Irving,Texas (September 9,2018)-Who ever said “rock is dead” has obviously been hiding “beneath a rock” because on Sunday night the Scorpions, with special guest Queensrÿche, performed before a full house at the Toyota Music Factory amphitheater. The entire mass of fans stood anxiously awaiting to see the two great rock bands from an era that changed the face of a genre. Queensrÿche, who essentially helped pioneer the progressive metal movement, burst onto the stage with Best I Can, their first single off of their multi-platinum album Empire. The entire set, albeit one song from their latest album Condition Human, was filled with all the classics off their albums released in the 80’s. That alone had every Queensrÿche fan in the house singing back at frontman Todd La Tore throughout the night. If there was anyone in the audience that may have doubted the vocal abilities of Todd La Torre, who replaced original vocalist Geoff Tate in 2012, that doubt was lifted during their performance of Queen of the Reich. La Torre’s vocals fit in perfectly to the iconic sound of Queensrÿche that all fans have yearned to hear again. Not only does La Torre help contribute to their classic sound, but he also brings a certain grit and attitude that the younger fans can relate to in todays style of rock music. Although only two founding members, bassist Eddie Jackson and guitarist Michael Wilton, still remain with the band, drummer Casey Grillo and guitarist Mike Stone perform with great energy that truly brought the audience to its feet. Though the band has a vast array of songs to choose from in their music catalog,they finished up their blistering show with an epic performance of Eyes of A Stranger, a perfect precursor to the upcoming Scorpions performance.
I hadn’t seen the Scorpions perform live since the 80’s so I was very curious to see how they would perform and sound. I’ve found that most rock vocalists that derived from that era have a difficult time singing the songs in the same key that fans are accustomed to. This year the Scorpions and lead vocalist Klaus Meine, are celebrating 50 years as a band; so would it even be possible to perform at a level that doesn’t disappoint the purists? As the lights went dim the curtain dropped, a short film was projected on a large screen behind the drum riser that spanned the width of the stage. The computer generated movie of the bands helicopter traveling through a city gave me the feeling of being a part of a video game and increased my level of anxiousness. The helicopter maneuvered over the stage and hovered so members of the band could easily repel and begin their set with Going Out with a Bang, off of their latest album, Return to Forever. Although the song choice was not what most were expecting, it was definitely appropriate considering that this tour could possibly be their last, so why not start off with a bang! If the start of the performance was a reflection of what to expect throughout the show, then I was already floored. Klaus Meine may not have stepped out on stage as he did in the past with this trademark shuffle, but he still caught your attention with his resonating voice. Though he may “only” be 70, Meines’ voice carried as if he were still in his prime. The energy of the Scorpions was evident from the start and can be attributed to the energetic drumming style of their most recent addition,Mikkey Dee, who joined the band in 2016. His background from the hard rock and metal scene gave guitarist and founding member, Rudy Schenker along with guitarist Matthias Jabs and bassist Pawel Maciwoda, a jolt of energy which transcended into the crowd. A band with a rich musical history and epic hits such as No One Like You, Blackout, Wind of Change and Tease Me Please Me, it would be hard for them to produce a disappointing set list. In fact, their life long fans in the house were greeted with a surprise when the Scorpions reached way back in their archive and played a medley of songs from the 70’s era which included Top of the Bill/Steamrock Fever/Speedy’s Coming/Catch Your Train. It was clearly noted that the nostalgic essence of the songs brought out the character of Klaus Meine as he shuffled his way around the stage as he had in the past.
One of the many highlights of the night occurred when the band performed Overkill, a tribute to friend and metalhead,the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead. The power of Mikkey Dee on drums fueled the band to play an intense version of the song Scorpions style; which then led to an epic drum solo that had Dee and his drums hovering 30 feet above the stage floor. As Dee returned back from high above the stage the band went back to the hits that helped catapult them to superstar status by finishing off their set with Blackout, Big City Nights, No One Like You and Rock You Like a Hurricane.
The performance by both bands was truly epic. After years of success, both the Scorpions and Queensrÿche continue to play to “sold-out” venues night after night while pundits continue to proclaim “rock is dead”. Based on what we witnessed tonight,rock and roll is still alive and doing fine!