Humanity Hour One World Tour
Grand Sierra Resort, Reno NV
September 22, 2007
The Scorpions may just be the best damn rock n’ roll band on the planet. A colossal career of thirty years plus with gold and platinum singles that could fill the national treasury, testify of the band’s longevity, performance quality and shear determination. They are unbelievably energetic, always on their game and treat each audience to a unique display of sight and sound. After a busy summer playing throughout Europe and Canada, the German five-piece finally landed on American soil starting with dates in southern California. This leg of the tour caters to only ten cities with Reno, Nevada being one of the lucky few. The city hosted the international superstars during the legendary bike week, Street Vibrations and among the thongs of leather, were a mixed bag of vintage Scorpions t-shirts spanning twenty years. The band’s audience has always been a passionate one. They come to hear the familiar favorites: “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, “Big City Nights” and “There’s No One Like You” and though older, are just as apt to throw their fist in the air and scream till their voice give out.
The band promised a lengthy set in conjunction with their critically acclaimed new release Humanity Hour One. The single is already an international smash and with sellout crowds in Europe and South America, the band can sit comfortably knowing the Desmond Child-produced record has met with universal appeal. Before the Germans took the stage, lesser know New York prog band Three stepped out and introduced the near capacity crowd to their brand of modern rock. A five-piece with two drummers, they captivated the audience with what can only be described as classic Yes. Guitarist/vocalist Joey Eppard balances between the electric and acoustic guitar while fusion guitarist Billy Riker blazes away in a swirls of colorful texture. According to their bio they played the ’94 Woodstock and have five records out, the current titled The End Is Begun on Metal Blade. Certainly an entertaining bunch, with the occasional stroke of genius.
Since first appearing on MTV in 1983 the Scorpions have separated themselves from the pack with their unique personality. First it was their seductive covers over the demonic rash of the NWOBHM, then there was band’s guitarist Rudolph Schenker and his opened-mouthed scream on the Blackout cover, then it was their quintessential rock anthem “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. It all led to the eclipse of all contenders and established the group as a mainstay in 80’s hard rock. Tonight they proved that age was relative and passion ruled the game. Out of the shrouded darkness came the sound of an old circus melody that echoed from the stage as the show began. A computerized female voice announced “Welcome To Hour One” and like a bottled up jar of insects set free the band scurried about the stage playing the record’s title cut, “Hour One”. From there it all became a blur. Spanning their hit-filled career were powerhouse numbers “Bad Boys Running Wild”, “Tease Me, Please Me” and the titanic force of “Coast To Coast”.
Each member of the five-piece is individually distinct. Fans know them by name and watch for signature moves. Singer Klaus Meine does his funny one-legged dance and constantly tosses the tambourine into the air for a roadie to catch. Schenker never sits still and when not bopping and weaving is running around in marathon fashion. Jabs stalks the stage planting his feet long enough to squeeze out a seductive solo, his face in pure ecstasy. Lunatic drummer James Kottak, now 15-years in the band, has perfected the entertainment value of a drum solo while Polish bassist Pawel Maciwoda is still finding himself amid the chaos. When they lock in on “Blackout”, “Big City Nights” and “Dynamite” they are a blizzard of showmanship. The crowd favorite for years has been “The Zoo” from 1980’s Animal Magnetism and, as the five lined up in syncopated rhythm, all was right in the universe.
New single “Humanity” is a nice addition to the set. Prolific in nature and gut wrenching in content, it elevates the song mastery of the band to a new level. Meine’s voice soars effortlessly into a meaningful chorus that begs for global peace and understanding. “321”, also from the new disc, is an instant pleaser and possibly the heaviest song the band has penned. Modern metal with a hook that thrills, it kicks off the freight train run of six high-octane numbers in a row. A stunning lightshow flashes in time to the music bathing the smoke-filled air in green, blue and red. Two surprises make the list including “Make It Real” and “When The Smoke Is Going Down”. The latter closed the show after two encores with Meine’s signing off, “Here’s one to take home with ya.” Just when you make your way back home / I find some time to be alone / I’ve got the sound still in my ear / While your traces disappear…when the smoke is going down.
Set list: Hour 1, Bad Boys Running Wild, The Zoo, Love 'em Or Leave' em, Make It Real, Deep And Dark, Coast To Coast, Holiday, Humanity, 321, Tease Me Please Me, Drum Solo, Blackout, Big City Nights, Dynamite. Encore 1: Still Loving You, There’s No One Like You, Rock You Like A Hurricane. Encore 2: When The Smoke Is Going Down