Following an almost yearlong postponement of their San Antonio date of the “Crazy World” tour due to lead singer Klaus Meine’s case of severe laryngitis, the Scorpions not only delivered on their word to return but did so putting on a rock spectacle worth of the Alamo City’s long-standing reverence for the genre. And with five decades of spearheading the success of this music from across the pond, their performance and the crowd’s reaction to it proved why Klaus and the boys have been so successful sharing their music worldwide for so long.
With the tour’s rescheduling, Queensryche took Megadeth’s place on the bill as the supporting act for the remainder of the US leg of the tour dates. Having made the announcement they just finished recording their new album which releases next year, the band turned out the creativity and driving rock that has created their empire since the 80s. Todd La Torre aptly showcased the sound and feel cultivated throughout the reign of Queensryche, breathing new life to the music and showing no sign of this band abdicating the throne. Toasting to the fans, La Torre acknowledged that special air San Antonio has for rock and they returned the warmth with their fingers forked in the air. The heaviness of their set may have calmed briefly for the crowd favorite, “Silent Lucidity,” but they ruled with a dynamic power throughout.
It is a special instance when a song can transport you back to an earlier place and time, and when it is one which is anthemic of a major world event – one song which embraces the exact feelings in the air of a place and transmits that voice worldwide, and it can still send chills decades later -it’s truly real. Mid-set, when the Scorpions broke into “Wind of Change,” they proved their powerful musical status as the unofficial voice of peace during the fall of the Iron Curtain, and from the audience, personally, took me back to this exact time, the exact feeling, as a young child in Germany living the Berlin Wall coming down. In a sea of cell phone lights across the Freeman Coliseum, a peaceful connection in this hope penned 30 years ago had everyone singing in unison and sharing remembrance; the substance of it malleable to today’s world. This will forever remain a special song in musical history and experiencing it live was undoubtedly special.
The Scorpions rocking the voice of an era paired with San Antonio’s longtime love for all things rock made this tour stop a hit. Meine and crew kicked it off with Return to Forever’s “Going Out with a Bang” and surely came in with one. At 70 years old he spared no bit of energy to entertain the packed stadium, joining the entire band to cover every bit of the stage and catwalk to deliver the best show they could. San Antonio reacted with equal high energy and horns in the air, invited in by the band to join in the good time. Their interaction with the crowd – playing to all sides bridging the gap from floor to stage, throwing out picks and drumsticks, and electric visuals from the giant LED screens – created a collective experience as The Scorpions played the gamut of songs from their recent album back to a 70s throwback medley of where it all began, paving the way to not only their success but that of the genre they helped build. It’s apparent that they still enjoy what they do and all who they do it for as fans filled in the isles to get closer and soak in the show as they declared rock being the glue that holds us together and Freeman was definitely unified by music that night. Raised horns and fists were exchanged for cell lights during an acoustic ballad of “Send Me An Angel” before Mikkey Dee – their more recent addition to the band and formerly Motörhead’s drummer of 20+ years – brought down the house with his showcase on the skins. Portraits of late fellow friend Lemmy Kilmeister flanked the stage as they took part in a tribute to him with “Overkill” with cups of beer and horns raised high in remembrance. The drum kit platform was then raised high above the stage for a solo performance which spared no power or bit of talent. Dee played with equal endurance throughout the whole set, pausing only briefly in his moment for applause. The whole lineup – Klaus Meine, Mikkey Dee, Rudolf Schenker, Pawel Maciwoda, and Mathias Jabbs – each gave it their all and brought the Alamo City the full rock package they held out to see. The year-long wait to hear 5 decades of hits didn’t faze fans – they were just pleased to experience the brotherhood of rock these German rockers delivered.
The setlist wouldn’t be complete without ending it with “No One Like You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” during their encore, and the fans sang along with regard until the very end. What started half a century ago in Hanover has not lost the magic of the moment. The Scorpions have built and earned a following of love from love – a mutual reverence for music and for life and their talent stands behind their passion. Their reason to rock and ability to continue to do so strong through all these years is truly magical and the proof lies in their keeping their promise to come back and rock San Antonio, which they did, with all of their might. Danke für die schöne Zeit!