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The Scorpions gave us a mostly electric show (in both senses of the word), though the show was called Acoustica

The lights dimmed for a goodbye but the delirious throng would have none of it. The demand for an encore couldn't have been more deafening

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Longing for a sting: curtainraiser to the Bangalore show


Electric show, damp PR

The Scorpions, like their delirious fans, enjoyed every moment of the Bangalore concert  

Palace Grounds
August 10

After a nasty incident with event company DNA's PR agency, half my enthusiasm for the concert waned: if the spin doctors themselves weren't too savvy on, well, putting a spin, what would the real McCoy do? I couldn't yet be deterred. So I jostled my way into the expanses of Palace Grounds (once a stately landscape frequented by the Mysore royalty) to buy the last of the tickets.

That's where I realised that the ham-handed PR guys hadn't fully dampened my spirits. I cheerfully waited two hours for the security to let us in. And another hour before The Scorpions actually came in -- just the four of them -- to kick off an amazing show of light and steam that made me think I was in a Pink Floyd concert rather than in a show by the baddest boys in the business who make "Lucifer resemble Pee Wee Herman".

Before the concert actually began, I was made to show the contents of my bag -- which contained a Rushdie book and a bottle of water which was confiscated for "security reasons" -- and my pockets, the contents of which were: a wallet, a hankie, a key-chain and some bottles of homeopathic tabs which were, of course, confiscated because the security guy thought they were drugs of the other kind, though how they didn't notice guys who were smoking pot in the concert beats me.

Hearts, though, were in our mouths when Klaus Meine of the beautiful voice came on stage dressed to a nicety. Women fainted, men screamed and boys squealed with delight as Ralph Riekermann, Rudolf Schenker and James Kottak ("all the way from California," as Klaus gushed far too often) took their places on bass, rhythm guitar and drums, respectively. We also respectfully watched James tearing the skins in a blitzkreig solo later on in the show.

The Scorpions gave us a mostly electric show (in both senses of the word), though the show was called Acoustica. When they ripped into The zoo, not one Rock Animal in the ground was standing still: He was either headbanging away to glory or screaming the lyrics out till he was hoarse. When the band segued into the fantastic When love kills love, not even the best DJ in the world could have warmed the crowd into such an amazing frenzy. Fans screamed and whistled with joy as they saw founder-member and guitarist, Rudolf Schenker, take his signature stance -- legs split, the guitar becoming an extension of him -- and play some awesome power chords. At one point, Schenker even lay flat and waved, gyrated, and played his guitar in the air. It reminded one of how the lead guitarist in Parikrama -- an up-and-coming Delhi band - had played his guitar at the India Rocks show held at Bangalore some time ago.

Matthias Jabs, the band's lead guitarist, too showed off some of his amazing skills on the fretboard, giving us a terrific solo which whipped the crowd into ecstatic delight as they screamed for "more". If the four numbers they belted hadn't warmed the crowd up, the entry of the 15-member orchestra sure helped. The ensemble had an amazing cellist and an equally good guitarist, both of whom lent soul to such ballads as Always somewhere and Holiday.

And when The Scorpions went into the fantastic Is there Anybody There?, there was such a tremendous response it shook Klaus Meine, who couldn't find enough words to say "Bangalore, you're amazing!"

Well, it was time to wrap the show up and the band members, with exaggerated bows, bade farewell to the crowd. The lights dimmed and some inane (for the occasion) Weather Report title did a desultory blare. The delirious throng would have none of it. The demand in unison for an encore couldn't have been more deafening.

Backstage, the band sat shaking its head in disbelief. Meine came back on the now brightly-lit stage and reintroduced the rest of the band. They then launched into the romantic, yet loud Still loving you, with the crowd joining the amiable Klaus on the vocals. This was followed by one of the band's most famous numbers, Rock you like a hurricane, a number that drew thousands into making a throaty, pulsating chorus. Meine stood there, grinning, letting the crowd take over.

The genial Germans saved their best for the last, with Rock you like a hurricane melding into that famous, sweet whistle of Klaus: yes, it was Winds of change, which had the crowd so grateful and happy that, like one contented young man said, "We can die now, man, gratefully!"

It will be some time before any of us forgets the pure energy of the Scorpions. The raw feel that assaults you at a live show can never be relived on CD or an audiotape.

Niki Nirvikalpa

Published on 12 Aug 2001

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