Well, what can I say … I’ve had the pleasure to photograph one of the most iconic rock bands of all time! The Scorpions. There’s something to be said about 18,000 fans at one of the top venues on the west coast, namely California, “The Oracle Arena” formally the Oakland Colosseum. You know you’re witnessing one of the top touring acts of the year when they’re playing a venue such as this, so yeah my heart was pumpin’ … my blood was rushin’ … my brain was wired to soak it all in, then start rockin’.
I was fortunate enough to be able to park VIP near the tour buses next to the north tunnel entrance bringing me backstage where it all begins. Security is tight with the recent venue attacks and I’m searched thoroughly. There’s only 7 photographers allowed to shoot and I’m extremely thankful to be one of them. So, the waiting game begins and then I’m escorted side stage where the roar of thousands can be heard and seen. Shortly after I’m allowed front of stage where I position myself to the best shooting spot and eye-ball other vantage points that I’ll run to during certain parts of the set. You can feel the rush in the air as the first and only opening act “Megadeth” takes to stage and the crowd goes wild as these guys are no strangers to creating a rock frenzy that drives fans crazy!
Known for their heavy, solid guitar crunches and super-fast shreds and riffs it’s come to no surprise that Megadeth opened with Hangar 18 and ripped right into The Threat is Real, and while most of their fans agree that they bring true metal back into rock … it’s more evident later on in the set with perhaps one of their best tracks “Symphony of Destruction” which brought the entire venue to their feet. Needless to say, the rock god juices started flowing and soon the set ended after 11 amazing songs with Holly Wars – The Punishment Due.
OK, so now obviously we come to the band everyone is here to see … The Scorpions. I gotta admit this has got me excited as I’ve only been able t see these guys perform once before, and with my pot and alcohol induced coma of those days, I’m not remembering much but the overall party. So being much more responsible and drug free in today’s world floats my boat in a more realistic nature by way of photography and journalism.
So, The Scorpions take stage to a frenzied crowd, the venue is wild and crazy and exactly what you would expect from this kind of concert event. The demographic, yeah well, it’s mostly us old farts and many seats next are being occupied by their kids accompanying them as they grew up listening to their parent’s music. It’s kinda cool to see … The first song of the set was Going Out With A Bang, and in my opinion just a warm up song because as far as I’m concerned it’s not very characteristic of their music, and then into Make It Real which started to sound a lot more like the Scorpions old school. But it wasn’t until the 3rd song, The Zoo that really got the fans screaming with horns up and fists pumping, I mean it’s that kind of song that gets the blood flowing.
With a set list of 14 songs and 3 more encore songs you knew you were going to get a full dose of what the Scorpions are known for. From Always Somewhere and Winds Of change to Black Out and Big City Nights, they covered it all and finishing strong with Still loving You (one of my favs) and lastly Rock You Like A Hurricane which pretty much sealed the deal with memories to last a lifetime. The ticket stubs? Those are worth holding onto … For me? This was the concert of a lifetime and it proves these bands can still tour and pack venues with our demographic around the world.
- Rudolf Schenker– rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals (1965–present)
- Klaus Meine– lead vocals, guitar, tambourine (1969–present)
- Matthias Jabs– lead guitar and rhythm guitar (1978–present)
- Paweł Mąciwoda– bass (2003–present)
- Mikkey Dee– drums (2016–present)
- Going Out With a Bang
- Make It Real
- The Zoo
- Coast to Coast
- Top of the Bill / Steamrock Fever / Speedy’s Coming / Catch Your Train
- We Built This House
- Delicate Dance
- Always Somewhere / Eye of the Storm / Send Me an Angel
- Wind of Change
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Band
- Drum Solo
- Big City Nights
- No One Like You
- Still Loving You
- Rock You Like a Hurricane