Uli Jon Roth The Office South Shields 30 December 2012

Uli Jon Roth The Office South Shields 30 December 2012 (and 1983)
ulijonroth2012 For my final gig of 2012 last night I went to see the legend that is Uli Jon Roth, ex-Scorpions, Hendrix aficionado, inventor of the Sky guitar, and exponent of neo-classical rock guitar. It was a real privilege to witness one of rock’s greatest guitarists so close up in such an intimate local venue. I arrived at the Office at 9am, just catching the end of support act Lovedrive’s (Scorpions tribute act) set. The gig was in the upstairs room of the venue, which is close to the centre of South Sheilds, and it was packed to the walls. The room holds 200 people and the gig was completely sold out. I made my way to the front to get a good view of the great man. Judging by the t-shirts, the crowd beside me were all Scorpions fans of many years. There was then a bit of a wait before Uli Jon Roth took to the stage to chants of “Uli! Uli! Uli!”. Within a few minutes he launched into All Along the Watchtower (ala Jimi Hendrix), and it was immediately apparent that this was going to some special concert. Many musician’s of Uli’s generation seem tired and have lost some of their spark, but not this guy. His playing was just amazing. His instrument for the evening was one of his custom Sky guitars, which is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, having additional frets going right up to the pick-ups, which allow Uli to get very high notes, and play his trademark riffs. Watchtower was followed by more Hendrix: If Six Were Nine, flowing straight into Little Wing. uli Just awesome; the 50 something guys at the front were saluting Uli and nodding to each other as if to say “This guy can still do it”. The rest of the set was largely Scorpions classics including The Sails of Charon; Life’s Like a River; We’ll Burn the Sky; and Fly to the Rainbow. There were other songs which were less familiar to me, but the crowd knew them all, singing along to every word. He also played Enola Gay (Hiroshima Today?) from his Electric Sun period. Vocal duties were handled by the bass player, who did a spectacular job reaching all the high notes, and singing sweetly during the ballad sections. The rest of Uli’s very tight, rocking band were a second guitarist, keyboard player and drummer. Uli told us that this was his first visit to South Shields but made reference to the fact that he had been to nearby Newcastle a few times, playing the City Hall in 1983, and 1985. He asked “How many of you were there?’ and a great roar came from the crowd. When I got home and checked my ticket stubs, I found that was at the 1983 City Hall gig. Is doesn’t seem almost 30 years since I last saw this guy in concert. Uli also commented on the rumours that the City Hall might be facing closure, and told us that we must not let it happen: “get a petition; do something, you can’t let it close, that hall is one of the most beautiful in your country”. Uli’s playing has developed over time, moving more towards classical music; however last night’s set was very much focussed towards his rockier side, and his years with the Scorpions. As I left I heard a guy say to his mate “He’s just phenomenal!” which just about summed it up. Everyone in The Office last night will have been blown away by the skill, passion and warmth of Uli Jon Roth’s performance. It certainly felt like I had witnessed something pretty special. There was talk on bringing him back again next year; I’m sure the place will be equally as packed if that happens.
PS Oh, and it was very LOUD down the front. It was good to go home with my ears ringing; it brought back happy memories. Luckily they’ve stopped ringing by this morning.
PPS Apologies for the very blurred picture, which I took on my iphone. One of my new years resolutions is to practice using the camera on my phone so that I can take better pictures (why does everyone around me seem to be taking great photos?).

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sir_Bawls on January 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Here’s the setlist from the 2012-12-30 South Shields gig:

    01. All Along The Watchtower
    02. If 6 Was 9
    03. Little Wing
    04. Sails Of Charon
    05. A Day Late & A Dollar Short
    06. Life’s Like A River
    07. Enola Gay (Hiroshima Today)
    10. We’ll Burn The Sky
    11. In Trance
    12. I’ve Got To Be Free
    13. Polar Nights
    14. Fly To The Rainbow
    15. Dark Lady
    16. Pictured Life
    17. Catch Your Train
    18. Villanova Junction
    19. Speedy’s Coming*
    20. He’s A Woman, She’s A Man*

    Uli was accompanied by members of a local Scorpions tribute band named Lovedrive for the final 2 songs*

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sir_Bawls on January 12, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Btw there’s already an online petition to save Newcastle City Hall here:

    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/newcastle-city-council-save-newcastle-city-hall

    Reply

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