music well together.

Lemmy has not been forgotten

Another new aspect in the show is a tribute to Lemmy by means of the firm Overkill, known from Motörhead. Not astonishing with the power drummer of the rock icon in the ranks. And true… Mikkey Dee is not weakening a band that has always kept its level all through its musical career. It wasn’t a surprise, it used to be called the Kottak Attack, but Mikkey’s drumsolo’s were rather impressive. As was the sight, he was a couple of metres up on his improvised drum stage, with the covers of all Scorpions records projected behind him. Blackout yielded another climax. It’s a strong song in itself, but the exhaust pipe on Rudolfs guitar just made it smoke and roar even more. Greenpeace did not make it but luckily the cooling tower of Drogenbos was not far. But the moment for most of the audience lay undoubtedly with first encore Still Loving You, incredible how popular that song still is. Brussels still loves Scorpions was the only thing we could think of at that moment. And they finished it off skillfully with Rock You Like A Hurricane, a real rock smasher! I wouldn’t call the Germans a nostalgia act but the last half-hour at least brought back the eighties for a while. “What can I say?” singer Meine asked himself quite rightly. The man’s got a point: the history, the music and his singing just say enough. After almost two hours of solid rock’n roll, hits, funny and beastly rock clichés the gig was over. A "best of" rock show with a fixed concept that’s the way we like to describe it but nevertheless first class. And where do we go from here? With the new drummer Scorpions can go further for a while. The voice of Klaus Meine, though a little bit more fragile, still holds on. So for now the world can keep enjoying the pure music talent of this band in a live setting and that’s a golden opportunity!

Setlist: Going Out With A Bang/ Make It Real/ Is There Anybody There?/ The Zoo/ Coast To Coast/70's Medley: Top of the Bill - Steamrock Fever- Speedy's Coming- Catch Your Train/ We Built This House/ Delicate Dance/Acoustic Medley: Follow Your Heart- Eye of the Storm- Send Me An Angel/ Wind Of Change/ Tease Me Please Me/ Overkill/Blackout/Big City Nights

Encore 1: Still Loving You

Encore 2: Rock You Like A Hurricane

Kris TIECK
19/04/2018


19/04/2018 : SCORPIONS - Live at Vorst Nationaal - Belgium - 04.04.2018 19/04/2018 : SCORPIONS - Live at Vorst Nationaal - Belgium - 04.04.2018 19/04/2018 : SCORPIONS - Live at Vorst Nationaal - Belgium - 04.04.2018 19/04/2018 : SCORPIONS - Live at Vorst Nationaal - Belgium - 04.04.2018

 

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