Words and Images by Marco Denzer
Scorpions, the iconic German rockers have returned to large arena stages with their 2017 Crazy World Tour and the second stop of this journey brought them to Madison Square Garden for a riveting performance in front a full house. Joining them on the bill of the North American dates is none other than Megadeth, a band whose hard driving music fits perfectly with that of Klaus Meine and company. Together these bands deliver a rock ‘n’ roll performance of unparalleled magnitude that is sure to please new and long-time fans alike.
The set started with a short video animation of a helicopter flying over the city to deliver the musicians to MSG. Suddenly they all appeared on stage and began playing “Going Out With A Bang”, the up tempo song from their 18th studio album “Return To Forever” released in 2015. With Klaus Meine, Rudolph Schenker, Matthias Jabs, Powel Maciwoda, and renown drummer Mikkey Dee, formerly of Motorhead and now the newest member of the Scorpions, in their respective places. The legendary quintet dug into the early part of the night’s repertoire by rocking to “Make It Real”, “The Zoo” and “Coast to Coast” the slow instrumental from the “Lovedrive” album. All classic songs chosen from their mid 70s body of work.
The band proceeded with “We Built This House”, the romantic rock anthem like ballad also selected from “Return To Forever”, and “Delicate Dance”, the guitar centric instrumental ballad that features Matthias Jabs on lead and Ingo Powitzer on backup guitar. Following these two songs Dee had a small drum set brought to the catwalk part of the stage, and from there he and the others played semi acoustic renditions of “Always Somewhere”, “Eye of The Storm”, and “Send Me An Angel” in a more intimate setting; Three ballads that span 20 years of musical career.
At this point of the show the audience, an older crowd with a large number of younger fans mixed in, was absolutely ecstatic and happily sang along under the direction of the very charismatic Klaus Meine. However, it wasn’t only him that engaged the fans in participating in the fun. Powel, Matthias, and the unrelenting bundle of energy that is Rudolph, constantly running and jumping to the beat of the music from one end of the stage to the other, brought nothing but their best to the performance… they poured their heart and soul out on stage with complete dedication.
Things slowed down briefly and the audience quieted a bit as the Scorpions played “Wind of Change”, the worldwide hit that is emblematic of the political change that swept Russia in the early 90s. However, they quickly shifted gears and ramped up the tempo again with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Band” before paying homage to the late great Lemmy Kilmister. Speaking to the audience Klaus recalled a conversation in which Mikkey asked him to choose a Motorhead song for the Scorpions to play, then Mikkey and Powel quickly laid into the thundering drum and bass intro of “Overkill”. There was a sudden burst of energy in the venue again, and the crowd started fist pumping horns up as images of Lemmy played on the screens behind the band.
Immediately following the tribute to Lemmy, members of the band yielded center stage to Mikkey who transitioned into a phenomenal percussion solo without loosing any steam. As he began to play… white mane waving in the air, the enormous double bass drum kit he commands started rising slowly high above the stage where it stayed for the duration of his solo. There were strobes and color lights shooting in every direction, and the giant disco ball spinning from the ceiling of The Garden reflected like thousands of bright stars everywhere.
The crowd was still on their feet when blue strobes started flashing and sirens began to whale. It was the unmistakable beginning of “Blackout”, and Rudolph and Matthias came running down the catwalk to rev the audience even more with their screaming guitars. This was the beginning of the home stretch and it was going to be a solid string of metal hits all the way to the end. Scorpions closed their long set with the audience loudly singing “Big City Nights”, an extremely appropriate song for New York City on a Saturday night. In the end, as the crowd wouldn’t leave the arena and continued to chant for more, the beloved Hanover rockers returned to the stage for one final encore that included “No One Like You”, the ever-popular romantic ballad “Still Loving You” and finally “Rock You Like a Hurricane”.
Scorpions will continue their tour through Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and several other U.S. cities before heading to Europe.
Going Out With a Bang
Make it Real
Coast to Coast
Top of the Bill / Steamrock Fever / Speedy’s Coming / Catch Your Train
We Built This House
Always Somewhere / Eye of the Strom / Send Me an Angel
Wind of Change
Rock ‘n’ Roll Band
Big City Nights
No One Like You
Still Loving You
Rock You Like a Hurricane
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