Get Your Sting and Blackout tour
Raley Field, Sacramento, CA, August 4th, 2010
by TK Smith

The Scorpions bid a fond farewell with their Get Your Sting and Blackout tour. As the trucks pulled into Sacramento, CA August 4th, 2010 a note of sadness filled the air. According to the band, this is to be their last full-scale tour before retiring, bringing an end to a 40-year roller coaster ride. The titanic Germany juggernaut leave behind many esteemed landmarks including a string of gold and platinum records, hit singles “The Zoo,” “No One Like You,” “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” and ballads “Wind of Change” and “Still Loving You,” the latter boasting the 1985 baby-boom in France. The five-piece were one of the first to play Soviet Russia and were there when the “Wall” came tumbling down in Berlin. Much has changed in the world since the Scorpions first jammed in a musty concrete basement in 1965, yet the group has remained the soundtrack for millions through the decades.

The Hanover-based outfit first came to America in 1979 behind their Lovedrive LP as an opening act for Ted Nugent and Aerosmith. They had struggled with success in Europe for years but started to see action in Japan in the late ‘70s releasing the “live” Tokyo Tapes. After a succession of lead guitar players they landed on, what is considered, their classic lineup with singer Klaus Meine, guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs, bassist Francis Buchholz and drummer Herman Rarebell. Together they released the essential Blackout (1982) and Love at First Sting (1984) moving them to headline status and selling out arenas coast-to-coast. The last few years has seen the rhythm section adjust to include drummer James Kottak (joining in ’96) and bassist Pawel Maciwoda (joining in ’04). It is with this lineup they say “goodbye” to fans this summer.

LA rockers Ratt opened the Sacramento show on this warm California night. Lead singer Stephen Pearcy, fresh from his recent hernia operation, seemed rehabilitated and in fine form. Ratt’s new record Infestation (the first to feature Quite Riot’s Carlos Cavazo) sounded surprisingly tasty with a beefy delivery. After a brief set change, film footage of the Scorpions appearance at the ’83 US Festival rolled on to the large stage screens. As the film replayed the jet fly-over that opened their set 17 years ago the band stormed the stage with the title track to their current opus Sting In The Tail. The sound mix was off and Meine’s vocals were buried amongst the barrage of guitars. Jab’s guitar kept cutting out, a problem that plagued him through the night and Schenker appeared to have an injured ankle. Yet, the group soldiered on through Animal Magnetism’s “Make It Real” and the triple threat “Bad Boys Running Wild,” “The Zoo” and “Coast to Coast.”

Meine’s voice was properly balanced when the group resurrected Lovedrive’s “Loving You Sunday Morning” to thrill the audience followed by the new single, “The Best is Yet to Come.” As the packed crowd chanted along, Meine actually stopped mid-sentence to listen to the overwhelming response. Emotion grew as the group dedicated an acoustic “Send Me An Angel” to the late Ronnie James Dio. Appropriately, the band remained acoustic through the wistful “Holiday” building the song into a deafening crescendo. “I don’t know about you,” said Meine, “but I was raised on rock,” shouted the singer as the riff to “Raised On Rock” reverberated through the grand stands.  Clearly the band was having the time of their lives. A string of favorites followed ending with the Rock in Rio anthem “Big City Nights.”

For the encore “No One Like You,” the Scorpions were joined on stage by Warren DeMartini and Bobby Blotzer of Ratt. The song was loose and friendly turning the night into a huge onstage party. “Rock You Like A Hurricane” followed with Tesla’s Jeff Keith and Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy joining the stage mayhem. The commotion and stage antics made for a fun wind-up to an already blistering set. The Scorpions have always prided themselves as top-notch performers. During their mid-eighties heyday they were one of the biggest bands on the circuit. Tonight they proved again why their star still shines so bright.

Website: Scorpions

Sacramento, CA

Sting in the Tail, Make It Real, Bad Boys Running Wild, The Zoo, Coast to Coast, Loving You Sunday Morning, The Best is Yet to Come, Dedication to Dio, Send Me an Angel, Holiday, Raised On Rock, Tease Me Please Me, Dynamite, Drum solo, Jabs guitar solo, Blackout, Big City Nights

No One Like You - with Warren DeMartini and Bobby Blotzer (Ratt)
Rock You Like A Hurricane – with Jeff Kieth (Tesla), Warren DeMartini, Bobby Blotze, Stephen Pearcy (Ratt)

Live photos by Jon T. Cruz