Scorpions @ Panpeloponnesian Stadium, Patras (GRE)
SCORPIONS, OVER THE RAINBOW, GEORGE GAKIS AND THE TROUBLEMAKERS
in Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at Panpeloponnesian Stadium
by Grigoris Chronis
As soon as the lights came back on, it was more than obvious that this was a Rock ‘n’ Roll entertaining night. With most bands half their age suffering after hardly 70 minutes of performance, one of the greatest Hard Rock bands of all time proved they – in general – can give you the best if you want it. Witnessing the beautiful rural/mountain landscape over the town’s Panpeloponnesian Stadium, this would probably be another night to remember for most of the crowd while the thinking of “who’s next when the legends are gone?” was giving and taking between older SCORPIONS fans. Clocking backwards, now…
The German pioneers of European Hard Rock music had the beautiful city of Patras as their last stop in the brief three-leg Greek tour. The stage antiques were in place and more than 5,000 spectators were eagerly eating the Peloponnese sun and pale breeze when a local act by the name GEORGE GAKIS AND THE TROUBLEMAKERS hit the stage. The charismatic mainman/singer’s contribution to the wider Rock live facilities in (mostly Northern) Greece is unsaid plus this was a good chance for the band to create stimulation for what was next to be unleashed. With a set of mostly covers by Rock legends, George Gakis and Co. delivered a vivid show for 40 minutes in a midst of WHITESNAKE, AEROSMITH, VAN HALEN, BON JOVI and THE BEATLES takes, with a couple of interesting self-penned numbers. The mood was right, Gakis’ voice (owing a lot to the myth of David Coverdale) was warm and upright and I would not imagine a better pill for that evening’s treatment.
With the beers coming and going to hell and back, OVER THE RAINBOW (it was quite an intermission, though) was onstage. The RAINBOW tribute band – featuring, though, members who were members of the classic outfit at some time throughout the British band’s chronicles – kicked in with “Tarot Woman” and let hell break loose for something less than an hour. Backed by a thunderous, yet kinda un-balanced, sound the quintet shined on due to their professional performance but also vintage onstage attitude. J.R. Blackmore (guess whose son he is…) was quite in the background letting Joe Lynn Turner entertaining the masses (gradually filling the seated parts of the stadium; the arena was still loose by that time). As assumed, the ‘American’ era of RAINBOW songs was performed top class while the ‘epic’ first era brought to mind nothing else than the monstrous voice of Ronnie James Dio. Well, Joe did well in general, and along with the energetic vibe of the whole band I’m pretty sure the mood was quite right for all.
OVER THE RAINBOW setlist:
01. “Tarot Woman”
02. “Kill The King”
03. “Street Of Dreams”
04. “I Surrender”
05. “All Night Long”
06. “Man On The SilverMountain”
08. “Since You ‘ve Been Gone”
09. “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”
One of the things I love about SCORPIONS is that they are sharp on time and (Germans, you know) treat the crowd with respect. Bursting out with “Sting In The Tail” I had two time-dependant conclusions: there was not enough sound volume coming apart from the stage, bringing to mind the semi-pale amplitude in a KISS gig some years ago, plus the guitars (especially from the Rudolf Schenker side) were somehow buried in the background. Both saw an up-growth after the middle of the setlist; the men themselves, however, were eager to turn the hell on and the fact that a crowd hungry for Rock was summing it up to 12,000~15,000 proved to be the perfect basis for SCORPIONS to unleash their attack.
Claus Meine was sensational again, his voice is still shining and he was also more than warm with the arena. His performance in most songs (all, maybe!) was exciting and made me wonder were will all the great Rock voices go in the years to come. The Schenker/Jabs duo had enough spark to set the stadium on fire; Rudolf in specific was thrilling in his onstage behavior. I’d like Matthias to be a little bit more convincing in his leads themes though (his sound precision was not that satisfactory, too). The Kottak/Maciwoda duo was sparkling with James confirming he’s a crazy SOB behind the kit (he made a ‘key’ mistake backing the solo in “Is There Anybody There?”, though…shit happens…) and his drum solo made enough of an impression to people not often seeing open air gigs in their area.
The stage scenery was a good surprise for me. A mail drum kit platform rolling back and forth, up and down, hosted James’ set while the perimeter of the field of play for the front musicians was piled with a ‘lights and thunder’ scale construction the same time that a vintage backing wall screen was playing various stuff related to each song performed plus filming the crowd’s response. This look, along with the band’s energetic recital, created a very good atmosphere for everyone willing to let the good times roll.
Enough songs were heard from their latest nice album and the classics had their share too, of course. No major surprise would a core SCORPIONS fan expect, to be honest, but having a good time is not necessarily something that derives from shock and only. “Raised On Rock” and “The Good Die Young” made the best of impressions, the eerie in “Make It Real”, “We’ll Burn The Sky”, “Always Somewhere” (brilliant!) and “Big City Nights” was magical and the rest of the songlist created relevant emotions. The times that the whole band (in acoustic mode) or the front team was in the walkway among the fans were also shaking the place, no questions asked.
Searching for something to nag, the average fan would probably have to say something for the sound (even if no major obstacle) and the lack of some setlist shock from such an illustrious discography (the Roth years were virtually absent). Leaving these aside, it was a traditional SCORPIONS gig pushing things up and upper in fun and rockin’ vibe. There was something for everyone that evening; sing-along screams and shouts in “321” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, sentimental moments in “Still Loving You” and “Wind Of Change” and fists held high during “Blackout” and “Bad Boys Running Wild”. A SCORPIONS gig had again the unique attribute of summoning a wide range of ages, Rock (or not) profiles and ranging expectations but after nearly two hours of sweat and nonstop running the mission was clearly accomplished. You think there are enough promising bands out now with ways to beat such a vibrant gig from these old rockers? Well…sorry, but…not a chance.
01. “Sting In The Tail”
02. “Make It Real”
03. “Bad Boys Running Wild”
04. “Is There Anybody There?”
05. “The Zoo”
06. “Coast To Coast”
07. “We’ll Burn The Sky”
08. “The Best Is Yet To Come”
09. “Always Somewhere”
10. “Send Me An Angel”
12. “The Good Die Young”
13. “Raised On Rock”
14. “Tease Me, Please Me”
16. “Kottak Attack”
18. “Big City Nights”
19. “Still Loving You”
20. “Wind Of Change”
21. “Rock You Like A Hurricane”
P.S.: An mp3 USB flash drive was offered at a normal price on our way out, featuring a high-quality live audio recording of the concert with a code for video download available some days later.
GEORGE GAKIS AND THE TROUBLEMAKERS
OVER THE RAINBOW
Ticket Price: 25/33/40/60 €
26 January 2015