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Chevrolet Theater

Wallingford, CT



For starters, the SCORPIONS recently released an ambitious new concept album, “Humanity : Hour 1”. The brainchild of producer Desmond Child, the album is packed full of well-crafted hard rock fare. Sonically, there’s not a note out of place. The record sounds like a million bucks. But as a purist, my gripe lies with the exorbitant amount of outside songwriters. The most frequent reappearing contributors include Desmond, James Michael (Meatloaf, Nikki Sixx), Eric Bazilian (HOOTERS) and Marti Frederiksen (AEROSMITH). And just like KISS and AEROSMITH, I find that outsiders only help to dilute what it is that makes these special bands unique. There is some great choruses and catchy material here, but it just doesn’t quite feel like a true SCORPIONS album. Usually their classic structure is based around a great guitar riff. Here instead, the hooks are more contained within the vocal melodies. Not that that’s right or wrong, but any long time fan should be able to tell that they didn’t write this material on their own. At this stage of their career, I will chalk “Humanity: Hour 1” up to experimentation, with the hope that they revert back to the style of its stronger predecessor “Unbreakable.” Leave the songsmiths to those who can’t write.

And now onto the show! New opener “Hour 1” started the evening off with a bang. The “Humanity” material sounds heavier live, with the guitars more in the forefront. They truly come alive in this setting, and fit in well alongside concert favorites. Rudy and Matthias look and sound fantastic! After so long together, their flawless playing seems effortless. That’s what was always so great about these guys… they’re the perfect blend of musicianship and performance - constantly energetic and mugging for the cameras, without ever missing a note. Always spot-on, the two trade off riffs and compliment each other perfectly. Klaus Meine’s voice is as good as you remember. He’s truly a class act and consummate professional, a friendly and gracious front man and the perfect host for the evening.

Rudy Although nothing from the Uli Roth era was represented, much of the night’s set was to be culled from the early 80’s catalog. While a majority of their radio and concert samples were presented, we also got a nice taste of deeper album tracks such as “Make It Real” from “Animal Magnetism”, “Coast To Coast” from “Lovedrive”, “Dynamite” and “When The Smoke Is Going Down” off of “Backout”, and even “I’m Leaving You” from “Love At First Sting”. All were brought out to the delight of the fellow old-schoolers in attendance. A very nice mix all around, although I was surprised that “Winds Of Change” was given a rest.

The only lull in the set came during the drum solo. Since James is no virtuoso, he probably shouldn’t be doing a solo in the first place. On top of going on way too long, it digressed into some very tacky beer-swilling nonsense ala Bobby Blotzer circa 1985. It completely killed the energy in the room and took the band 15 minutes to rebound. Thankfully, the bombastic “Blackout” chauffeured the band back to the stage and helped resuscitate the fatigued show-goers.

It has been 20 years since my first SCORPIONS show, and they have yet to disappoint. Now that “Humanity: Hour 1” has been properly released in America, be sure to catch them when they tour extensively here in the new year.

Progressive hard rockers THREE opened the show. Their musical talent compensated for their lack of stage presence and disjointed image. Many notes were played.

All photos by Jennifer Bartram-Schmitt check them out!

Klaus Meine – Vocals
Rudy Schenker – Lead Guitar
Matthias Jabs – Guitar, Vocals
Powel Maciwoda – Bass
James Kottak – Drums

Hour 1
Bad Boys Running Wild
Love ‘Em Or Leave ‘Em
The Zoo
Deep And Dark
Coast To Coast
Send Me An Angel
Make It Real
I’m Leaving You
Tease Me Please Me
Bass / Drum solo
Big City Nights
Still Loving You
No One Like You
Rock You Like A Hurricane
When The Smoke Is Going Down

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