Front Row for The Scorpions Concert in Bangalore!
Exactly 1 year after I went to the Deep Purple concert at Bangalore, it was time for me to make up for something I had missed out in 2001 when The Scorpions came down to Bangalore to promote the album ACOUSTICA. This time I was not to miss out on the action when I learnt 1 week back that they coming down again-this time to promote their new album HUMANITY. So I made sure that I bunked my (non-existent) classes at my college NITK and came down to Bangalore to attend the concert.
Fast Forward to the day of the concert…
I find myself purchasing the ticket at the venue at 2 PM and realized that there was a late announcement of discount of 300 bucks! So I bought the higher priced ticket for 1200 instead of 1500 bucks! Also I was a little concerned about the turnout or the lack of it at that time. So I convinced myself that more would eventually turn up for the concert and stood in the queue with the sole intention of being able to make it to the front row. So after an agonizing wait of over 3 1/2 hours, we were let in and I was sane enough to make a dash for the barricades once my frisking was over. My efforts paid and I was right up on the barricades at the center of all the action! Another agonizing wait for about 2 hours which included me eating my “lunch”-a burger-which, coupled with the can of Fosters Beer that I had in the afternoon, kept me conscious through the show.
Eventually, NERVEWRECK, the opening act came on stage to perform. I had seen them perform previously at my college fest INCIDENT this year. So I knew they were good. Especially the bassist. Though a section of the crowd booed them, I have to say that most of the crowd appreciated their act. Anyway, eventually, at 8 PM, THE SCORPIONS came up on stage!
Now here is the thing. I have seen a number of bands play on stage and all that they end up doing is play music. They completely forget that there is this other aspect of entertainment as well. And that is where THE SCORPIONS are the best! Man! Was that a performance! Totally electric right from the word go! They opened with a number which I hadnt heard. (To be frank, it had been quite some time since I listened to them. But I surely did remember all the classics!) They then played a couple of songs from their new album HUMANITY. Almost everything that they played new was quite heavy and I liked it. The first song that they played that I was really looking forward to was THE ZOO. I really really love that song and the muted guitar intro the song got me up and jumping! The whole crowd sang along :
“We eat the night, we drink the time
Make our dreams come true
And hungry eyes are passing by
On streets we call the zoo”
Thing was that initially there were quite a few songs which I hadnt heard. Maybe they were from the new album or some old thing that I hadnt heard. Either way initially the songs went through pretty quick. But things really slowed down, and rightly so, when Rudolph got out the acoustic and Klaus told the crowd “It will be good to play something on the acoustic guitar. This is Always Somewhere!” Man! This is one song that really brings back a lot of things from quite a long time back for me! And to see it being sung by the man himself, standing 10 feet in front of me was a real dream come true. This was followed by another classic “Send me an Angel” which again, I have to say, was a treat to just shut up and see Klaus Meine do the magic!
I dont recollect each and every song that they sung. But I definitely remember when Matthias gave the intro to HOLIDAY! “Let me take you far away…you’d like…a holiday!” Quite literally the whole crowd was singing! Who wouldnt! The mood the song created when you are standing in the front row is probably something that you will make sure you tell your grand children about! They then returned to their hard hitting numbers. They screamed into BLACKOUT, ripped through BIG CITY NIGHTS and a few others. But I was really impressed with their new song-HUMANITY. There are a few songs that you will really love when you listen to them the first time and trust me when I say this one tops the list! This is simply an addictive song with meaningful lyrics, heavy stuff and at the same time it was melodious! Very few songs can make that happen.
And somewhere in the middle, all, except drummer James Kottak and Bassist Pawel Maciwoda left stage and there you had it! The drum solo and the bass solo! To state that Kottak stole the show during the entire concert would be an understatement! He was full of energy and kept egging on the crowd from behind his arsenal of drums and cymbals! Perfect timing and significant variations in the drumming, coupled with the frequent spurts of water that he let out from his mouth making it look like a fountain(hardly gross given the energy with which he was involved) easily made him the best entertainer of the evening! Maciwoda too played his part ripping through Voodoo Child on his bass with the Wah-Wah turned on fully, followed by intro to Enter Sandman! And when the rest of the group returned, they went on from where they had left.
The rest of the concert was for the classics only! “Tease me Please Me” again got the crowd pepped up. But needless to say, they had saved the best for the last. Klaus said, ” Bangalore, we were here a few years back…we liked you then…and we are STILL LOVING YOU!” And there it was! Something everyone was looking forward to!
“If we’d go again
All the way from the start,
I would try to change
The things that killed our love.
Your pride has built a wall, so strong
That I can’t get through.
Is there really no chance
To start once again?
I’m loving you.”
Slow and easy-thats how Klaus Meine took the crowd through the soft melodious numbers and it was epitomized in the way he sang “Still loving you”. Immediately after that he went into something even better-Winds of Change! Looked like the entire crowd suddenly began to showcase their whistling skills alongwith Klaus for the intro! And with the entire crowd singing the song, Klaus, as he did many times before, pointed the mic to the crowd itself. But I have to say, even at the fag end of the concert his voice was still as smooth and melodious as it was at the beginning. And so when he finally screamed,”Bangalore, we will not leave you until we ROCK YOU LIKE A…..”, the crowd finished “….HURRICANE!” That was exactly the instant when the entire crowd went hysterical! Man! That was a dream come true for all present there! It was really the most electrifying experience of the evening! What with Rudolph, Jabs and Pawel displaying their guitaring skills through the song! And once the song was done, I really thought the show was over. The crowd was screaming for one more. Frankly, I wasnt hopeful as they had just belted out their best number! But once I saw Rudolph getting his acoustic guitar, I knew what was coming! And when he played the intro to “When the Smoke is Going Down”, I felt the evening complete! That was one song that I had to see them play and finally it felt as if that was one of the best evenings I’ve had since a long time! And when they finally grouped together right in front of me for the last time, I was happy to have just been there and seen them perform!
Now please allow me to bring to your attention some arbit things that happened during the show:
1) There were these really over enthusiastic girls right behind me throughout the show who were jumping around, beside and on me(which incidentally I hoped was more than just mere consequential!). Now what happens if you have two screaming girls right behind you at a Scorpions concert? Simple: You get a hearing impediment! Thats right! My hearing is really screwed up, even after a full day, thanks largely to the insanely high frequencies of the females voice behind me. I am going to see the ENT doctor tomo.
2) There was this dude right next to my friend, who I later learnt, was nothing more than a zombie! It was as if he never existed. My friend mocked him on quite a few occassions drawing cheers from the junta around him! Dude! Get a life!
3) And as is the case in any concert, the NO SMOKING arena turned into nothing less than a smokers’ paradise with the atmosphere getting all hazy hazy in due time. Also I couldnt help but identify the smell of weed on quite a few occassions and searched around for the stoned but couldnt find them. I guess they were too high for me to spot!
4) Now anyone in the front will clearly recollect the woman Klaus kept pointing at. Now the only sensible reason I can think of as to why Klaus would point at this female is that she was the most visible one! Thats it! She was as huge as huge needs to get to be pointed out from the front row. Needless to say, she was all like “OMG Klaus pointed at me! Klaus pointed at me!” Yeah now shut the F*** up!
5) There were a few morons who thought it would be cool to throw things at the stage. Thankfully none of them connected with the band members.
6) Unfortunately the crowd turnout this time was far lesser than what it usually is thanks largely due to the non existent publicity. But it was still sizeable nonetheless.
7) I switch on the TV channels in the morning hoping to see a report on the concert and also the possibility of seeing my face in it. But what do I see as breaking news? Check this out! “The Great Khali loses in WWE!!!” What the F***????? Firstly, since when did these news channels begin to report on WWE? And secondly, if that dude loses a match, so F***in what? Is that news? I mean dont these morons know that WWE is just a bunch of made up shit for entertainment? I mean this shit was practically on all news channels for the major half of the half hour news upto about 4 in the evening! OMFG!
8) Now here is the most funny thing: After my futile wait to see my face on TV, I was searching today on the net for an article on the concert and I came across this article by Times of India(btw, I dont read subscribe to TOI as it is widely acknowledged to provide the lamest news possible). Now before I say anything, I would anyday place a huge bet on the fact that whichever moron wrote this report (some dude by name Prashanth G N) never went to the f***in concert in the first place!! Seriously…. if you read his article, he claims that The Scorpions sang YOU AND I and UNDER THE SAME SUN! I wish! Apparently this sorry dude thought that those songs were popular enough and ‘assumed’ that they would sing it in the concert! Man you better go commit suicide than giving some sad and wrong reviews. You are a disgrace to journalism! Oh btw, TOI SUCKS!
9) I narrowly missed out on catching one of the scores of drum sticks that Klaus was throwing away. Fortunately my friend got hold of one. (Damn! He refused to share it!)
10) And I must have seen the Hero Honda Hunk ad enough number of times (32 to be precise) to be persuaded to go blast the first Hero Honda Hunk that I saw! Anyway I would like to thank Hero Honda for making this event possible and succesful and blah blah blah…. Oh btw, I was being sarcastic.
I will be putting up my pics and giving links to some of the videos that my friend took with his mobile cam. That will be in a day or two. So watch the space for more. And if I have missed out on any other important thing that happened, please feel free to let me know in the comments…