Despite the band's success with power ballads like "Winds of Change" and "Still Loving You," the Scorpions have never been known for subtlety. After all, this is the band with an album cover featuring a woman and dog kneeling side-by-side in front of their "master." But their over-the-top approach to both their stage show and their clumsily misogynist lyrics are part of the appeal for this rather cute-n-cuddly metal band.
After more than 40 years, the Scorpions are claiming this current world trek is their last tour, and while they did deliver a steady diet of hits spanning their career, they also were sure to include several songs from the band's new Sting in the Tail album for the surprisingly large Usana Amphitheater crowd. They opened the show with "Raised On Rock" and also delivered the ballad "The Best Is Yet To Come" early in the set.
As easily as the new tracks fit in, though, they certainly weren't the songs that the vast majority of the hard-rockin' fans showed up to hear. Thankfully, those songs like "The Zoo," "Bad Boys Running Wild" and "Loving You Sunday Morning" were offered with all the synchronized guitar slinging and paint-peeling vocals fans have come to expect from the six-string duo of Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker and diminutive singer Klaus Meine.
Meine is a fine frontman, even if his omnipresent beret was a constant reminder of how he's aged, and he chatted with the crowd in that distinct, still-thick German accent: "Salt Lake City! Are you ready to rock and roll, yeah!?!" The altitude of Utah had no effect on his ability to whistle the intro to mega-hit "Winds of Change," and he scampered around the stage like a hyperactive elf, joining his guitarists at either end to goad the crowd into singing along.
Video screens in the back of the stage helped the folks on the hill in the GA section at least see a little of action on stage, although from up top, Meine and Co. looked pretty tiny. Still, the Scorpions personalities, and sound, were enough to fill the air with a joyful night of light-hearted metal.
Opening act Tesla seemed absolutely tiny by comparison, but that was more due to them playing in the daylight and the small size of their band-logo stage backdrop than their sound. Their hour on stage was packed with familiar hits, well-played and sung, including "Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)," "Little Suzi," "Comin' Atcha Live" and "Modern Day Cowboy." Sadly, I missed the chainsaw mayhem of Jackyl and an effort by concert-goers to join the Guiness Book of World Records for the largest synchronized air-guitar session.
Thankfully, there was still plenty of air-guitar gods on display as the Scorpions did their thing.