Live Revue: Scorpions in Ontario

We don’t do a lot of live reviews, and don’t cover the same bands twice too close together.  But this is the last time the SCORPIONS will be around, and this was a bizzarro event worthy of documentation.  As noted earlier: We can’t tell if these guys are joking or serious.  They’re German so it’s hard to think they’re not serious, which makes them sort of a joke. .. but, a man much greater than me noted my prior Scorps coverage was a bit spiteful and possibly evidence of a cynical detachment from what makes music great. So let me be clear: I like these guys.  They’re one of a kind.  Their enthusiasm is infectious, and they bring people together.

I also like a good laugh.

So, to get to the main event, let’s revisit Klaus und Rudi, Ontario, CA July 29, 2010, stream of consciousness style, as it really happened:

Arrive in parking lot…parking is free…note to self that all future arena shows in Ontario…Meet old metal compadre Mike…A handful of middle-aged blondes are stuffed into jeans, short skirts and support hose, taking pics of each other…turns out they are Germans, in Ontario to see Scorpions…stunned, we try to comment on the irony to them, but they look blankly on, and we move quickly away, as they look ready to pounce and kill…women rarely frighten me like this, but I get visions of myself on the news as a victim of female date rape and European hygiene…

Quickly into the arena, we sit down as Cinderella start…Tom Kiefer can still play and sing and it’s a shame such a bluesy band got square pegged in the hair metal hole… guy next to me stands alone in our 75% empty section waiving a lighter during “Nobody’s Fool”…Scorps have given them a long set.

Then grab an overpriced drink at a mercifully short bar line…and we walk around checking out the Inland Empire metal heads…the arena’s only 2/3 full…not surprising given the area’s dependence on construction, and Scorpions’ dependence on construction workers…

Return to seats as Scorps take stage…12 foot drum riser with three huge video screens behind it, synced with digital images on the covers of the amps…German innovation at its best…they reach out the I.E. crowd with actual footage of the Heavy Metal Day at the 1983 US Festival.

They lead off with the title track to their latest, Sting in the Tail (Halford fans beware!)…Rudi Schenker begins the first of dozens of runs out to the end of the stage, where he does his trademark Scorpions rhythm bounce thing, usually all alone unless it’s someone else’s turn…Realizing the guy in the tight pants and low Euro-cut tank top with the Flying V is probably over 60, Mike looks at me and observes: “I bet Rudolph Schenker is a really weird guy”… I nod….

Then the hits start flowing…”Bad Boys Running Wild,” “The Zoo,” “Tease Me, Please Me” (you can find this set list on the Interweb)…a series of slow numbers kicks in, featuring a tearful newbie “The Best Is Yet To Come,” accompanied by historical footage of the band…Rudolph is now playing an acoustic Flying V… Mike notes that because the sound of an acoustic guitar comes from resonating surface of the wood, this thing sounds like lute…

Then they blast into some fast numbers, including “Dynamite” which might explain the large femme following (“Eat your meat until you’re breathless / Twirl your hips around”)… and after what we saw in the parking lot, I can understand Klaus and the boys are paying whatever tax necessary to escape the “uber alles” black widow death scene they must encounter regularly back in the Rhineland….

Then the most bizarre part of the evening ensues, as the “Kottack Attack” (named after the drummer) starts…everyone but the drummer leaves the stage as a video nightmare montage begins, with the drummer facing various evils (usual solo females) that morph into Scops album covers…one is “Fly To the Rainbow” showing him flying over the Grand Canyon, but the rest show scenes encountering babes like on the cover of Love At First Sting followed by a car scene with the bubble gum boob of Love Drive and culminating in a torture chamber (complete with jumper cables on the nipples) that leads into the Blackout cover, at which point the boys re-take the stage and launch into said tune… All said, this takes about 15 minutes…The band probably were getting massages…It was beyond strange, as a band of Germans lets their Californian drummer build his own brand in the middle of their show…

Then follows “Big City Nights” with a video wherein the band superimposes “Ontario” on a scene that looks like Times Square…Mike and I are busting up by now…Then the encores, which include, of course, “No One Like You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane.”  Somewhere in there they did the Mathias – Rudi --- Klaus pyramid thing…

Then that was it.  Scorpions done and gone.  Rockin in ‘70’s, huge in the ‘80’s, hanging on in the ‘90’s and ‘00’s…and, allegedly, saying farewell to Ontario in ‘10’s. From Kraut Rock to Cock Rock in one lifetime.  Thanks for the songs and the memories fellas.