Six years ago the Scorpions announced their farewell to the world, however the end is still nowhere in sight with the Hannover based band who were formed by guitarist Rudolf Schenker way back in 1965, now celebrating their 50th anniversary, although the first studio album ‘Lonesome Crow’ was released back in 1972 just as heavy metal was laying down its earliest foundations.
Since then the Scorpions have became a global household brand, conquering every continent on the planet with their deadly sting of multi-million selling albums full of power ballads and the very best in textbook heavy metal.
For a population of just five and a half million it’s amazing to see how popular the Scorpions are in multi- ethnic Singapore, with 7,000 fans selling out the sixth floor Suntec International Convention Hall, situated on the top floor of a grand multi-storey shopping complex.
With an encyclopedia of tunes to chose from you could be forgiven for thinking that the Scorpions would stick to a greatest hits set at this stage in their long established career, but this show was by no means a nostalgia trip as the German band remain as relevant as ever and this night performed four songs from their most recent album ‘Return To Forever’, which was released last year.
That message was clear in the opening statement of ‘Going Out With A Bang’ from that album followed by the more popular ‘Make It Real’, which had the Singaporean flag emblazoned on the visual screen backdrop, and the crunchy riff of ‘The Zoo’ which saw all arms raised in a unified clap-along.
At 68 years old it’s understandable why the Scorpions’ stalwarts are thinking about their retirement but an athletic Rudolf Schenker has more energy than most men half his age and Klaus Meine’s unique voice is in fine fettle and can still hit all the high notes.
‘Coast To Coast’ is one of the most captivating instrumentals you’ll ever hear in a live setting, with Schenker and Matthias Jabs out front giving their all while bassist Pawel Maciwoda and Klaus Meine, adding guitar too, stand to their side to give the band the appearance of the proud Four Horsemen. A spectacular sight!
With so much to cram in, most of their early 70’s output was reduced to a medley at this concert. A further collection of acoustics saw the Singapore crowd faithfully sing along to ‘Always Somewhere’ and ‘Send Me An Angel’, their voices further raised on the symbolic anthem of ‘Winds Of Change’, a single that sold an amazing 14 million copies worldwide.
For those who think the Scorpions are just a ballads band, you couldn’t be further from the truth as the remainder of the show turned ultra heavy with the belting ‘Rock N Roll Band’ and the explosive ‘Dynamite’ that got my head banging a good ‘un.
After 23 years service with Motorhead new drummer Mikkey Dee has settled in with the Scorpions as if he has been there for years, giving the Scorps a new injection of brutality. His time with Motorhead wasn’t forgotten as a tribute to Lemmy came with a colossal version of ‘Overkill’ that saw a projection of Marshall amps and portraits of the iconic hero, which brought an emotional tear to the eyes of many. A most fitting tribute.
The Scorpions are the masters of how to use a stage, making maximum use of their area with every band member shaping themselves in choreographed moves like true professionals.
The rocket ride of ‘Blackout’ saw more madcap facial expressions from Schenker, ‘No One Like You’ hit the roof, with Matthias Jabs looking the real guitar god along with Schenker and ‘Big City Nights’ was the perfect anthem for this colourful bustling city.
The power ballad ‘Still Loving You’ was the first encore, with the evening getting a knockout ending with the simplicity of the mighty ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’, which blew the roof off the Suntec.
The Scorpions are still very much at the top of their game.
(Photos courtesy Aloysius Lim & Alvin Ho – LAMC Productions)