Talk about ending off the concert season at Budweiser Stage with a bang! Scorpions powered through a 2 hour performance Friday night as the final act to play at the venue for 2017. And we can’t think of a better way to wind things up.
The only thing I can add, is hopefully this is not the last time we see Scorpions here in Toronto. They are just too damn good to call it quits just yet. They flirted with retirement a few years ago, even did a farewell tour. But then, I guess they realized there was some unfinished business to take care of. And subsequently, they have continued to tour. And why the hell not? Watching each member of the band perform last night, it was clear that they are still loving what they do. And they certainly still do it well. Sure, lots of band give the big rock poses and make it look like they are having the time of their lives at every show. And I’m certain that most of the time those emotions are genuine. But at times some bands make it look too staged. And with Scorpions, yes, there are choreographed moments to a big metal show like theirs, but the smiles and the way they interacted with their audience felt real. And underlying all of that was the energy and power of their music. It rocks. It always has. I’ll put this show, and this band right up there in my personal top 3-5 of all time. Therein lies the secret to lasting for over 50 years as a metal band. When you genuinely love what you do, you find a way to keep making great music and absolutely kill it with your live tours.
The Crazy World Tour gave us what we craved. Big, loud, amazing metal. The show started off in grand style with Megadeth getting things going. It was quite nice to see that for an “opener” (not really an opener, I mean they were billed as Special Guests for a reason) that there was a near capacity crowd that filed in to Budweiser Stage ready for some serious head banging. I scanned the crowd to size it up: this was a largely male audience (oh but there were still lots of ladies too); so many sporting Megadeth t-shirts from this tour or previous tours; and most of the reserved seats were filled, plus a large part of the GA upper lawn area. Not always the case for the first act at a concert. People came to rock Friday night.
Megadeth really churned out some great energy as a band, swapping places on the stage and using all their space to give everyone a great look as they shredded through their set list. Guitarist Kiko Loureiro is particularly animated and gives great looks as he plays. The crowd was captivated right away and the band kept it up from start to finish. When the tour was announced, I was left wondering how these two bands would make it work. I mean, there are sufficient differences to their musical styles. But damn this worked, and worked well.
The main event however, was certainly Rudolf, Matthias, Klaus, Mikkey, and Pawel. Taking the stage a little after 8:30 pm and kicking off the show with Going Out With A Bang, Scorpions had arrived! And from that point on it was mainly a standing only crowd. Everyone was up out of their seats with fists punching the night air as the band took us on a trip through the years. We were treated to more recent numbers from the Return To Forever album, but the set list was well crafted and well balanced to include monster hits from years past. The massive video boards behind them even depicted their huge body of work at one point as all their album covers were displayed. We got it all – blistering drum and guitar solos, power metal, the catchy ballads that were so successful for the band, and all backing Klaus’ recognizable vocals. And he still has great range and control, not easy after this many years of touring. They also played Motörhead’s Overkill as an amazing tribute to their friend Lemmy Kilmister (who passed away December 2015) .
Standout points of this show were many, but I think I just truly appreciated that the band seems to still love what they do. I covered one of their shows 33 years ago in almost the exact same location. That show was at the now long-gone Exhibition Stadium that used to stand just across the street from Budweiser Stage. Seeing Scorpions then, and feeling that energy and passion for the live show, and seeing them still do it now – that is amazing. Sure, they may move around a bit slower than they used to, but by no means are they “mailing it in” – no way! The energy is still there.
Having already done a couple of Canadian shows now, this tour takes them across the U.S. and then overseas to Europe. This may be a crazy world, but Scorpions kind of crazy is just what we need.
Huge thanks go out to Scorpions, and Live Nation for having Tour Bus Entertainment out for this show.
Scott Burns / Tour Bus Entertainment
MORE PHOTOS FROM SCORPIONS CRAZY WORLD TOUR 2017: