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

TESLA & THE SCORPIONS
DODGE THEATRE
PHOENIX ARIZONA
27 JULY 2010

by Mark

 

I have never seen Tesla as a support band before and our trip to Phoenix was largely built around this being the only date Tesla, rather than Cinderella, is taking that slot. I must admit to being a big fan and Tesla Trooper for a good few years now and tonight doen't disappoint (though obviously you can always quibble with a support bands choice of setlist).

 

The Dodge Theatre is officially sold out tonight and it's a great venue with good vantage points all around and aside from the over-priced beers, its a good place to see a rock show. The auditorium is maybe two thirds full for Tesla and the crowd that are there get to see a great set.

 

First we get some corn: "Good evening Phoenix Arizona, I hope youre feeling as good as yoy're looking 'cause youre looking good" Jeff greets us, and looking around he's pretty much right on this night in downtown Phoenix. The age of the crowd may avearge solidly in the 30-40 bracket but there are plenty of young kids here who can sing the words just as good as me.

 

Opening with "I Wanna Live" from the latest studio record is perhaps not the wisest of moves, as although it's a great song which I particularly love, it's not until the first notes of "Hang Tough" sound that the crowd really gets into it. And make no mistake, everyone is on fine form. it is the interplay between the guitars though that really makes the show and in the intro to "Love Somg" as well as the breakdown to that song, as well as the guitar duel (or more like guitar catfight) after "Signs" that firly have my attention. It's clear that over the years Dave and Tommy have grown the sort of telepathy that bands like Thin Lizzy had.

 

After another new song "Breaking Free" we are into a run of songs that really reminds you what a great band Tesla was and still is. They may not rule the world but their back catalogue has a sheer consistency that most bands can only dream of. "Mama's Fool" has the crowd on it's feet for the first time and has a great countrified intro. "Love Song" a;most raises the roof and I don't think there is a single person (certainly that I can see) not singing along to Tesla's best cover "Signs".

 

The guitar solos that follow are the most entertaining I've heard so far this trip (maybe George Lynch aside) these guys just interact so well together, and the guitar fight theme is pretty entertaining and the harmonies they get following each other lines makes for great entertainment.

 

I think the highlight of the show for me though has to be "Modern day Cowboy" and "Little Suzi" back to back. Even though they don't play "What You Give" tonight I guess I can forgive them (in time)...

 

Tesla closes with a storming version of "Coming at you Live" and then announce that they will be signing shirts at the merch stand. I'm out of the door faster than most even though I must admit to a pretty entensive Tesla autograph collection, one more can't hurt!

 

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It was always going to be interesting to see how the Scorpions set expends out after seeing them at Rock N America a couple of days earlier. The answer is largely predictably but still with a few surprises and the same serious omission.

 

The best thing about this tour for me (never the biggest Scorpions fan, I always had issues with Claus voice) though is how well the new songs fit into the set, which is really a testament to how good they are. STING IN THE TAIL goes down great as an opener, before we really get into things. Claus' liberal use of the tambourine during songs begins with MAKE IT REAL I find it quite amusing to see him tapping away against the electrical storm! It's THE ZOO that realy gets the crowd into overdrive. It's packed house, in a sell out Phoenix and everyone here is ready to rock.

 

 

The stage show is pretty good too with a bunch of big screen at the back that combine live action with pre-recorded video and images. There are ramps up to the drums and Kottacks riser is on wires that has him thirty feet high playing his solo later in the set.

 

For a band on the verge of retirement these guys are going out on top form. While I know there are a few guys in the band still raring to go you can appreciate that there may be some in the band who can't quite do it like they used to, so bowing out now when it's barely noticeable leaves the fans with great memories intact. The problem is I guess that this is going REALLY well and I wonder what the temptation will be like at the end of the tour to do it one more time?

 

 

WINDS OF CHANGE raises a huge cheer from the crowd, though it's never done it for me, I guess it must be the whistling! THE BEST IS YET TO COME gets my vote as best new song of the night with the wonderful line 'How can we grow old when the soundtrack of our lives is Rock and Roll' though it's RAISED ON ROCK theyplay shortly after that appears to be the crowd favourite.

 

After Kottak's amusing and inventive drum solo: he plays along to videos of himself recreating the Scorpions album covers, before tearing off his slogan T-shirts to reveal a back tatooed with the same slogan! we get BLACKOUT. The band run out from beneath the drum riser Rudolph with his fork-eyeglasses and beanie plays a storming solo, guitar smoking from the off. Matthias then gets his time in the spotlight, before all too soon BIG CITY NIGHTS closes the regular set.

 


For encore we get the Scorpions pyramid with Claus looking a little wobblier than he used to. We also get what will surely be a one off tonight when the boys play ARIZONA and you can tell that the Scorps love playing this for the crowd as much as the wild Arizonans in the crowd love hearing it. In fairness it's an average song made special by the people and the sentiment here. There's love in the air and you can tell that the Scorpions have special feelings for the peole of Phoenix, the feeling is mutual.

 

We close with regular openers of my favourite Scorpions song NO ONE LIKE YOU
and obvious crowd favourite and MTV heavy rotation video: ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE. It's a great night in Phoenix that ends for us at the hotel bar celebrating with some new friends and wanting to come back to Arizona soon.

 

 

Mark


TESLA SETLIST

I WANNA LIVE
HANG TOUGH
BREAKING FREE
MAMAS FOOL
NO WAY OUT
LOVE SONG
MODERN DAY COWBOY
LITTLE SUZI
SIGNS
TWIN GUITAR SOLOS
COMIN AT YOU LIVE

THE SCORPIONS SETLIST

STING IN THE TAIL
MAKE IT REAL
BAD BOYS RUNNING WILD
THE ZOO
INSTRUMENTAL (COAST TO COAST)
LOVING YOU SUNDAY MORNING
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
WINDS OF CHANGE
HOLIDAY
RAISED ON ROCK
TEASE ME (PLEASE ME)
DYNAMITE
DRUM SOLO
BLACKOUT
MATTHIAS SOLO
BIG CITY NIGHTS

ENCORE

ARIZONA
NO ONE LIKE YOU
ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE