Scorpions & other rockers

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

There were rumors a few years ago that the Scorpions, the most successful rock band to emerge from Germany, have disbanded and that the members have retired. But the recent release of the video Scorpions MTV Unplugged In Athens, shot in September 2013, proves that there is no truth to those. 

Klaus Meine on lead vocals and guitar; Rudolf Schenker on rhythm guitar, lead guitar, sitar and lead vocals; Matthias Jabs on lead and rhythm guitars; Pawel Maciwoda on bass guitar; and James Kottak on drums are all here. They still sound phenomenal and they still rock hard.

Rockers rejoice, there is so much to love in this one. Despite that, I expect every Pinoy Scorpions fan to howl in protest over the song line-up of this concert. There is no Always Somewhere. A riot would have ensued had this been held at the Araneta Coliseum. What is a Scorpions gig without that song?

Always Somewhere has seemingly embedded itself deeply and forever in the playlists of our radio stations. It is also a staple in karaoke joints and along with Bon Jovi’s Bed Of Roses, is now part of the learning repertoire of every aspiring rocker. The thought saddens, but Scorpions just have to accept it. Always Somewhere failed to make it into one of the legendary group’s best live recordings ever.

One listen to this though, or I should say, one look at this video and I am sure they will forget all about Always Somewhere. Not only are nearly all of the band’s other great hits in the show, there are also some new works. And they are all performed unplugged. Even with a lovely string quartet at times.

Yes, unplugged! It does seem unimaginable. Hard rock goes unplugged? But the music of the Scorpions has always been rooted in strong melodies and heartfelt lyrics. So these songs will always sound great whether in grating heavy metal or in the purity of an acoustic set. Besides, as fans doubtless remember the band did an awesome gig with the Berlin Philharmonic some years ago. So, they can definitely do unplugged.

The film was shot at the Lycabettus Theater, a famous landmark built 39 years ago by the famous architect Takis Zenetos high above the city of Athens in Greece. Coincidentally, the Scorpions was also formed as a school band 39 years ago.

Lycabettus as the setting is simply magnificent with the packed audience extending up the mountainside and overhead shots showing beautiful Athens by night. This combined with the fantastic sound, the enduring music and the palpable energy that the band shares with the audience make this an experience not to be missed. 

And please take note, the show has no use for video and audio gimmickry to dazzle the people away from the inadequacies of the performers. This is just the Scorpions, who have certainly not lost any of their grit and passion for rock. So all natural they move you into thinking they don’t make rockers like they used to anymore.

Among the songs included are the new release Dancing With The Moonlight, classics like Wind Of Change, No One Like You, Sting In The Tail, Rock You Like A Hurricane, Blackout, Can’t Live Without You, Pictured Life, Speedy’s Coming, Born To Touch Your Feelings, The Best Is Yet To Come, In Trance, When You Came Into My Life, Delicate Dance and many others.

If thinking about the Scorpions has given you an appetite for rockers of the old mold, then you will surely be interested in the new batch of albums from the Gold Greatest Hits Collection. The series comes in two-disc sets and features not only the big hits but also lesser-known but interesting recordings by popular artists. These new packages are treasure troves of oldies that should be most welcomed by budget conscious collectors. Not necessarily rockers but with music that also rocks. These are:

Aerosmith with 34 cuts. This is the biggest-selling heavy rock band from the US and with the high-profile Steven Tyler on lead vocals, continues to wield a strong influence on the global rock scene. The songs here are early Aerosmith. No I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing but it has the band’s first big hit, Walk This Way plus Dream On, Dude Looks Like A Lady, Rag Doll, My Fist Your Face, Cryin’, Angel, Shame On You and others.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive with 34 cuts. This band is an off-shoot of Guess Who and is one of Canada’s best known exports. The big hits Takin’ Care Of Business, Blue Collar, Roll On Down The Highway, Hey You, Lookin’ Out For #1 and You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, lead the line-up. Also included are Gimme Your Money Please, Hold Back The Water, Flat Broke Love, Little Gandy Dancer and others.

Tears For Fears with 24 cuts. I know this is more electro-pop than rock but Tears For Fears music has shown great enduring power. These songs still sound as good as they did when we first heard them. And the big hits are all here, Sowing The Seeds Of Love, Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Mad World, Pale Shelter and Shout and really good album cuts like Floating Down The River (Once Again) and Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down).

The Human League with a whopping 40 cuts. This group from the UK came up with the most radio-friendly and most memorable hits of the ‘80s. The biggest of them all was Don’t You Want Me. There are also: (Keep Feeling) Fascination, Human, Together In Electric Dreams, Kiss The Future, Love Is All That Matters, Love Action (I Believe In Love), Heart Like A Wheel and many more.

Culture Club with 30 cuts is more pop than rock. But the effect that the lead singer the flamboyant Boy George had on the face of popular music was truly massive. In this album are his biggest sellers Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, Church Of The Poison Mind, Karma Chameleon, The War Song, I Just Wanna Be Loved and the cute Mystery Boy (Suntori Hot Whiskey Song), a commercial made in Japan, etc.

Ub 40 also with 40 cuts. The UK band took on Elvis Presley’s (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You and took it to No. 1. The band members also proved they can do well on their own with the reggae-flavored Red Red Wine. Also included are I Think It Is Going To Rain Today, Sweet Cherrie, The Way You Do The Things You Do, Kiss And Say Goodbye and lots more.


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