SCORPIONS – LIVE CONCERT REVIEW (Ontario CA 7/29/10)

Posted in: Rock And Roll |

I hate to sound like an old guy, but the first thing I noticed was the ample and easily navigated free parking at the Citizens Bank Arena in lovely Ontario California; and that the tailgating was relaxed and peaceful (complete opposite of the most recent Iron Maiden show I went to)…. and you know what? I liked  it! I grew up on hard rock, heavy metal and punk rock so I am no stranger to rock and roll danger, but the absence of that feeling was refreshing. When my buddy Seany “Two Pops” and I went in through the press entrance we were met by two really sweet ladies; both senior citizens who if push came to shove could have whooped up on us, so we minded our P’s and Q’s believe you me!

On to the show: We were a tad late, so we only got to hear two songs by seminal glam rockers Cinderella (not so glammed up in 2010 but still fashionably cool). What impressed me about Cinderella was how hard they rocked on Nobody’s Fool and Shake Me. As with any opening band, they have to go out with an abbreviated set, lower overall decibels, and no jumbo-tron screens or special effects to speak of. So when I heard Tom Keifer’s voice and saw him running across the stage giving it all he’s got, it left no doubt in my mind that they are a real rock force and should be seen if possible. In short – and I’m sure many years too late – after only two songs I became a Cinderella fan, and I will go see them again when I can catch the whole set.

Scorpions blasted onto the stage in a dazzling array of sound and vision, and immediately took me back to the summer of 1982 and my Sony cassette Walkman, playing Blackout over and over in the blistering hot Salinas California sun. (I chopped a Rattlesnake in half with a shovel while rocking to the title track. But I digress.)

It is always the sign of a great band when they can transform the environment and take you to another place. I was not the only one under the spell of the mighty Scorps, as fists were pumping and sing along choruses were being chanted (and screamed in some cases). Scorpions have announced that this will be last tour, and sadly I know it’s true. When Klaus Meine dedicated a beautiful acoustic rendition of Send Me An Angel to the late great Ronnie James Dio, I knew I was witnessing the end of an era.

As expected, we were all treated to a smorgasbord of Scorpion hits including No One Like You, Tease Me Please Me, Still Loving You, Bad Boys Running Wild, Holiday, The Zoo, Dynamite, Blackout, Big City Nights, and of course –  for the big goodbye – Rock You Like a Hurricane. We were also treated to a few choice cuts off the most recent and awesome Sting In The Tail (previously reviewed at a 5 out of 5). Raised on Rock and Sting In The Tail were great additions to the overpowered rock set, but it wasn’t until they played the power ballad The Best Is Yet to Come that reality set in….that this in fact is the end of one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal bands of all time.

One of the greatest things about Scorpions is that even if you’ve never heard one of their songs, by the one-third point you would know the sing along parts and could immediately identify it as one of “your” songs. This kind of song-crafting is so much harder to accomplish than it seems, and it is a talent that I have not noticed in most of the harder bands out there. (Sure, pop crap has that… but we don’t really need more Lady Gaga, do we?)

California’s own James Kottak had a fun and funny video-accompanied drum solo on his levitating drum platform. At the end of the solo he proudly proclaimed three little words: “You Kick Ass!” …And we really do!  So, ya know, we were like, yup… that’s true.

Later we got blasted by a scorching Matthias Jabs solo complete with dive bombs.

Rudolf Schenker seems to have limitless energy, running and leaping all over the stage throwing windmills galore. This guy is a true rock guitarist. It seems like he feels every chord. Pawel Maciwoda kept the low end in check on bass, and for the most part just hung in the background.

As expected, Scorpions played like the well-oiled rock and roll machine that they are, and it was a celebration for the band and the fans alike. After a long and storied career, Scorpions are bidding us farewell with a last big bang. See this show before it’s too late!

Scorpions – You will be missed. Thank you for the fantastic memories.

5 Anarchy symbols (out of 5) J.S.L.

OZZY OSBOURNE – SCREAM

Posted in: Rock And Roll |


OZZY OSBOURNE  – SCREAM

Vocals: Ozzy Osbourne, Guitars: Gus G., Drums: Tommy Clufetos, Bass: Blasko, Keyboards: Adam Wakeman.

Produced by Ozzy and Kevin Churko.

When Ozzy’s in 1980 sang “I worship the dropouts who make their own rules” it made me feel less stupid for getting kicked out of 3 different high schools. Rock has always been the voice of rebellion and has helped many of us be more forthright with our emotions, ourselves and with others. Music in general like a good and true friend will stay with you through the good and the bad times as well.

There’s something about the new recording ‘SCREAM” that had me running right away to buy it.  Running out to buy a disc is something I haven’t done in regards to Ozzy since those first two solo albums with Randy (There is nothing wrong with the Zakk Wylde years it just wasn’t my cup of tea). This disc just feels right. There’s just something about this record and everybody’s chemistry, and/or maybe Ozzy’s health. Either way it is fantastic.

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Let me break it down for you:

1 LET IT DIE    Ozzy/Churko/Wakeman

That Meredith Brooks hit song “I’M A BITCH” and Berlin’s “SEX (I’M A)” comes to mind except this is intelligently socio political where as the other two were self indulgent masturbators. This is not a stripping pole song. This is the Ozzy that I fell in love with, the one who sang You can’t Kill Rock n Roll.

‘It’s a new day for the faceless take the torches from the useless”

‘Honest answers for the bruises full disclosure no excuses”

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2 LET ME HEAR YOU SCREAM Ozzy/Churko

A lyrical premise not often explored except in well done war films or Japanese theater. The premise being: ‘having respect for your enemy when they are also fighting as hard as they can’.

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3 SOUL SUCKER Ozzy/Churko

What could a 15 year old, a 40 year old and a 70 year old have in common? This is the most articulate and intelligent ‘F’U’ song I’ve ever heard, Ozzy at his finest and why I fell in love with him in the first place.

“My patience turns to violence I’m just a solitary man who wants to live a quiet life before when I cease to exist”

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4  LIFE WON’T WAIT Ozzy/Churko

This song feels like all the musicians involved are emanating care and love like one would for their own baby.

“Know that justice moves slow but it comes in the end rise”

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5 DIGGIN’ ME DOWN Ozzy/Churko/Wakema

The classical guitar and room to breathe is breathtaking, Ozzy and his band mates have got balls bigger than Texas on this track!

“Come on Jesus we’re all here waiting”

“How long cuz my faith is breaking”

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6 CRUCIFY Ozzy/Churko

The guitar by Gus G. is muscle, muscle and more elegant muscle. This song musically and lyrically is a dangerous enemy, it’s not clear here whether it be the devil, an unscrupulous car salesman or a bottle of vodka.  It could apply to anyone which is part of what makes it so ‘Salma Hayek dancing with a snake’ alluring if you know what I mean…

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7 FEARLESS Ozzy/Churko/Wakeman

A song over the fence and out of the ballpark that’s all I can say.

“I’d rather die on my feet than live a life on my knees”

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8 TIME Ozzy/Churko

This is my most favorite Ozzy song ever. And it makes me want to go pick up the other stuff that that he’s done in between Randy and this and give it a better listen.

I want this played at my funeral, until then I will listen to it often

“Stop waiting for tomorrow stop living in your dreams”

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9 I WANT IT MORE Ozzy/Churko

Ozzy again at his finest and reminds me of “How much land does a man need” as Leo Tolstoy once also wondered.

“How much can you get now? What’s the cost? Tell me was it everything you wanted everything you want”

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10 LATIMER’S MERCY Ozzy/Churko

I’ve never heard Ozzy sing better. This song reminds me of the fact that no matter what demons people go through there are real demons and that’s what it sounds like here. I think Ozzy personally always had demons but he’s attacking them here like nothing I’ve heard before from him before.

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11  I LOVE YOU ALL Ozzy/Churko/Wakeman

For someone who questions authority, religion, Jesus ex-cetera in previous tracks and on previous records Ozzy shows us that he is a spiritual man. It is a spiritual man who does not follow blindly, to be one who has questions and who rebels against what he thinks is wrong, suspect or whatever in any situation, religiously, politically, socially or inwardly.

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I love this record as much as his first two solo records (and a solo record is anything but a solo effort of course!) because I feel like we’ve grown up and I still love to hear Ozzy’s melodic insights and with this bunch of musicians they sound like they are obsessively in love with the songs they’re playing. Ozzy and producer Kevin Churko wrote the bulk of the record with keyboardist Wakeman co-writing a few of the songs. Lyrically this is no self indulgent rock star record, it’s balls to the walls bluntness, some may not like this record for whatever reason but this is the Ozzy Osbourne that I fell in love with. Ozzy is the Judy Garland/Elvis Presley of Heavy Metal (except for the tragic end). Who would want to witness their idols end in collision….it hurts, it hurts the fans…..Ozzy was in danger of that for a long while. He doesn’t sound in danger of that now. Which is why I came back. Rock n Roll is not science it’s visceral as one mans trash is another mans treasure and this disc coming into my life is welcomed, needed and much embraced.

5 stars (out of 5)

-That Monica Nelson

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