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It’s the 34th Anniversary of The US Festival ‘Heavy Metal Day’ – I was there…a recap

by on May.29, 2017, under INTERVIEWS, ROCK NEWS, ROCK TOUR DATES, VIDEO

It’s the 34th Anniversary of The US Festival ‘Heavy Metal Day’ – I was there…a recap

Today is the 34th Anniversary of the 1983 US Festival. The US Festivals (US pronounced like the pronoun, not as initials) were two early 1980s music and culture festivals sponsored by Steve Wozniak, formerly of Apple Computer. The first was held Labor Day weekend in September 1982 and the second was Memorial Day weekend in May 1983. The 1982 US Festival was the first major festival since Cal Jam II that was not a charity concert—it was intended to be celebration of evolving technologies; a marriage of music, computers, television and people. That continued in 1983, even though Wozniak had lost millions on the first US Festival. The festival also had large air-conditioned tents featuring the US Festival Technology Exposition— a dazzling display of then-cutting edge computers, software, and electronic music devices. Also making a debut were installations of "out-door rain" - perforated pvc nozzles that sprayed water to fight the fierce hundred degree heat.

I attended Heavy Metal Day in 1983 with my friend Robert and arrived on Saturday May 28 during New Wave Day. There was a sea of cars, miles of them, and thousands of people milling around everywhere. School buses would take you back and forth to the entrance to this new make-shift venue. I do remember shortly after finding a spot to park some guys in a panel truck backed in asking if the spot was taken opposite of us. We said "no", they parked and then opened up the back of the truck, loaded with two kegs and the party was on.

There was small creek within walking distance near by, and we walked over there to cool off since it was close to 100 degrees that day. There was a hillside with a sharp incline on the other side of the creek, and many people scaled (or tried to scale) it during the day and in the time we were there. There was plenty of poison ivy around so you weren't going to catch me scaling anything. I saw a few people walk right through or fall onto poison ivy, I could imagine that probably made the concert the next day really fun. I also remember hearing Oingo Boingo, English Beat and Flock Of Seagulls during the day when we were within the vicinity of the venue.

Steve Wozniak paid for the bulldozing and construction of this new open-air field venue as well as the construction of an enormous state-of-the-art temporary stage at Glen Helen Regional Park near Devore, San Bernardino, California. This site was later to become home to Blockbuster Pavilion—now San Manuel Amphitheater. Apparently the festival stage has resided at the Disneyland theme park in California since 1985 and had operated under various names and functions as the Videopolis dance club, the Videopolis Theatre, and the Fantasyland Theatre. On that day it was soon to have some of the best rockers of the era on it.

As darkness fell and more and more people arrived for Heavy Metal Day, one big night-time Rock Festival within itself started. KMET and KLOS blared from car stereos, as well as music from the cassette decks and boom boxes of the bands we would be hearing the next day. The smell of BBQ's and marijuana billowed into the air. We walked around in this small city of rockers that seemingly extended forever. It definitely was one huge party, with bonfires everywhere and virtually no supervision. We partied that night, and went to sleep in the car eagerly anticipating what was to come the next morning.

We woke up, stretched out from sleeping in odd positions in the car, and made our way the few miles to the entrance to the venue. It was early in the morning, probably 8am or so, and there was already thousands of people waiting to get inside, looking to get as close to the stage as possible. Once we got inside concert goers had layed blankets down, taking claim to their spots. Somehow a few got in, considering there was no coolers, outside food, chairs or towels being allowed. Those with blankets, etc., lasted for awhile, but slowly but surely, as the day progressed, so did the intensity of the crowd. Needless to say, no one was sitting down or laying on a blanket and all of that was swallowed up in this mass of people.

Here was the lineup and times:
Sunday May 29th:
Quiet Riot [12:10 - 12:50 pm]
Motley Crue [1:20 - 2:20]
Ozzy Osbourne [2:50 - 4:00]
Judas Priest [4:30 - 5:40]
Triumph [6:10 - 7:20]
Scorpions [7:55 - 9:10]
Van Halen [10:00 - midnight]

Finally the time had arrived with the first rock act hitting the stage: Quiet Riot. Randy Rhoads (who left to play with Ozzy in 1979) had passed away by now, and Quiet Riot had long since found Carlos Cavazo to play guitar. The Los Angeles metal scene was taking over, and Quiet Riot as well as Motley Crue were the two biggest new bands to come out of L.A. at this time. Quiet Riot was raring up the charts with the "Metal Health" album, which ultimately became the first metal album to go #1 on the Billboard charts. The late Kevin DuBrow instantly got the crowd fired up, and it didn't stop for hours! Heat exhaustion to go around!


"It was the day new wave died and rock n' roll took over" - Vince Neil, in a famous quote regarding the overwhelming attendance on Sunday, "Heavy Metal Day", at the '83 US Festival. It set the single-day concert attendance record for the US with an estimated 375,000 people. Showtime recorded the event and aired a 90-minute special for each day of
the festival, which is where most of this footage comes from. Motley Crue had not yet released "Shout At The Devil", but it was due out soon, and the band performed songs from the album. Motley really was coming into their own at this point and their following was growing and growing nation and worldwide.

Ozzy Osbourne rocked the US Festival with the first live performance with guitarist Jake E. Lee, who shined in this huge first gig. The head dress Ozzy wore during the show was well publicized and photographed, even though it only lasted for a few seconds before he tore it off. Ozzy's band at this time included Jake E. Lee, Bob Daisley on Bass, Tommy Aldridge on drums and Don Airey on keyboards. Ozzy released "Bark At The Moon" later that year.
It was blazing hot during his set, with the crowd looking for the "out-door rain" stations to cool off, before heading back into the madness! The concert organizers actually gave away water to the crowd, something that we would be charged $5 bucks for these days.



Judas Priest hit the stage next and thankfully near the end of it, the temperature started to cool down a bit. The Metal God and the rest of the band were at their peak in 1983, a fully confident unit, effortlessly rocking everyone and everywhere they played. The "Screaming For Vengeance" album was just huge, and when the band played "You've Got Another Thing Coming" the crowd went absolutely fucking nuts!

As Canadian trio Triumph got ready to hit the stage next, the crowd got a second wind, as the temperatures dropped and the rock kept on coming. Rik Emmett, Gil Moore and Mike Levine were ready to put on the show of their life, and they didn't disappoint. The band had a great core of material to work with at this point, and had released the album "Never Surrender" earlier in 1983. Great set as the sun set! The band released a live DVD of the US Festival set back in 2003, so there is all of their full set here. They were smart to retain the rights to the video for their set. Awesome footage:



The Scorpions were up next and just fucking blew doors! They were another band who I really felt were at or close to their peak of impact. Sure, they still released "Love At First Sting" a year later, but played the US Festival with a full arsenal of rock from the "Blackout" album and their past catalog. Just an awesome set!!


Before Van Halen hit the stage, there was a fake UFO flying around. It looked so fake, it just seemed stupid and I didn't really see the point in it, somebody was trying to be creative I guess?

Van Halen received an upfront sum of $1 million to headline the 1983 US Festival. It was then upped to $1.5 million after it was discovered that David Bowie was to be paid $1 million. Van Halen had a clause in their contract that they would be paid more than any other act performing at the festival. In contrast, on New Wave Day, The Clash refused to play unless some donations were made to charities or other such noble causes by Wozniak and some of the other major bands. Before the Clash began their set they made angry comments about the barrio conditions in Los Angeles. After The Clash performed, the DJ began speaking right away and Clash guitarist Mick Jones attacked the DJ, believing he was trying to prevent an encore.

This and The Clash's ironic criticism of the festival in the press conferences and in interviews prior to the event caused an argument backstage between Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth and The Clash singer Joe Strummer. This may have also been started by a comment guitarist Eddie Van Halen made in Rolling Stone magazine one month prior regarding the punk movement ("...that's like what I played in my garage when I was a kid, man."). A clearly intoxicated Roth compounded this rivalry by insulting The Clash on stage early during Van Halen's headlining set with his comment, "I wanna take this time to say that this is real whiskey here... the only people who put iced tea in Jack Daniel's bottles is The Clash, baby!" This was Roth's only mention of The Clash on stage that night. Many people in the audience thought Roth was way too drunk and the show suffered because of it. I stayed longer than most however, as it had been a long, long day. We heard "Happy Trails" as we were heading out. Looking back on the video, I wouldn't really change anything about their performance though, because it was Van Halen history!

Here's the band's full set and some better quality clips of some of the individual song performances:




We after we made our way back to our vehicle, partied a bit and mellowed out while recollecting about what an amazing day it had been we crashed and got ready for the trek back home. My one last memory of US Festival '83 goes like this: I became separted from my friend Rob after hopping out of his vehicle to retrieve something from someone while in line to exit. I then couldn't find his car in the sea of vehicles. Don't ask me why I got out of the car..anyway, I was lucky enough to find a couple of guys who I had met before that lived in Pismo Beach, near my hometown. Yeah, I had to ride in the back seat for hours in a Trans Am with virtually no leg room (my knees were up in my face), and couldn't walk when I got out, but these guys gave me a ride to my front door. Looking back, I can't believe my parents let me go to this show, since I was a sophmore in high school, but I am glad they did. My daughter would certainly not be going away to a music festival as decadent as this one, although they don't do festivals like this in the U.S. anymore. It was insane fun and it was my Woodstock and I'll never forget it!

Here's an Artisan News Report from June of 2010 about that years Ozzfest, where Ozzy, Judas Priest's Rob Halford and Motley Crue reflected on the last time they had all played together...it was at the US Festival:


Fast Tube



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Scorpions announce 2015 North American Tour dates

by on Feb.25, 2015, under CD/DVD RELEASES, LINKS, ROCK NEWS, ROCK TOUR DATES

Scorpions announce 2015 North American Tour dates

Scorpions have added North America tour dates to their schedule for this September/October. The tour is in support of their new album, 'Return To Forever.'
North American tour dates:

Sep. 10 - Boston, MA - Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Sep. 12 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclay's Arena
Sep. 13 - Gilford, NH - Meadwobrook
Sep. 18 - Toronto, ON - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Sep. 19 - Montreal, QC - Bell Centre
Sep. 22 - Columbus, OH - LC Pavilion
Sep. 23 - Cleveland, OH - Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
Sep. 25 - Windsor, ON - Caesar's Windsor
Sep. 26 - Chicago, IL - Allstate Arena
Oct. 1 - San Jose, CA - SAP Center
Oct. 2 - Los Angeles, CA - The Forum

Check out 60 second snippets of all the songs from 'Return To Forever' on the band's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Scorpions/app_1374262189556939. The new album is out now in Europe and slated for a North American release in March. Twelve tracks are featured on the album, sixteen on the Deluxe Edition. They all present the Scorpions at the peak of their creativity once again. Tracks like the first single “We Built This House” are as contemporary as the sweeping “House Of Cards” (a guaranteed live hit). Also belonging in the category live hit is “Eye Of The Storm”, a track, that transports a notion of the unbelievable dynamic and joy of playing, characterizing the Scorpions’ stage performances. In songs like “We Built This House” the band reflects the past fifty years; their philosophy and the lessons, their unusual life taught them. Klaus Meine: “In the end, it tells our story. We’ve built this house called Scorpions brick by brick and often quite arduously. From the first days in Hannover, the first concerts abroad, until this very day. We’ve weathered severe storms, but the house withstood everything, turned out to be wheatherproof and stable. However, building the house was never just cumbersome, but joyful as well. The joy of music, the joy of having experienced and still experiencing it all, the joy of – and the thankfulness for – the fans’ affection. We have been working hard for this dream, but we’re thankful as well for having been able to live it, and for still being able to live it today.”

Deluxe CD  http://smarturl.it/RTF_deluxe

Vinyl http://smarturl.it/RTF_Vinyl

Box Set http://smarturl.it/RTF_BoxSet

CD http://smarturl.it/RTF_CD

Scorpions Return To Forever album cover

Scorpions Return To Forever album cover Scorpions 2015

 

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Ronnie James Dio Tribute album ‘This Is Your Life’ to be released April 1

by on Feb.10, 2014, under CD/DVD RELEASES, NEWS, ROCK NEWS

Ronnie James Dio Tribute album ‘This Is Your Life’ to be released April 1

A new tribute album celebrating the legacy and life of Ronnie James Dio is set for release 0n April 1st. Titled 'This Is Your Life', the album features new covers of songs from Dio's entire career with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell by a number of hard rock's biggest names.

Metallica recorded the 'Ronnie Rising Medley, a nine-minute medley of songs from Dio's years in Rainbow, including 'Stargazer,' 'Kill the King,' 'Tarot Woman' and 'A Light in the Black.' Anthrax offer the Black Sabbath track 'Neon Knights' and Motörhead along with Saxon vocalist Biff Byford bring the Rainbow track 'Starstruck.' The Scorpions rock 'The Temple Of The King,' with Halestorm contributing 'Straight Through The Heart.'

Rob Halford teams up with Dio alum Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, and Scott Warren for 'The Man On The Silver Mountain.' Corey Taylor (Stone Sour, Slipknot) covers 'Rainbow In The Dark,' with Jack Black and Kyle Glass of Tenacious D bringing their version of 'The Last In Line.' Killswitch Engage’s cover from 2006 of 'Holy Diver' is included, as is Doro's take on 'Egypt (The Chains Are On).' Adrenaline Mob rocks 'The Mob Rules' and a group, led by Oni Logan on vocals along with Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, and Brian Tichy, perform 'I.' Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze, Black Sabbath, Black Country Communion) joins other members of Dio’s solo band: Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Scott Warren for 'Catch The Rainbow.' a track from Rainbow’s debut album.

Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer in 2010 but his spirit and legacy live on. Proceeds from the album will benefit the Ronnie James Dio Stand UP and Shout Cancer Fund, the non-profit charity fund co-founded by Dio's widow Wendy (who also produced the album). The organization is dedicated to supporting cancer-prevention research, raising awareness and educating the public about the vital importance of early detection and prevention.

Track Listing:
1. Anthrax - Neon Knights
2. Tenacious D - The Last In Line
3. Adrenaline Mob - The Mob Rules
4. Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher - Rainbow In The Dark
5. Halestorm - Straight Through The Heart
6. Motörhead with Biff Byford of Saxon - Starstruck
7. Scorpions - Temple Of The King
8. Doro - Egypt (The Chains Are On)
9. Killswitch Engage - Holy Diver
10. Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren - Catch the Rainbow
11. Jimmy Bain, Oni Logan, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy - I
12. Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren - Man On The Silver Mountain
13. Metallica - Ronnie Rising Medley (featuring A Light in the Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer, Kill the King)
14. Dio - This Is Your Life

Dio This Is Your Life Cover

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Michael Schenker brings his ‘Temple Of Rock’ to SLO Brew (photos)

by on Feb.05, 2014, under LINKS, PHOTOS, ROCK NEWS, ROCK TOUR DATES

Michael Schenker brings his ‘Temple Of Rock’ to SLO Brew (photos)

The artistry, the longevity and the magnitude of a man who is truly a guitar legend was in full effect as Michael Schenker brought his latest incarnation of the Micheal Schenker Group to SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California on Tuesday night (Feb. 4) for a night of stellar ROCK!

After an opening set by the band Gundriver, featuring an animated frontman and a sound that harked back to the NWOBHM, the anticipation in the room built for the man who who has truly built a "Temple Of Rock."

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Playing selections from his entire career, Schenker and his current U.S. touring unit ripped through early Scorpions songs, classic UFO and MSG tracks, and selections from the latest album 'Bridge The Gap.' Opening with a fantastic new track 'Neptune Rising/Where the Wild Wind Blows' set the tone for the evening and let everyone know Michael means business with this new material. The new album is truly full of great material that stands up and fits right in with all the classic material of his past.

That was followed by an onslaught of the best from MSG. 'Armed and Ready,' 'Cry for the Nations,' 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie,' 'Assault Attack,' Attack of the Mad Axeman,' Rock My Nights Away' and 'Into The Arena' fired up the crowd of Schenker diehards and the momentum continued from there.

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Schenker's current lineup, including long time member/collaborators Wayne Findlay on 7 string guitar and keyboards, Rev Jones on bass (MSG, Steelheart, Mountain, Paul Gilbert, Fuel, Jeff Martin, George Lynch, Kottak, Forte, and Black Symphony) and Pete Holmes on drums (Black 'N Blue), kicked it up even further with Scorpions tracks 'Lovedrive' and 'Another Piece of Meat.' Current vocalist Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force) delivered powerful vocals with a nice range and stage banter that fully connected.

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A track written by Michael and Doogie for Ronnie James Dio followed, with 'Before the Devil Knows You're Dead' paying tribute to their former friend and rock legend. Michael truly showed a happiness and joy on stage throughout, smiling like I had never seen him show in concert before. He has come through this monster of a music business with all of its trials and tribulations like a champion, and looks healthier and happier than I may have ever seen him before.

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The UFO tracks 'Shoot Shoot,' 'Only You Can Rock Me,' 'Let It Roll,' 'Too Hot To Handle,' 'Lights Out,' Rock Bottom' and 'Doctor Doctor' wrapped up the show on such a high note, the crowd could have rocked until the sun came up and still been wanting more. A fantastic show in a club setting.....a perfect way to see up close and personal the greatness of an EPIC guitar legend!

For everything Michael Schenker, check out his official website: www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Special thanks to Chip Ruggieri/Chipster PR & Consulting, Inc.

Set List:
1. Neptune Rising
2. Where the Wild Wind Blows
3. Armed and Ready (Michael Schenker Group)
4. Cry for the Nations (Michael Schenker Group)
5. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Michael Schenker Group)
6. Assault Attack (Michael Schenker Group)
7. Attack of the Mad Axeman (Michael Schenker Group)
8. Rock My Nights Away (Michael Schenker Group)
9. Into the Arena (Michael Schenker Group)
10. Lovedrive (Scorpions)
11. Another Piece of Meat (Scorpions)
12. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
13. Horizons
14. Shoot Shoot (UFO)
15. Only You Can Rock Me (UFO)
16. Let It Roll (UFO)
17. Too Hot to Handle (UFO)
18. Lights Out (UFO)
19. Rock Bottom (UFO)
20. Doctor Doctor (UFO)

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Scorpions ‘MTV Unplugged’ set for release on January 21

by on Nov.04, 2013, under CD/DVD RELEASES, LINKS, ROCK NEWS, VIDEO

Scorpions ‘MTV Unplugged’ set for release on January 21

On September 11 and 12, 2013, Klaus Meine (vocals, guitars), Rudolf Schenker (guitars, vocals), Matthias Jabs (guitars), Pawel Maciwoda (bass) and James Kottak (drums) of The Scorpions played two fantastic acoustic sets in the Lycabettus theatre of Athens. The open-air theatre, which was designed by the Greek architect Takis Zenetos in 1965 – and thus is just the same age as the story of the Scorpions – is situated on Mount Lycabettus, at 300m height, and offers an impressive view of the Greek metropolis. But the spectacular scenery is not the only reason that convinced the Scorpions to choose Athens for the first ever open-air show in the history of MTV Unplugged.

‘When we were approached with the idea of playing an unplugged show, we immediately thought of Greece,’ Klaus Meine recalls. Matthias Jabs adds, ‘We have fabulous fans all over the world, but the Greeks are absolute die-hard fans.’ Concerning the choice of venue, the Lycabettus theatre, Meine explains, ‘We played here many years ago. It is a beautiful place. I can remember that even back then the fans climbed onto the surrounding rocks. Of course we played some of the greatest classics this time, but we also performed a few new songs as well as material that we had never played live up to then. Those are songs which are very popular with the fans but which somehow never made it onto the set lists.’

More than ten years ago, the Scorpions had already played a few acoustic sets, the result of which, ‘Acoustica’, was released on CD and DVD in 2001, with great international success. However, the current program, including a total of two dozen songs, is virtually completely different. First of all, we have the band’s brand new songs, whose stunning live debut filled the audience with instant enthusiasm. Alongside ‘Dancing With The Moonlight’ and ‘Rock'n'Roll Band’, both of which can be easily imagined in perfect rock versions, Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs presented one song each penned by every artist himself. The instrumental track ‘Delicate Dance’ with Matthias Jabs as leader is based on guitar spheres which could easily settle in between the psychedelic glamour of Pink Floyd and the boogie folk of Led Zeppelin. ’Love Is The Answer’ is a ballad for which Rudolf Schenker took over as lead vocalist – a feat that does not happen very often. And immediately after this, Klaus Meine surprises us with the world premiere of ‘Follow Your Heart’, another power ballad destined for the charts.

The show is opened by ‘Sting In The Tail’, arranged in Cajun style. This song, taken from the eponymous album of 2010, bears witness to how deeply the Scorpions are rooted in rock'n'roll and blues, virtually the topsoil and nurture of hard rock. The same applies to the set of classics that follow, such as ‘Pictured Life’, ‘Speedy's Coming’ or the hymnal ‘Born To Touch Your Feelings’, in which the Greek actress Dimitra Kokkori surprises with a truly heart-wrenching spoken-word part. It goes without saying that the beautiful lady is not the only guest starring at this exceptional event. On the nights featured here, the five Scorpions can count on the relentless support of the Swedish musicians and producers Mikael Nord Andersson (guitars, mandolin, lap steel, vocals) and Martin Hansen (guitars, harmonica, vocals), who are also responsible for the arrangements made specifically for the MTV Unplugged Show, and who also produced the latest Scorpions studio album.

Further Swedish support comes in the shapes of Ola Hjelm (guitars, vocals) and Hans Gardemar (keyboards, accordion, vocals), as well as from percussionist PiTTi Hecht from Hannover, who is renowned as one of the best percussionists in Europe. To round off this magnificent cast performing at the Lycabettus theatre, there is a string ensemble consisting of eight Greek ladies, whom Klaus Meine introduces as ‘The Strings from Heaven’. Indeed, a truly heavenly performance is offered by Klaus Meine and Hamburg-based CÄTHE with their version of ‘In Trance’. CÄTHE, who released her second album, ‘Verschollenes Tier’, this summer, shows all her charisma in this true seventies classic. ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’, one of the most popular rock songs by the Scorpions, and frenetically applauded by the audience, features Revolverheld’s Johannes Strate as guest vocalist battling with Klaus Meine, and the ultimate world hit ‘Wind Of Change’ offers a unique aha-experience in its own right when Morten Harket comes on stage for this encore.

Throughout its two-and-a-half hours, the show captivates with its numerous intimate moments and infectious adrenaline rushes (such as during a percussion solo). And there are even more nuggets from the sheer endless stock of hits – such as ‘Still Loving You’ and ‘Big City Nights’, ‘No One Like You’ and ‘When The Smoke Is Going Down’ – as well as a few welcome surprises to dazzle the connoisseur. ‘When You Came Into My Life’, where Rudolf Schenker plays a sitar, is one of those tracks which the Scorpions had never before played live, as are ‘Where The River Flows’ and ‘Passion Rules The Game’. In view of this unplugged marathon with the stunning emotional momentum it conveys, it is difficult to pinpoint single highlights, but what can be stated with certainty is that the Scorpions evidently enjoyed this musical rollercoaster ride through their own history. It is equally obvious that both rock songs and power ballads display their class and style even when rendered as acoustic versions. The melodies maintain their timeless compositional appeal and the quality of the performance proves time and again that the Scorpions are blessed – this time especially by the Greek gods, it seems.

Let us glance into the future: MTV Unplugged will be released in 50 countries and promises to be yet another success story in the sheer limitless Scorpions saga. Fans can also look forward to the documentary motion picture ‘Big City Nights’ by Katja von Garnier, whose band portrait will be shown in cinemas before it is later released on DVD.

‘MTV Unplugged’ by the Scorpions is released on January 21, available as double CD, DVD, Bluray and in various other digital and physical configurations.

For more info, go to www.the-scorpions.com/english


Scorpions MTV Unplugged album cover

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