Words/Photography By: Adam Harrison
It was love at first sting last night for any classic hard rock fans at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto to see the Scorpions. The band is currently touring for their latest album Return to Forever, which must actually feel like forever as the tour is also being dubbed as their 50th Anniversary Tour, making them one of the longest running rock bands of all time. Unlike most aging rock bands however, the Scorpions are still putting out new music, and it still rocks like a hurricane.
It was a double dose of throwback as progressive metal rockers, Queensrÿche, opened the evening. Now featuring Todd La Torre of Crimson Glory on lead vocals in replacement of original singer Geoff Tate. La Torre did a great job of maintaining a classic Queensrÿche pitch as they blew through 45-minutes of favourites such as “Jet City Woman,” “Silent Lucidity,” and “Eye of a Stranger.
The Scorpions set ironically opened with a new tune titled “Going Out with a Bang,” which is hopefully not symbolism as the five-piece from Hannover, West Germany sounded fantastic even into their late 60s.
We were introduced to a few more new tracks from Return to Forever, but most of the 105-minute set was made up of greatest hits and crowd pleasers. When you’ve been touring for as long as the Scorpions have been, you know exactly which songs to play and when. Their set flowed seamlessly from start to finish with few lulls in action.
A short acoustic set featured a sing-a-long of “Send Me an Angel” which then transitioned well into the timeless whistling anthem, “Wind of Change.” After rocking out for a few more numbers, the older members of the band were able to take a strategic break during an entertaining drum solo from the enthusiastic and tattooed-up James Kottak.
The re-energized band returned for a string of hard-hitting Scorpions classics that included “Blackout,” “No One Like You,” and “Big City Nights.” Leaving the crowd amped and shouting for an encore. The band returned once again with the eerie and epic “Still Loving You,” putting the 67-year old singer, Klaus Meine’s vocals to the test. A test he took with confidence, as if to say, “I can still do this as well as I did when I wrote it in 1984!”
Everything was peaches and cream, but no one would go home satisfied until they heard one of the most iconic rock songs of all time. This crowd of 10,000 wasn’t going anywhere until they were rocked like a hurricane. From the opening riff came a sea of satisfaction. And although you could tell the band had played this song a bajillion times over the last 30 years, you could also tell they still had fun with it.