I’ve been a Scorpions fan since just before the release of their first live album “Tokyo Tapes” and they were one of the main reasons for my coming to Wacken this year as it was billed as being their last outdoor festival appearance and it was in their home country of Germany so it only seemed right to make the long journey to see them on their home turf.
The Scorpions open their set in spectacular style with an intro video playing ‘Sting in the Tail’ Rudolf Schenker runs on stage and starts playing the opening riff while all about him explodes in pyrotechnics and flames before being joined by the rest of the band, though ‘Sting’ is a new song it is classic Scorpions and everybody is singing along to its catchy “Hail hail sting in the tail” chorus. One final burst of the flamethrowers and it’s straight into ‘Make it Real’ from Animal Magnetism which pleases me to hear this classic getting an airing as it was the Animal Magnetism tour when I first saw the band live 32 yrs ago!
Things just kept getting better for this long time Scorpions fan as it’s ‘Is There Anybody There’ next from what I consider their best album the awesome Lovedrive and with only a little encouragement from Klaus Meine Wacken is a sea of waving arms which continues into the next song as the chugging riff of ‘The Zoo’ takes hold. The Scorpions stage doesn’t have a backdrop like most of the bands instead the back of the stage is giant video board which is constantly showing video, graphics or just huge washes of colour to complement their lighting rig there is also boards in front of the amps and drum riser too, so the whole stage is a moving mass of colour a very different and very effective lighting system from all the other bands at Wacken.
And the classic tracks just kept coming with more tracks from the seminal Lovedrive album ‘Coast to Coast’ & ‘Loving You Sunday Morning’ before we get ‘Rhythm Of Love’ from 1988’s Savage Amusement, by this time the Scorpions have Wacken in the palm of their hands that mother nature decides that it doesn’t matter how many pyrotechnics, flamethrowers or video screens you have she can still do better! With a huge flash of lightning above the main stages she unleashes a torrential downpour on the Wacken faithful during ‘Raised On Rock’ an through ‘Tease Me Please Me’ by which time Sheila’s jacket had had enough and had stopped being waterproof so she headed for the sanctuary and dryness of the press tent to watch the rest of the show on their TV screens while I stayed to watch the rest of the show in person.
Despite the awful weather conditions it’s a testament to how good the Scorpions set was that most people actually stuck around to watch the rest of the show. The next part of the show was a bit of a blur for me as being at one side of the main stage I was facing straight into the wind blown rain and it didn’t matter how many times I wiped my eyes my wet hands couldn’t clear my eyes till a very kind Germany woman seeing my predicament reached into her bag and produced a packet of paper hankies and offered them to me, a true saviour if ever there was one I could finally see again properly.
By the time my sight was restored to me James Kottack was winding up his drum solo and the stage was plunged into darkness with a heart beat getting played through the PA and a video show a man giving Rudolph some electric shock treatment while James shouts out “Get your sting out and blackout” as the queue for the band to return to the stage for the start of ‘Blackout’ Rudolph is now sporting a bandaged head in a similar style to the artwork of the album of the same name and playing a flying V guitar with an smoking exhaust silencer on the top of it! Blackout leads into ‘Six String Sting’ which much to his credit Matthias plays at the very front of the stage in the pouring rain getting wet along with audience before getting joined by first Rudolph and then the rest of the band before launching into ‘Big City Nights’ and the last song of their main set and the audience is still singing along as though the weather wasn’t there. The set finishes with the classic Scorpion pose of Klaus standing on the legs of Rudolph and Matthias
I left the main stage just as the band returned for their encore as my jacket also succumbed to the weather to join Sheila in the press tent to watch it on the TV screens. There is a large Scorpions Statue of Klaus, Rudolph and Matthias now on the stage which is getting grinded by some dancers during ‘Coming Home’ then they play the only ballad of the whole show ‘Still Loving You’ and finish up with ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ to raptures applause from the wet but happy Wacken crowd. The Scorpions had delivered as promised in the press conference a high octane rocking set to their home fans that not even the weather could dampen down, if this is their last ever festival appearance the band sure made sure they left on a high note.
- Sting in the Tail
- Make It Real
- Is There Anybody There?
- The Zoo
- Coast to Coast
- Loving You Sunday Morning
- Rhythm of Love
- Raised on Rock
- Tease Me Please Me
- Hit Between the Eyes
- Kottak Attack
- Six String Sting
- Big City Nights
- Coming Home
- Still Loving You
- Rock You Like a Hurricane
All pictures of the Scorpions are by Sheila Hamilton