Comerica Theatre buzzed with anticipation Friday night awaiting the arrival of German hard rock legends Scorpions. The Phoenix venue was filled to capacity, as 5,500 screaming fans quickly took to their seats. The band traveled to Tucson on Sunday, where they performed at Casino Del Sol.
The two bands on the bill did not disappoint. Sacramento's Tesla, an established band in itself formed in 1984, has already sold its fair share of 14 million records. They opened the performance as the crowd slowly began to file into their seats at the start of the show. Tesla put on an impressive opening performance with much of its original lineup still intact. This is with the exception of second guitarist Dave Rude who seemed to fill the position flawlessly. They came out on a roll with "Comin' Atcha Live" followed by crowd favorites "Edison's Medicine", "Signs", and "Love Song", spread throughout the performance. The band made the most of their abbreviated eight song set list as they finished with "Little Suzi."
Tesla did an excellent job of setting the tone for the show, but it was Scorpions performance that put it over the top. The two band lineup allowed for a lengthier, and better quality performance from both acts, and this was made manifest in the exhilarating performance that proceeded the opening act. Rejuvenated and energized, Scorpions took the stage with a mesmerizing display of big screens and strobe lighting effects. Opening with "Sting in the tail", the Scorps saved their more popular songs for last (as expected). Klaus Meine's iconic voice was in top form and sounded youthful and spry showing that the man can still do what he does, even well into old age. Meine (now 64), has the vocal prowess unlike any other man his age that I have ever seen. The other original member, Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitarist and founding member of the Scorpions) brought an energy to the stage that was unmatched throughout the evening's performance, as he quickly darted back and forth around the stage frivolously. But it was Matthias Jabs who stepped up and lifted the Scorpion's performance to that new level. A respectable guitar player for someone who's not Micheal Schenker, the man's fingers glided up and down the neck of his guitar with such precision, it would bring any musician to tears.
Between the piercing methodical solos from Jabs, and the energy from Schenker and drummer James Kottak, the band brought the crowd to its knees Friday evening under the bright lights of the Comerica Theatre. "The Zoo", "Rhythm of Love", and "Wind of Change", were all played throughout the set with respectable guitar and drum solos thrown in before and after "Blackout." They closed the set with "Big City Nights" before returning for the encore. "Wind of Change" was the song that really stood out, as you could feel the crowd together in unison with lighters lifted to the sky. The energy for that song was unmistakable, and it fully embraced the concert experience for the listener on the original set. The climax for the show was reserved for the encore however, as Meine and company returned to hammer out "Still Loving You" and "Rock You Like a Hurricane" further adding to an already spectacular concert experience. This is an iconic performance that will be an excellent way to end the career of such a legendary band. The Scorpions have announced that this will be their final tour, and that they will be throwing in the towel 40 years since their first album release, and nearly 50 years after their formation in 1965.