TVD Live Shots: Scorpions with Queensryche at Five Point Amphitheatre, 9/2

I can vividly remember rocking out to the Scorpions as a 12-year-old kid in the back of the family station wagon courtesy of KCAL FM in my hometown of San Bernardino, CA. The blistering guitars of Matthias Jabs and Rudolph Schenker made drives to and from school bearable and helped create the metal monster that I am today. Fast-forward 35+ years and the Scorpions still transport me back to that childlike state—one that I am sure most fans were also in as the Scorpions took the stage in front of a sold-out Five Point Amphitheatre. This show was going to be special.

Opening the show on Sunday night was none-other than progressive rock superstars Queensryche. Fronted by Todd La Torre, the band quickly ignited a powder keg in Irvine with “Best I Can” off 1990’s triple-platinum album, Empire. Guitarists Michael Wilton and Mike Stone along with bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Casey Grillo slayed their 9-song set and kept fans out of their seats with classics such as “Silent Lucidity,” “Jet City Woman,” and “Eyes of a Stranger.” The best song of the night was a toss-up between two Rage for Order standards, “The Whisper” and “Screaming in Digital.” La Torre’s vocals were simply incredible and brought both songs to life in a way that few vocalists can.

After a brief intermission to gather what senses had I had left, the Scorpions finally took the stage. As this could be their final tour (yes, we have heard that before), it was fitting for them to start off the show with “Going Out with a Bang.” Klaus Meine’s voice sounded spectacular (for a guy who just turned 70 in May) and showed no signs of aging as he manhandled a 16-song set that took fans on a journey across the Scorpions 50+ year history. Matthias Jabs and Rudolph Schenker killed on guitar and proved once again why they may be the best guitar tandem in rock and roll history. Add the killer bass chops from Pawel Maciwoda and Mikkey Dee’s ridiculous drumming, and you have all the ingredients for a “bucket list” show for the ages.

What was incredible about this show versus others that I have seen over the past year is the incredible staying power the Scorpions have. Who would have thought that the band I rocked out to in the back in the family station wagon would still be performing at optimal levels after three decades on the road? Classics like “The Zoo,” “No One Like You,” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane” sounded phenomenal and placed a huge exclamation point on an incredible night under the stars.

The Scorpions left no doubt in that they are still going strong—and show no obvious signs of slowing down any time soon. And if we are lucky, maybe we’ll get another studio album and a third farewell tour soon. A boy can always wish!



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