The extent of my knowledge of Scorpions prior to a week ago was that they were from Germany and wrote “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” which is kind of the ultimate Big Dumb Rock Song. Apparently, they’re celebrating their 50th (!) anniversary this year and boast a pretty extensive discography beyond said song. This is what I like about newspaper assignments – I end up learning about stuff outside my general sphere of music knowledge. Plus, Scorpions actually put on a better show than most bands would have any right to at the end of their fifth decade.
Big-budget rock shows are also a blast from a photography standpoint. By nature, I’ll always feel most at home shooting indie rock in cramped, poorly-lit clubs, but shows where some serious effort has actually been put into the visual component are a refreshing change of pace. Scorpions’ LED video walls offered up a vibrant, fluid backdrop, and the band themselves are seasoned showmen who clearly enjoy having fun with their audience, and with photographers. Vocalist Klaus Meine spent at least a third of a song playing cowbell and tossing his drumsticks out to the front row, and bassist Paweł Mąciwoda definitely looked me in the eye before pointing straight at my lens (see below). Definitely a photo set I’m happy to have in the portfolio.
I arrived about 5 minutes too late to shoot openers Queensrÿche, but based on the cornball theatrics of the set, I’ll live with that. Vocalist Todd La Torre, replacement for expelled founding member Geoff Tate since 2012, did an awkward job attempting to hype up a half-full crowd, and the rest of the band wasn’t faring much better. I had time to eat some ice cream during their set though, so it wasn’t a total wash.