PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
An atmosphere of genuine excitement envelopes a Melbourne crowd, sheltered by The Palais walls from the winter-esque winds this a historic Spring evening. Excitement and eager anticipation brought about by the presence of Scorpions to play their first Australian Tour. What more august chamber to house such a propitious occasion, with some people present being of similar vintage and conversely, for others their first exposure to a live performance at all. And who more fitting than the legendary Scorpions to the acquaint young hearts and minds to the majesty of a genuinely astounding live performance, for that’s what was about to be received. A Teutonic rock triumph of epic proportions.
As explained to me by Matthias Jabs in a pre-visit interview, which can be found here, it is not their first visit to Australia, but their very first tour appearance. So no need for fillers, nor supports and no guiding of the lily. These are rock legends, and tonight accompanied by fellow legend and metal drumming royalty in Mikkey Dee. The eager audience keep bot on the spot as directed by the pre-show announcements, but as the Scorpions appeared stage front, too many had been waiting too long for this occasion and honored the Scorpions with a standing reception. No need for seats, our appreciation cannot be contained as Going Out With A Bang opens proceedings. To see the graphic of an Australian flag behind the band was a most satisfying sight indeed.
I am helpless to contain my excitement as such a staple of rock and metal performs live for their humble followers and all with the words of Lemmy reverberating in my mind, “The best drummer in the world…Mikkey Dee”. This is absolutely unforgettable. By the time The Zoo echoes forth, a further profound realisation presents to the fore, namely the quality of delivery. As many groups of vintage rely more on name than skill to draw in a crowd, here we are treated to a sensational spectacle of craft mastery from one and all. In fact, the stage graphics, the lighting, the sound and the performance from these wizards, and I thought my expectations could not possibly be exceeded. All so magnificently presented and oozing professional from every pore. As I look around the crowd and notice a distinct lack of moshing and hard rocking, I realise I am not the only one present in profound and bewildered awe. Mouth agape and stunned. An occasional return to consciousness for a little air guitar and then back an almost trance-like state of satisfied perplexity born of the superb Scorpions sensation coupled with the struggle to accept this as reality. Honestly, and only if for me, that’s how this performance felt.
Coast To Coast, Top Of the Bill this is truly an even matched only by the instrumental and vocal deliveries. I was ready to forgive Klaus any vocal capacity lost to time, but nothing. Not an ounce of his ability had been claimed by passing years. Simply incredibly superb. And following a Matthias guitar spectacular, we all assembled help Jahre celebrate the arrival of his 60th year with a crowd rendition of Happy Birthday led by Klaus.
Mikkey leaves his position aloft at the kit and descends to stage for some acoustic celebration of the bands more moving ballads, including none other than the decades of call for peace in Wind Of Change. But will the timely interlude completed and Mikkey mopped dry, we launch straight into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in superb style.
Just as I feel that I have calmed enough to actually absorb some of this amazing performance as being manifest in reality, rather than an imagined dreamscape, the band take my breath from my body yet again. A tribute to the late Motorhead legend Lemmy Kilmister. We have heard many tributes since the sad day that mortal rock world lost its king, but this time with his band mate Mikkey Dee at the kit made this very, very special indeed. Mikkey playing Overkill, backed by images of Lemmy cause me to refrain from an extended description lest my words bear evidence that there was more than a single tear in the eye. Just amazing and a brilliantly fitting ode from living legends to legend passed. But Mikkey launches into a solo spectacular of percussive magnificence. Accompanied by a brilliant lighting display, Mikkey wows us from aloft but seems to scarcely break a sweat despite his furious assault. Again, a profoundly thrilling display of a master at work. Additionally, it is the constant invitations and enticement from Mikkey for the crowd to get even more involved, that sets him apart as a true maestro of the live rock show. To watch Mikkey is a sensational treat all on its own, but tonight with Scorpions launches the performance into legendary status.
Quite honestly, if the show finished here at midpoint, I would not have walked away disappointed at all. The fact that the show continued on with subsequent displays of performance prowess, professionalism and timing to perfection, was additional thrill and felt like more than one could have possibly hoped for. I have no clue how many aspiring or current performers graced the crowd with their presence, but rest assured they received a master class in how to convene a rock ‘n’ roll show.
Blackout, No One Like You and Big City Nights built to a perfect show crescendo, but with Rock You Like A Hurricane absent, all present knew the show was not over. Following bows, resounding applause, front row gifts of picks and sticks and roars of appreciation, we are treated to the encore. Where a guitar toting intruder managed to find access to stage central during Still Loving You remains a security mystery but needless to say, the band kept performing into the magnificent climax. Indeed, they rocked us like a hurricane.
This historic show was a magnificent spectacle that managed to exceed my expectations and thrill me in every possible way. Rare is the performance that sends lightening like sensation through my veins has me wide awake for hours following, but this Scorpions show did exactly that. A true masterclass from seasoned legends one and all. An evening of Scorpions dedicated magnificence along with an unexpected opportunity to join with Mikkey, live in Australia to farewell Lemmy, and celebrate his legacy. All the Scorpions hits spanning decades of rock celebration and performed to perfection.
My only regret is that every music aficionado in Australia could not attend this monumental night and share in the sensation. But, I fear a multi-city tour would not have captured the same atmosphere and made this performance nearly as profoundly distinct and memorable as it was. But lets face it any Scorpions visit to Australia is always going to be historic and sensational. Decades of waiting, celebrating their music from afar, all now at an end. Please, please Rudolf, Klaus, Matthias Pawel and Mikkey, come back soon for a multi-city tour and let all witness some semblance of the brilliance we witness this day. Simply put, utterly amazing.
GUTEN TAG Mateeus ziner Casper aus Zeelba Teega medien, vie geht es dir?
Hello Rohan how are you ?
Good Good Vundabar. It’s a tremendous privilege to speak with you, thank you very much for your time.
Yeah and speaking of time, its time to come to Australia and finally our dream comes true, you know we have been waiting for years and been trying. It obviously took the right promoter to bring us over there to finally play. It’s only one show, but we still get to finally play in Melbourne in October.
Absolutely, you have sent us all into a frenzy with news of your visit in October it’s so incredibly exciting Dakeshun.
Please tell me we will hear Winds of Change and Rock You Like A Hurricane?
Yeah, we are coming to Australia to play more or less a show of our greatest hits. Unfortunately, it is only one show, but it was the only show we could squeeze into the tour we are doing in October. So we come from New Caledonia and go to Melbourne and we Rock You Like A Hurricane.
Indeed, Yes straight off to Singapore afterwards. But just one show makes this such a special and august occasion.
Well that was all that was discussed for this year but I think it will give the Australian fans a taste of what we are doing and hopefully we can play more shows next year.
Wonderful and we cannot thank you enough for including Melbourne on this round and congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the world tour mein got, when it is said aloud, 50 years and your part since 1978. How has the journey been? How do you sum up such an incredible career?
When I joined in 78 it was still very basic, and throughout the following years we reached some kind of superstar status all around the world pretty quickly especially with the albums Blackout and Love At First Sting with the songs like “Still Loving You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. We really broke through and it was really great. We have had our ups and downs of course like every other band. We have been maintaining travel for many decades now and we are still going very strong. The tour which started May last year has been successful everywhere in the world.
Wonderful and with all due respect to Karl-Heinz Vollmer, Ulrich Worobiec & Michael Schenker your own magnificence on Lovedrive really was arguably the defining factor launching Scorpions into stardom forever. Did it feel immediately right at the time, when you joined?
It was a big step for me when I joined even though the band was at a low level compared to today but it was a very good band and I was younger than the other band members at the time. So it took some time to be completely integrated. I think the time came in ’79 when we went to America and it was the first time for everybody, so it kind of levelled things out between us.
Most Certainly, and you had already played with Lady Fargo and Deadlock but those days it is literally a lifetime ago. It still astounds me that 140 guitarists auditioned for your role. What do you think it was that made you joining so right for the rest of the bands life.
I don’t know but there were some interesting times. I think they picked me as a guitar player not only because I can play their music well but also it has to be the chemistry with the band. This band is based on friendship. Just choosing between the best 5 guitarists in the world will never work. You need to have a great understanding of each other. And this is why we are still together after so many years, 40 years for me now.
Yes most certainly and you and Rudolph swap the lead and rhythm such as Rock n Roll Band, Lady Starlight, Animal Magnetism and the most noticeable would be Wind of Change. How does that decision come about to swap roles between you both?
Well, it’s a natural thing. Mostly I play the lead and would like to play the solo in certain songs but we have a very good understanding, so we don’t really need to talk much about that it’s just very natural. We have never been at the point of argument ever.
That’s incredible, of course, you are still producing such excellence, I am just as much a fan of “return to forever” as anything before what is it that keeps legends as yourselves driving ever forward playing and producing magnificent music.
For us it is very important not to rely on the big songs from the past, we will of course always play them because the fans enjoy them and they are fun to play on stage but for us it is very vital to write and produce and record new music because we are out on the road again and we need something new so that we are excited as well. You don’t want to start a new tour with old songs. We have to keep ourselves new and up to date.
And thankfully you do enjoy touring so much, I know that Scorpions live is certainly on my bucket list along with a visit it MJ guitars in Munich
HAHA that is something I started almost 10 years ago. It was like a hobby and I love guitars and it came out of nowhere. Someone offered the store because the previous owner wanted to retire and I thought well why not… I don’t see it too often but it is a beautiful store and when we finish the tour I will spend more time there.
I must ask you Matthias do you still have your trouble guitar? the black 1963 fender Strat?
Absolutely, I keep all the original guitars. The first explorer was in the hall of fame in Cleveland for a while, I got it back because we wanted to re-record an old song. And all the old big songs, I keep everything to do with them and they will never be for sale.
And back to the tour, you are bringing the magnificent Mikki Dee with you this is going to be genuinely unmissable experience. Mikki must be incredible to perform with?
He is a fantastic drummer and a very nice guy. When he joined us back in May he fit in right away, like from day one, that’s the sort of guy he is. It feels like we have known each other for an eternity even though we had only met once before. He plays fantastically and has a lot of energy that lifts up the show even more and even though Motorhead doesn’t exist anymore, it is still good for Motorhead fans.
Wonderful , I cannot help but be reminded of Lemmy’s immortal words that “Mikki is the greatest drummer in the world”
Yeah, he is an excellent, excellent drummer. It’s fantastic.
I realise you are on a tight schedule, however, will you have an opportunity to have a little look around Australia while you are here?
We have a day off before the show, so we will definitely take the opportunity to at least look around Melbourne. We have all been to Sydney for one day on a stopover and I had a guitar with me so I have played in Australia before… in my hotel room .
It was short but it was great. We have the best memories. So one day we will spend more time maybe next year.
Oh, fingers crossed and I know fans from every other state will be praying for that. We have plenty Becks for you here. Maybe we can start Octoberfest in Melbourne this year in your honour haha
Haha great… great haha
Is there anything, in particular, you are looking forward to about coming to Australia again.
Of course, we can’t wait to get the experience to play for our Australian fans. We have met Australian fans elsewhere in the world who have travelled to see us and they have told us Australia has been waiting for us and now finally it is happening I am excited it should be fantastic.
Extremely exciting we cannot wait to see you. Thank you very much for your time again Mathias and please travel safely.
SCORPIONS – 50th Anniversary World Tour
PALAIS THEATRE, MELBOURNE
TUESDAY OCTOBER 18
Tickets on sale NOW!!!!