Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Music Marathon, Day 4: The Scorpions

Press PLAY to experience the proper ambiance for the post below.

Cult metallic rock.  Nothing could tame the voltage at West Valley City's USANA Amphitheater on Monday night.  I had zero exposure to the Scorpions, and I didn't try to alter that by doing any research before Monday before the concert.  There just wasn't time as my life has become a seemingly endless series of late nights (concerts) and twisted pantyhose (work).
The Scorpions began in 1965 and rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s when songs like "Rubber Ducky" and "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" were the bane of my existence.  After that country western obsession I had in North Carolina, I came to Utah where I found myself humming themes from Dr. Mario and Tetris. I hope this explains why I didn't immediately know what type of music I'd be hearing on Monday, let alone who the Scorpions were.

As I watched the crowd line up at the entrance of the USANA Amphitheater, I saw an older crowd.  I knew the Scorpions had to have baby boomer appeal as my friend's boyfriend was there and he's in his 50s.  From what I saw in the line and inside the gates, there were grandmas and grandpas clenching their youth with long (gray) hair and high platform heels with hot pants. 

Monday evening's "party" in West Valley City was roughly 90 percent heavy metal and 10 percent slow dance material.  Each song bled into the next and nearly every tune featured the shirtless, tatooed, wild and tireless drummer who was on a raised pedestal.  The crowd danced, jumped, and had their fists in the air the duration of the evening. 

The stage-sized screen behind the band was multiple rhythmic and sensual images of women and couples. I had my aha moment about the screen show after the concert when I learned the Scorpions were from Europe where sensuality may perhaps be seen as more mainstream than it is in the US.  I swear, in Europe, even Jim Carrey looks sensual on movie posters.  That's just the way it is.

The Scorpions were born in Germany, both the group and its original members.  As you can guess from the chart below that I found on Wikipedia which identifies the members of the band over the years, Rudolf Schenker (top blue line) has to be one tired guy.  He started the band with his brother Michael in 1965 and has been a member ever since.  And thus, this is the band's farewell tour.  They're retiring.

As I wandered around the concession areas, my eyes kept coming back to the spectacular outfits ... leather red and black tie up vests for the women, lace dresses, silver metallic spandex pants, leopard and zebra print shirts and halters, above the knee boots in red, animal, and, of course, black.  Men wore official t-shirts, decorated jackets (not that it was cold) and I saw lots of mohawk cone spikes.

One guy's do was particularly compelling.  It sort of looked like he may have shaped the cones by molding them with ice cream cones.  "What do you suppose that guy uses to get it to stay like that?" said one inquiring mind in our group.  "Jello," responded someone who knew.  "Like Knox gelatin?" I asked.  "Yes."  Oh yes.  I have to wonder what that guy's bathroom is like.

I don't have pictures of the Scorpion's fans, a big regret.  It was all I could do to take the few pictures I did as my camera was misbehaving.  Fortunately, I do have this great shot below of two couples kissing.  If you can kiss through the stage lights and the almost deafening percussion, it must be true love.

I have no idea what the guy in the middle of these two loving couples must've been thinking.
Even if you missed the concert in Utah or if you live elsewhere, it's not too late to catch up with the Scorpions.  I for one could see myself following the Scorpions tour.  After seeing the pictures my son sent of Istanbul where he spent last weekend, I'd like to make that October 4th concert at the Macka Kucukciftlik Park. For other upcoming stops on the Scorpions' tour, take a look at The Scorpions Official Site With Tour Dates. If nothing else, you can hear every song played at USANA on setlist.  And for the perfect blend of heavy metal and classical symphony, The Berliner Symphony and the Scorpions playing Hurricane can't be beat.  Hurricane is one of the Scorpions' best known songs, and even I recognized it.  Finally, please please please be sure to listen to and watch  Winds of Change, a moving ballad about political changes in Russia.

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
in the wind of change

And to the Scorpions, I have to say, you're retiring at the top of your genre.  I've always said I didn't like heavy metal, but I was so wrong.  I'm sorry I missed you all these years and so glad to be there when you ignited Salt Lake County with your opening song from your new album, Sting in the TailTwenty years ago, who would've believed I'd spend a Monday night like this? Certainly not me.  "Scorpions Deliver a Rockin' Good Time," proclaimed the Deseret News.  And who am I to disagree with the Deseret News? ;)

Disclosure: I was a volunteer at this concert. I received NO compensation for this review.

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