Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979
This was my 8th visit to Reading. The line-up was a predictable mix of new wave and heavy rock. It was also a year of line-up changes. Two of the main bands who were billed to play: Thin Lizzy and The Ramones did not appear. Thin Lizzy pulled out at a few days notice due to Gary Moore’s departure from the band. Lizzy were replaced by Scorpions and The Ramones by Nils Lofgren. Both of these changes were major disappointments. The weather wasn’t bad and the event was well-attended, but didn’t sell out. My recollections of the weekend are below:
Friday line-up: Bite the Pillow, The Jags, Punishment of Luxury, Doll by Doll, The Cure, Wilko Johnson, Motorhead, The Tourists, The Police.
Friday was the “new wave” day. I watched all of the bands from Punilux onwards. Highlights were The Cure who impressed me even though the only song I had heard before was “Killing an Arab”, and Wilko and Motorhead, both acts going down a storm with the crowd, who preferred their rock heavier and more traditional. The Police were riding on the crest of a wave of success, and were amazing, Sting had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the entire field sang along to the hits. It was great to witness a band at their peak.
The Police setlist: Deathwish; Next To You; So Lonely; Truth Hits Everybody; Walking On The Moon; Hole In My Life; Fall Out; Message In A Bottle; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; Peanuts; Roxanne; Can’t Stand Losing You; Landlord; Born In The 60s
Saturday line-up: Root Boy Slim; Fame; The Yachts; Little Bo Bitch (not sure that they played?); The Movies; Bram Tchaikovsky; Gillan; Steve Hackett; Cheap Trick; Inner Circle; Scorpions
We spent much of Saturday enjoying the delights of local hostelries and didn’t venture into the arena until later in the day. To be honest, looking at the line-up now, it was pretty uninspiring. We made it into the festival for Gillan onwards. Gillan seemed to play everywhere at the time, and were always good fun. I’d seen them so many times that I was getting to know the new songs, but I also always looked forward to hearing Purple classics, which they did including ‘Smoke on the Water”. Steve Hackett played “I Know What I Like” which prompted a mass crowd singalong. The highlight was Cheap Trick with crazy antics from Rick Nielson and an exquisite performance by Robin Zander. A video of their performance that night is on YouTube. You can find “I Want You To Want Me” here, a bit rough, but still amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTLEYcO2VnE
For the encore Cheap Trick were joined onstage by Dave Edmunds and Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs for a rendition of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”. Classic 😄
Inner Circle’s reggae rhythms went down well. Scorpions were great (I really liked “Loving You Sunday Morning” at the time), but we were disappointed that we weren’t seeing Lizzy who had become a Reading favourite and were massive at the time.
Sunday line-up: The Cobbers; Terra Nova; Speedometers; Zaine Griff; Wild Horses; The Members; Molly Hatchett; Climax Blues Band; Nils Lofgren; Peter Gabriel; Whitesnake.
Sunday highlights for me were The Members who were in the charts with “Sounds of the Suburbs” and got a mixed reaction from the crowds with some people liking them, and others lobbing cans, and Peter Gabriel who started with “Biko” and played classic solo tracks like “Moribund The Burgermeister”, “Solsbury Hill” and “Here Comes The Flood”. Phil Collins joined Gabriel for the end of his set for “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. Whitesnake closed the evening and were worthy headliners (although they weren’t billed as so, with Peter Gabriel and non-showers The Ramones having shared top billing in the pre-festival publicity). They started with an amazing new song “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” which set the tone for the evening. Ian Paice had just joined on drums and Whitesnake now had three former Purple members (Coverdale, Lord and Paice).
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Steal Away; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Love Hunter; Breakdown; Whitesnake Boogie.
An enjoyable Reading weekend, if not one of the strongest line-ups.
Archive for the ‘Scorpions’ Category
Posted by vintagerock in Bite the Pillow, Bram Tchaikovsky, Cheap Trick, Climax Blues Band, Cobbers, Cure, Doll by Doll, Fame, Gillan, Inner Circle, Jags, Little Bo Bitch, Members, Molly Hatchett, Motorhead, Movies, Nils Lofgren, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Police, Punishment of Luxury, Reading festival, Root Boy Slim, Scorpions, Speedometors, Steve Hackett, Terra Nova, Tourists, Whitesnake, Wild Horses, Wilko Johnson, Yachts, Zaine Griff. Tagged: classic rock, concert, concerts, festival, gig, gigs, heavy metal, heavy rock, music, new wave, pop, rock, rock n roll. 2 comments
Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979
Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 15th April 1982
Scorpions singer Klaus Meine had some throat problems in 1981 which required surgery on his vocal cords. At the time there were doubts about whether he would ever sing again. The band were working on their next album, Blackout at the time and their friend Don Dokken (later to front his own band Dokken) was brought in to sing with them in rehearsals. Meine made a full recovering and returned to record the album, with Dokken’s background vocals also remaining on several tracks. Blackout was released in 1982 and went on to become Scorpions best selling album to date, eventually going platinum. Meine’s voice was as strong as ever and response to the album was excellent. The Blackout album produced three singles: “Dynamite”, “Blackout”, and “No One Like You”.
Scorpions toured in 1982 to promote Blackout. The tour was originally set for February, but was postponed until April (hence the hand written date change on my ticket) possibly because of Klaus’ health problems and the resultant delays to the album’s completion. The tour called at Newcastle City Hall and I attended the first night.
Support for the UK tour was Wolf, a NWOBHM band from Carlisle, previously known as Black Axe. I can’t pretend to recall Wolf, but I found a review of their album Edge of the World on the Metal-Archives.com website, which suggests that they were a really good metal band: “a powerful, and utterly amazing NWOBHM album; this one basically serves as a testament to how strong a caliber of music can be made using the “standard NWOBHM sound.”….this is absolutely essential NWOBHM that every fan of the genre needs to get….. Stunning”.
Another great heavy metal gig. It was a long time until I saw Scorpions again, when they were special guests for Judas Priest a few years ago.
Setlist: Blackout; Loving You Sunday Morning; Always Somewhere; Make It Real; Coast to Coast; Don’t Make No Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep); We’ll Burn the Sky; Holiday; Another Piece of Meat; Lovedrive; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Is There Anybody There?; Dynamite; No One Like You; Can’t Live Without You
Encore: The Zoo; Steamrock Fever
Encore 2: Now!
Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 7th October 1980
Scorpions were on a roll. Only five months after their last visit to Newcastle they were back at the City Hall, this time for two nights. In fact, they were so popular that, as well as playing two concerts at the City Hall, they also played one night at Newcastle Mayfair ballroom, bringing their show to the Friday heavy rock night. All three nights sold out, pretty good going for a band that was playing tiny clubs a few years before. I attended the first City Hall concert, which was on 7th October 2010, and was another great gig. Support came from US Southern boogie band Blackfoot.
From the tour programme: “The Scorpions is mentioned in one breath with giants such as Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and AC/DC. They are one of the best bands that I know and they sure play incredible music. The Scorpions are the first German band to go on a real world tour. …The stage was their school. They rose from faith in themselves.”
“The ladder we climbed, we built ourselves. Each single step was made with hard work, desperation and confidence, and we know it will last” Rudolf Schenker.
Schenker was 100% correct. Scorpions success did indeed last. Shortly after this tour they went into the studio to record their next album “Blackout”, which was to be their most successful to date. And who could have predicted that, over 10 years later, they would be high in the UK singles chart with their No 2 hit, the classic heavy rock ballad “Wind of Change”?
Setlist: Lovedrive; Don’t Make No Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep); Loving You Sunday Morning; We’ll Burn the Sky; Animal Magnetism; The Zoo; Holiday; Lady Starlight; Always Somewhere; Pictured Life; In Trance; Steamrock Fever; Can’t Get Enough
Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 13th May 1980
Scorpions released their seventh studio album “Animal Magnetism” in March 1980, and returned to the UK in May 1980 to promote it. I saw them at Newcastle City Hall on 13th May. Support came from excellent local rock band Tygers of Pan Tang. The Tygers were formed in 1978 by Robb Weir (guitar) who recruited Brian Dick (drums), Rocky (bass), and Jess Cox (vocals). By 1980 they had built a local following, and were staring to break nationally as part of the NWOBHM, and were busy recording their debut album `Wild Cat` which was released later in the year.
Scorpions were now well and truly established in the UK as a fully fledged member of the heavy metal rock fraternity, and a packed City Hall gave them the customary rowdy reception, reserved for metal heroes.
This was another great performance, and a powerful rock double bill. “Loving You Sunday Morning” remained by favourite Scorpions song. Their new album “Animal Magnetism” was OK, but on reflection it isn’t one of their beat. It was sandwiched between the excellent “Lovedrive”, which was the album that broke them through in the UK and gave them their first succees, and “Blackout” which would follow a year or so later, and would be Scorpions most successful record release. Still there was no stopping them live, where they were a real force to be reckoned with.
Scorpions setlist: Lovedrive; Don’t Make No Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep); Loving You Sunday Morning; We’ll Burn the Sky; Animal Magnetism; The Zoo; Holiday; Lady Starlight; Always Somewhere; Pictured Life; Make It Real; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Robot Man; In Trance; Steamrock Fever; Can’t Get Enough
My ticket for this gig is particularly creased….we were reasonably close to the front..not sure if that says anything about how hot, loud and wild it was 🙂
Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 19th May 1979
I first saw German heavy metal band Scorpions in 1979 at Newcastle City Hall. Scorpions visited the UK several times between 1975 and 1979, playing in small clubs up and down the country, and by 1979 they were starting to build a considerable following, large enough to fill concert venues like the City Hall. They had just released their sixth studio album “Lovedrive”, which many fans believe to be their finest hour, showcasing their classic heavy metal formula which mixed some of the hardest, sharpest metal tracks with melodic ballads. After a few years in the wilderness, partly due to the arrival of punk rock, heavy rock was starting to reemerge in the form of the NMOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and bands like Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Scorpions no doubt benefited from the renewed interest in heavy rock, plus their former member, and ace guitar hero, Michael Schenker had just rejoined the band, which also helped to increase their popularity. The line-up was Klaus Meine (lead vocals), Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar, and Michael’s older brother), Francis Buchholz (bass), and Herman Rarebell (drums).
Matthias Jabs (lead guitar) also featured on “Lovedrive” and played guitar when Michael Schenker was indisposed, which happened several times during their early 1979 concert dates. Schenker was suffering from alcohol abuse, was not well enough to play some of the dates, and ultimately left Scorpions in mid 1979 to form his own Michael Schenker Group. I remember being surprised just how great Scorpions were, and at how strong their fan base already was. The concert sold out quickly and the Newcastle fans gave the band an amazing reception. I didn’t know any of the material at all but was blown away by the power and hard edge of their music. My memory tells me that Michael Schenker did play the City Hall gig, but I can’t be certain. I know that he pulled out of several of the gigs around that time, with Matthias Jabs having to step in, often as short notice. My favourite song from “Lovedrive” is “Loving You Sunday Morning”
Harry Doherty reviewing “Lovedrive” for Melody Maker, in 1979: “now that the new wave has been institutionalised and tamed by the establishment, heavy metal is once more basking in a glorious and celebrated comeback, a feast that will presumably last until the next fad surfaces – when HM will promptly revert to its underground role. But in the current blaze of recognition, look out for a powerful and, as far as Britain is concerned, relatively new heavy metal band, Scorpions”
Support on the 1979 dates came from Terra Nova, a short lived group was formed in 1979 by former Manfred Mann’s Earth Band members Chris Slade and Colin Pattenden.
In August 1979 Scorpions replaced Thin Lizzy as Saturday night headliners at the Reading festival, at two days notice. Scorpions acquitted themselves well, and went down a storm with the Reading heavy metal crowd, particularly considering that everyone was expecting to see Thin Lizzy.
It is likely the setlist at the City Hall was something like this: Pictured Life; Backstage Queen; We’ll Burn the Sky; Loving You Sunday Morning; Lovedrive; In Trance; Always Somewhere; Life’s Like a River; Fly to the Rainbow; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Top of the Bill; Robot Man; Steamrock Fever; Can’t Get Enough
Their setlist at Reading was shorter: Backstage Queen; We’ll Burn the Sky; Loving You Sunday Morning; Lovedrive; Always Somewhere; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Robot Man
Judas Priest Newcastle Arena 2005
The Angel Of Retribution tour
After a (too long) gap of over 20 years since I last saw Judas Priest in concert, I decided it was about time to see them again. In between that time Rob Halford has left and rejoined the band, so this 2005 outing was a sort of reunion tour. I went along with a group of mates, all of whom were seriously into Priest, and David came along for the ride. The Arena was by no means full, but the crowd size was respectable; Newcastle was always a metal stronghold and many people still had a soft spot for this band. The stage set was quite spectacular, and the show started with Rob Halford being hoisted down onto the stage to join the rest of the band. The show featured lots of Halford costume changes, and (of course) towards the end of the set Rob rode on stage wearing a huge leather coat, riding his Harley Davidson. This was pure heavy metal (and very tongue in cheek) theatre, and although the sound and atmosphere at the arena can never touch that of the City Hall, the spectacle and scale of the show certainly made up for it. Special guest for the tour were The Scorpions, another band who I hadn’t seen for a long time. My favourite Scorpions song has always been Loving You Sunday Morning, which they played that night. Judas Priest setlist: Electric Eye; Metal Gods; Riding on the Wind; The Ripper; A Touch of Evil; Judas Rising; Revolution; Hot Rockin’; Breaking the Law; I’m a Rocker; Diamonds & Rust; Deal With the Devil; Beyond the Realms of Death; Turbo Lover; Hellrider; Victim of Changes; The Green Manalishi; Painkiller; Hell Bent for Leather; Living After Midnight; You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’. It was great to hear old favourites like The Ripper and Victim of Changes again, and the Priest remained as impressive as ever live. David isn’t into heavy metal at all, and found it all a little too over the top.
Uli Jon Roth The Office South Shields 30 December 2012 (and 1983)
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. 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?).