In spite of the fact that Scorpions bluffed a farewell tour a few years ago, the hard rock/heavy metal heroes had at least two worthwhile reasons to celebrate on this fall’s return to the road. For starters, one of Germany’s most famous musical exports just dropped its first studio album in five years, “Return To Forever,” plus the group is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary (a rare distinction that now joins the ranks of The Rolling Stones, The Who and only a handful of other lifers).
Yet it was the fierce wallop of “No One Like You,” “Big City Nights” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” that had every first in the air and further explained exactly how Scorpions have lasted so long.
Given such a trailblazing history that’s swelled from the underground to the mainstream, Rudolf Schenker, Klaus Meine and company could still pack most of the Allstate Arena on Saturday night with fans who clearly forgave the false goodbye (cheekily referenced in the opener “Going Out With A Bang”). Throughout the next 105 minutes, it was obvious the guys have loads of performance sting left in them, pumping fresh life into the melodic cruncher “The Zoo,” the classic monster ballad “Wind Of Change,” plus worthwhile new tunes “We Built This House” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Band.”Though truncated in length, a set of less frequently performed ‘70s-era tunes (culminating with “Catch Your Train”) and an acoustic medley (anchored by “Send Me An Angel”) helped give the anniversary evening an additional full circle feel. Yet it was the fierce wallop of “No One Like You,” “Big City Nights” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” that had every first in the air and further explained exactly how Scorpions have lasted so long.
Support act Queensrÿche is the latest to succumb to a bitter lead singer split, but continue to soldier on with most of the original members and the 2012 addition of front man Todd La Torre. While there’s no ignoring the unmistakable impact of co-founder Geoff Tate, this relative newcomer and the longtime players tore through progressive metal favorites “Walk In The Shadows,” “Silent Lucidity,” “Eyes Of A Stranger” and “Queen Of The Reich,” plus “Arrow Of Time” (off the upcoming “Condition Hüman”), suggesting the band’s future is favorable regardless of the imperfect situation.