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Friday, September 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
A&E >  Music

Nostalgia mixes with newer tunes as the Scorpions rock Spokane Arena

UPDATED: Sun., Oct. 1, 2017

The members of the Scorpions are still rocking after five decades. (Marc Theis)
The members of the Scorpions are still rocking after five decades. (Marc Theis)

From my seat in the Spokane Arena on Friday night, I saw a seemingly endless stream of people wearing shirts from tours past.

KISS, Boston, Motley Crue, Poison and Iron Maiden (two different tours) were all represented.

Yes, nostalgia was in the air, though most of it was reserved for legendary German heavy metal band Scorpions, headlining the show, part of its Crazy World Tour, with special guest Megadeth.

This tour is a part two of sorts, as the band embarked on a Crazy World tour in 1991 in support of the album of the same name.

Twenty-six years later, the world is just as crazy and in need of a good distraction.

As the lights in the nearly sold-out arena dimmed, the massive screens on stage began playing an animation of a helicopter flying through an undetermined city.

As five people rappelled from the helicopter on screen, the five members of Scorpions – drummer Mikkey Dee, guitarist Matthias Jabs, bassist Pawel Maciwoda, vocalist/guitarist Klaus Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker –took the stage.

The quintet launched right into “Going Out with a Bang” and “Make It Real.”

Meine then said hello to the crowd and mentioned taking the audience on a journey through time. After 52 years as a band, there was plenty of time for the band to look back on.

Its latest album, 2015’s “Return to Forever,” is itself a blast from the past, comprised of unreleased songs from its archives that the band updated with new musical parts or rewritten lyrics.

Tunes from “Return to Forever,” including “Going Out with a Bang,” “We Built This House” “Eye of the Storm” and “Rock ’n’ Roll Band” didn’t feel out of place next to classics like “The Zoo,” “Wind of Change,” “Send Me an Angel” and “Speedy’s Coming,” which was performed as part of a medley with “Top of the Bill,” “Steamrock Fever” and “Catch Your Train.”

Prior to this medley, Meine told the audience the band was taking them back to the ’70s.

“It was ’73, ’74 and I remember sitting in a van on the German Autobahn saying ‘One day we’ll make it all the way to America!’” he said.

Near the end of the main portion of the concert, Meine decided it was time to introduce Dee, the newest member of the band, having joined in 2016 after 23 years of playing in Motorhead.

To honor Dee’s time in the band as well as lead singer Lemmy Kilmister, who died in 2015, Scorpions covered Motorhead’s “Overkill” as photos of Lemmy flashed onscreen.

This cover led right into an impressive drum solo by Dee, who performed as his drum platform rose into the air.

Each member of the band made their respective solos, especially Jabs during “Delicate Dance,” seem like warm ups, though with more than 50 years experience, that’s not exactly a surprise.

After ending the main portion of the show with “Blackout” and “Big City Nights,” the band returned to the stage for a three-song encore, starting with “No One Like You.”

Before performing “Still Loving You,” Meine talked about the devastation they’ve seen because of recent hurricanes and plugged its partnership with the Hand in Hand Organization (www.handinhand2017.com), which allowed audience members to donate to hurricane relief by sending a text message during the show.

With that, there was nothing left to do except perform one of the band’s best known singles, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”

Judging by the smiles on the face of each musician as they waved goodbye and tossed picks and drumsticks into the crowd, it’s safe to say Scorpions enjoyed the trip down memory lane as much as fans did.

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