The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


Uli Jon Roth


Oakland Metro Operahouse, Oakland, California

February 11, 2012


By Robert Kitay


At one time I never thought I’d have a chance to see Uli Jon Roth. He rarely toured the USA. That was three Uli Roth concerts back - three concerts, and three completely different shows. On the first occasion Uli Jon Roth opened for Michael Schenker and played much of his album “Metamorphosis,” which was mostly Uli playing his virtuoso guitar against the backdrop of piped in Vivaldi. Even without a band and not playing “rock” music, it was still a mind blowing concert. The second time Uli played a concert very heavy with Jimi Hendrix songs, along with a few Scorpions songs thrown in for good measure. The most recent concert, the one that is the subject of this review, was heavy with Scorpions classics. With Uli, you don’t know what kind of concert you’re going to get, but it appears that whatever he plays it will be nothing short of amazing.


This show got a very late start. There were three announced opening bands, FlaMetal (who I missed), LoNero (an excellent guitar based Bay Area band) and Tony McAlpine (a fantastic shredder in his own right). But after Tony McAlpine finished his set, an unannounced garage quality band took the stage and promptly managed to clear out the room. After another long delay, Uli Jon Roth took the stage a little after midnight.


Uli Jon Roth is truly nothing short of amazing. His playing is beautiful, powerful, energetic, and emotional, all at the same time. Over the next two hours, his setlist included some true gems from his days in the Scorpions, including “Dark Lady,” “In Trance,” “We’ll Burn the Sky,” “I’ve Got to be Free,” “Pictured Life” and “Sails of Charon.” These are all songs that I would love to see the Scorpions perform that you won’t see on their upcoming tour.



Certainly, all those in attendance were eating up every minute of it. But this wasn’t a set consisting only of classic Scorpion songs; he also played “Sky Overture”, “Land of Dawn”, “Fire Wind" from his band Electric Sun, “A Day Late and a Dollar Short” from Ian Gillan’s solo album “Gillan’s Inn,” and a Jimi Hendrix styled “All Along the Watchtower”. One of the unexpected highlights of the show was an improvised version of Jason Becker’s song “Rain” in honor of Jason, who in attendance at the concert. This was obviously very emotional for Uli, who said he was unaware that the ALS stricken Jason Becker would be in attendance.


Big props to Uli’s band, who contained a couple of very young members as well as vocalist Piero Leporale, who was spot on in his vocals including sounding amazingly like Klaus Meine during the Scorpion songs. Thumbs down, however, for Uli charging $20 for meet and greets. I can’t remember a band playing a club that charged for a meet and greet.