Scorpions and Def Leppard obviously have a lot in common, but there was one noticeable difference between the two on the night of the 6th November at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. The clear difference was that while Def Leppard are a staple in the Australian concert landscape, this was the first time Scorpions had performed a national tour in the sunny land down under, with the exception of their one-off show at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre in 2016. They made that clear from the get-go, sharing a crowd-erupting story about how they, as a young, upstart band in the early 70’s pondered the possibility of having the privilege to work “all the way in Australia someday.”
On a consistent basis throughout their 13-song support set, frontman Klaus Meine ensured that we were consistently reminded that this tour is special to them, and based on the raw energy in their performance and the amount of fun it was clear they were having with us, we had no choice but to believe them wholeheartedly.
It was clear the Scorpions diehards didn’t care that the Entertainment Centre was only filled to half capacity for the first few songs, and as the band tore through Going Out With A Bang, Make It Real, The Zoo and Coast To Coast, so did a large portion of said audience, the rest seem to appreciate what they may have been missing out on for over 50 years.
Arguably the standout moment, the point that people began to really open their eyes to Scorpions, came when most of the Entertainment Centre had just taken their seats, and it also came in an unconventional way. Klaus again thanked us all, before, perhaps self-depreciatingly stating “This is a song from our newest album so you may not have heard it at all, but you can definitely sing along to it.”
And alas, We Built This House filled the arena, eyes widening and heads banging as people who had only ever heard of one or two Scorpions songs realized that they might need to listen to a lot more of them. A lyric video accompanied the song as lasers lost all control and choreography, and the third biggest applause of the set affirmed that ‘that new song was just as classic.’
The second biggest applause of the set came immediately after being blindsided by Send Me An Angel followed directly by Wind of Change. An epic three-minute drum and light solo transitioned into the closing few songs, and by the time the hour was up, we’d been so transfixed that we’d almost forgotten about the actual song that a lot of people were probably excited to see them play, which is why the place went absolutely nuts the moment the roaring opening riff of Rock You Like A Hurricane crashed against the four walls.
By the time Def Leppard took the stage, the place was packed almost entirely to capacity, as people young and old applauded the rare opportunity to hear the iconic Hysteria played live in full. And that’s exactly what they got. Woman, perennial singalong Rocket, (accompanied by big screen imagery of rockets taking off) Animal and the slow-jamming Love Bites were performed before the band spoke a single word, and a particularly surprising highlight of the night came around this point in time in the form of a short video tribute to Steve Clark, the original guitarist up until his untimely death in 1991, just after Hysteria skyrocketed the group into global fame.
As you’d probably expect, the place went nuts as Pour Some Sugar On Me, the third single and arguably the band’s most recognisable song was performed, while later, the spotlight was placed on Rick Allen, an ear to ear smile beaming on his face whenever the big screen focused on the one-armed drummer.
The last few songs on the album, while not necessarily smash hits in their own right, still appeased the audience, a large portion of whom most likely listened to the album from the start of side A to the end of side B with eager ears and fond memories throughout the years, and after Love and Affection the band left the stage with everyone knowing they’d be back for the encore.
But what kind of encore would you expect at a show dedicated to playing a full album? Exactly what you’re thinking; more of the band’s biggest hits spanning four other albums, including Let It Go from the ’81 record High ‘n’ Dry and Let’s Get Rocked from ‘92’s Adrenalize. As if to add that one last grand statement, finishing the night off was Rock of Ages and Photograph, both from the equally as captivating predecessor to Hysteria, ‘83’s Pyromania.
It’s safe to say that on a night dedicated to taking diehard Scorpions and Def Leppard fans back in time, they also bought a lot of the rest of us back with them.
Review Contributed by Sam Sciacca
Gallery by Tracie Tee