Stung by the Scorpions and loving it!!!!

In yet another of life’s ironies, one of my all-time favourite bands were coming over to Bombay and here I was, planning to give it a miss. Why?? It was a weekday firstly, secondly the queer ticket pricing of 7500-1500-1000 put me off. I was almost certain that the 7500 class would be for our Bollywood buggers to come up, close and cozy with the band and the commoners would be condemned to watch our band from a safe and sorry distance. As luck would have it, my best friend happens to get free passes for the two of us and lo and behold, on Friday the 14th (why couldn’t it be 13th though?? 😛 ), we arrived at the venue, staring at a wide empty arena!!

I must say it was very disappointing to see such a poor response for the one-time heavy metal pioneers. We in Bombay have always complained that high taxes keep the big gigs away from our city and then when the prices were actually within reach, we kept away..oh well, guess it was the VIP factor for them too. Seriously, what happened to the 7500 stand, because I didn’t see one!! In fact the few people in the 1000 stand (including yours truly) were emptied into the 1500 stand to create an illusion of a packed arena. Whatever, it gave me the chance to get real close to ze Scorps.

So, first a doomed duo covered some country/folk rock classics on acoustic guitar and vocals. They were decent but not spectacular and soon the crowd lost patience…better luck next time boys!!!! Then, after a seemingly endless wait, came ze Scorpions. The first thing everybody would have noticed:

a) They were so fucking heavy, heavier than Iron Fucking Maiden, that wasn’t something I expected, no sir.

b)  Klaus Meine still sings soooo well….maan, anybody who can still maintain his voice at 60-plus is blessed a thousand times over.

Talking of Meine, his frontman-act is rather unique. With his short build and curly hair, he lacks the charisma of Bruce Dickinson or James Hetfield. He compensates by being an absolute joker – what with a ridiculous grey jacket complete with loosely worn tie, Cyrus Broacha-ish dance steps (sorry Cyrus if you are reading this) and comical, heavily accented Hindi to boot.  Best part, it works superbly.  We loved him, every minute of it…well, he helped his own cause by doling out drumsticks ceaselessly, keeping us hooked to his every move.

But the real revelation was Rudolf Schenker.  Also over-60 and the main man (and rhythm guitarist) of the band, he was a livewire on stage. People who debate endlessly about whether Scorpions are heavy metal or not only needed to watch him play the rhythm parts of Dynamite at some incredible pace for proof. If you don’t think THAT is heavy fucking metal, go suck your own sorry cock, is all I can say. By contrast, Jabs looked occasionally lost; maybe the crowd noise made it difficult for him to pick notes but he’s been on stage for so many years now. He more than made up with the usual stunts and the whole lot; besides the sound was rhythm-heavy, so we struggled to hear Jab’s leads anyway so it didn’t really matter.  The relatively younger bassist and the drummer had a full fifteen minutes of jamming to themselves and they made the most of the time.

Now, coming to the organisation: it was very well done, much much better than Bangalore, thank you. Only one thing: do the MMRDA have to dig up approach roads so strategically…the road leading from the Bandra-Kurla complex arterial to the ground was a mess, potholed and dusty, coming from a Bombayite, so I ain’t cribbing. And while I had my friend’s vehicle to get to the nearest railway station, many others were waiting to get into the nowhere-in-sight ricks. Maybe with more and more concerts taking place, those guys will get know about this rawk show thing and line up in droves to fleece passengers next time!! 😛  Another thumbs up for the Bombay gig: though Scorpions wound up at 10:00 as opposed to 9:15 odd for Iron Maiden, water, snacks was still available at the venue when we left and a few shops in the neighbourhood were still open, with no policemen imposing curfew, unlike oh so high-tech Bangalore.

Ah, I haven’t talked about the selection of songs yet: it was ex-ex-cellent. All the classics and no songs from the abominable Savage Amusement and Eye II Eye. They didn’t play the 70s songs but they haven’t ever since Roth left, so no point fretting about that. They played Blackout, they played The Zoo, they played Dynamite, they played Bad Boys Running Wild and this alone would make the gig a rockin’ one for me. But they also played Send me an angel, Always Somewhere and Holiday unplugged and then of course those three songs without which no Scorpions gig can ever be wound up, you know them if you are a Scorpions fan so I won’t mention them. 😛

All in all, those of you who can’t stop blabbering about Metallica, Iron Maiden and Guns N Roses (why is it always these three bands, wherever I go, no seriously!!!) and thereby underestimated the Scorpions, you seriously missed out bigtime. Scorpion stung like only they can and it still feels sweet. Do be back sometime soon, Mr.Meine. Still loving you, baby!!!!

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