Once more the Greek fans’ favorites, Scorpions, played in Athens celebrating fifty years in rock doing what they do best with Motorhead’s drummer Mickey Dee replacing James Kottak, possibly permanently…
George Gakis and the Troublemakers opened up the evening at 7 o’clock under a ruthless sun, but thankfully there was also a cool breeze that made things a bit better. Not that a performer like him could ever be affected by something like that and once more with his revamped Troublemakers, with a new guitarist Kostas Kostadimas and Kostas Dimitriou on drums, kicked off with Deep Purple’s “Burn”. Their set was based on covers that went from his favorites Whitesnake to Doors, Pink Floyd and even to rock’n’roll that proved a great idea since the crowd loved it and even dance to it! A highlight during their performance was surely “Khasmir” as well as the way Gakis was in command of the audience throughout the show. Given the fact that it was quite early and people was starting to gather at the Water Park he did a great job. For the record he played two songs from his recent “Too Much Ain’t Never Enough” album, “Street Of Broken Dreams” and “Mi Me Koitas”.
Burn, Gimme All Your Love, Have A Nice Day, Street Of Broken Dreams, Khasmir, This Is The End/Another Brick In The Wall, Tutti-Frutti, Love In An Elevator, Is This Love, Mi Me Koitas Sta Matia
Then it was time for Firewind, just like a few years ago at the SEF Stadium, only this time Gus G’s band had a new singer, Henning Basse, on his first show in Athens, while at the same time the band was coming back after an absence of several years. The problem was though that the sound wasn’t good at all. The vocals were very loud in the mix, while you couldn’t the guitars clear enough and the drums sounded poor as well. All those made it almost impossible to judge this performance that someone would expect with great interest as it marks a whole new era for Firewind. Surely, Basse is a good frontman and performer, he played with the audience a lot and made them raise fists in the air and shout. His vocals are more aggressive and grainy than Apollo’s. Maybe he doesn’t fit that well on the songs we’ve enjoyed with his predecessor and comparisons are inevitable anyway, but I think that stuff like “I Am The Anger” that resumed their set was more fitting. Firewind had the “fire” and the energy, but the sound didn’t help them at all, plus during the end of the show and as the sun was coming down the lights on stage were inadequate. We have to wait and check them out at a better occasion that this to draw some conclusions as our expectations from Firewind are always the highest.
Into The Fire, Head Up High, Destination Forever, Set The World On Fire, Fire And The Fury, Few Against Many, Mercenary Man, Falling To Pieces, I Am The Anger
After quite a long wait and a miss mash of classic rock songs coming out from the PA the drums rose on the back of the stage and the lights went off for… “Going Out With A Bang”. All the cell phones, cameras and tablets what went up in the air made it really hard to even see the band. The party went on with “Make It Real” while on the video screens the Greek flag appeared to a general apotheosis.
Mickey Dee on drums certainly gives a new boost to the band with his limitless energy and thunderous playing, thanks to his heavier style, without losing feeling, while on the acoustic songs he joined the rest on the catwalk as a percussionist, while his t-shirt with his name in Greek surely created a steer, as well as his drums solo with the kit on great heights. The rest of the band’s performance is a boring cliché really! Because they are brilliant with Klaus Meine in great shape and Schenker/Jabs sprinting on the catwalk like teenagers. The emotions, the goose bumps and the participation of the audience to their show is Scorpions’ calling card. I don’t think you can doubt for a second that these guys live every moment they are on that stage. You see Rudolf at 67 jumping in the air, swapping guitars, going crazy on solos, getting mad with the crowd and then there is his eternal partner in crime, Klaus Meine, 68 years old playing the tambourine, singing in Greek, playing guitar and all that being flawless… what more can you ask?
As far as the setlist is concerned, that actually had the task to feature the German’s 50 years into a couple of hours, I’d say that it was satisfactory. Of course, if you ask a fan he’d give you a list with dozen of songs requests, but you can’t please everybody. Especially when there is still people who have never been in a Scorpions show before (yes, even in Greece!) you can avoid playing your greatest hits. You can’t turn your back on the foundation of what you’ve built your popularity on and the Scorps know that pretty well. That’s what the people appreciate too.
You can add as an extra highlight the great video projection that didn’t only capture what was going on stage but enhanced each songs with amazing visuals. For example on the ‘70s medley you could see some psychedelic lights and ambience, while on “Big City Nights” there was a whole big city scenery. So, the “package” was complete as always and Scorpions is still a guarantee of a great live show that will make the audience lough, cry, fill up with positive energy and feel ecstatic singing along their great songs.
Going Out With A Bang, Make It Real, The Zoo, Coast To Coast, Top Of The Bill/Steam Rock Fever/ Speedy’s Coming/Catch Your Train, We Built This House, Delicate Dance, Αγάπη Μου, Always Somewhere, Eye Of The Storm, Send Me An Angel, Wind Of Change, Rock’n’Roll Band, Dynamite, Drum Solo, Blackout, No One Like You, Big City Nights Still Loving You, Rock You Like A Hurricane