CULTURE

Concert Review: Seventy-Year-Old Scorpions Still Sting

SANTIAGO — Last night (Oct. 7), the Scorpions played in Santiago as part of the tail-end of their latest world tour. The set was tight and offered a mix from the last five decades, but it was the ’80s that reigned supreme. The next stops are Bogotá and Quito and then it’s back to Europe to close out the tour, with talk of a new album in 2020.

Explorers have long searched for the elixir of life, slogging through swamps looking for fountains of youth, weaving through claustrophobic back alleys to sip exotic teas, or trudging off to forgotten farms to choke down raw radishes; but until someone finally peeks behind the creation curtain, unlocks the genetics, and flips a switch in the cells, scientists might do well to study the pantheon of septuagenarian rockers, who continue to tour like there’s no tomorrow and who seem to have found some kind of elixir in the repetitive mass groove of thousands of adoring fans.

Exhibit A is the ageless performance some of rock’s “senior citizens” delivered in Chile last night at Santiago’s Movistar Arena. German rock band the Scorpions, with not a member among them under 50 (Rudolph Schenker and Klaus Meine are both 71; Mattias Jabs is 63; and Paweł Mąciwoda and Mikkey Dee are the youngsters at 52 at 55, respectively), cut through a 15-song set with vibrant precision.

The Scorpions: “One of the Hardest-Working Live Bands”

The audience expected no less. The Scorpions, formed in 1965 in Hanover, Germany,  by Schenker, are said to be “one of the hardest-working live bands” on the world tour circuit, “consistently conquering new, uncharted markets,” as reported by Louder.

The bands’ current world tour (Crazy World Tour), for example, started over two years ago in June 2017, and this following a string of other tours that reach back to the early 1970s. In fact, based on the bands’ own website, for the 47-year period 1972-2019, it’s easier to list the four years they were not on tour: 1981, 1987, 1992, and 1995.

Also read:

Roger Waters Concert Review: “Don’t be afraid to care”

Predictable but Powerful Execution in Santiago

In Santiago, the Scorpions did not stray from their South American tour leg set list, so the audience’s pleasure was primarily in the execution, not in the unexpected. The band started with “Going out with a Bang” from Return to Forever (2015), and then immediately jumped into “Make it Real” and “The Zoo,” from Animal Magnetism (1980), and “Coast to Coast” from Lovedrive (1979).

Next up, was a mid-’70s medley, “Top of the Bill/Steamrock Fever/Speedy’s Coming/Catch Your Train.”

Things then coasted a bit through “We Built This House” from Return to Forever, “Delicate Dance” from MTV Unplugged in Athens (2013), and three from Crazy World (1990): “Send Me an Angel,” Wind of Change,” and “Tease Me Please Me.”

An elevated drum solo followed, literally and figuratively, as Dee and his set were hoisted above the stage and levitated during the thunderous workout.

The Scorpions then sprinted for the finish line with a riotous “Blackout” from the album by the same name (1982) and “Big City Nights” from Love at First Sting (1984); and then they wrapped things up with the encore set from the same album, “Still Loving You” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” with Meine’s vocals strong and steady to the end.

The sound engineers deserve special mention. They delivered crisp, powerful sound and somehow kept the guitar heavy artillery from decimating Meine’s vocals.

Don’t Forget the Snake

The opening by Whitesnake also deserves special mention. The band, founded in England in the late ’70s by Deep Purple’s former lead singer, David Coverdale, paced itself through the first few songs but then unleashed “Guitar Duel” and all that followed, including “Shut Up & Kiss Me,” and fan favorites “Is This Love and “Here I Go Again,” with veteran drummer Tommy Aldridge at times looking like an even wilder Animal, the drummer from The Muppet Show. The bands’, and especially Cloverdale’s, honest enthusiasm was infectious and created the perfect launchpad for their headliners.

Where and What Next?

Next up is Bogotá, Colombia on Oct. 10; then Quito, Ecuador on Oct. 12; and then it’s back to Europe to the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, and Slovakia to finish out the tour in November.

Earlier this year, as reported by Blabbermouth.net, Meine was talking about the possibility of a new album next year, and Schenker indicated that a heavy hitter had already been tapped to produce the band’s next LP.

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