SCORPIONS, TESLA, JACKYL, USANA Amphitheatre, Aug. 16
WEST VALLEY CITY — If all the '80s metal bands played like the Scorpions did Monday night, there would be a good chance those bands would still be packing arenas.
Sure, the Scorpions did just that at USANA Amphitheatre, but its brand of German metal isn't anything like that of Poison or Cinderella.
The duel lead guitarists Mattias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker and the cutting tenor of lead singer Klaus Meine gives the band an edge when it comes to '80s rock. Drummer James Kottak and bassist Pavel Maciwoda rounded this still-hungry band.
Opening with a new song — the title track to the band's latest CD "Sting of the Tail" — and then whipping out "Make It Real" captured the audience's ears.
Kottak's drums were lifted via chains 10 feet off the floor while the other band members raced around the multi-tiered stage.
The band played loud and strong and delivered the goods such as "Bad Boys Running Wild," "The Zoo," "Loving You Sunday Morning" and "Another Piece of Meat," which featured Tesla's guitarist, bassist and drummer Frank Hannon, Brian Wheat and Troy Luccketta, respectively.
The ballads — "The Best Is Yet to Come" and the Glasnost anthem "Winds of Change" — were counterbalanced with the more obscure, but rocking "Dynamite" and "Blackout."
Kottak's drum solo was highlighted by videos that flashed the band's history of album covers before settling with "Big City Nights."
Of course "No One Like You" and "Rock You Like a Hurricane" were expected for the encore.
Over-the-top shenanigans of Jackyl's lead singer Jesse James Dupree, complete with chain saw on "Lumberjack," readied the crowd for the Midwest blues of Tesla.
Tesla also showed the audience how it's done with "Modern Day Cowboy," "No Way Out (Heaven's Trail)" and some live "Guitar Hero" boss battles between Hannon and Dave Rude.
But nothing could really prepare the audience for the sonic delivery of the Scorpions.
The fact that Schenker and Meine are in the their mid-60s and playing power metal is, in itself, a feat. It's good they're wrapping up their career on a high note. "Sting in the Tail" is the strongest CD since 1988's "Savage Amusement" and the band sounds just as fresh live.
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