Review: ULI JON ROTH Performs With The SCORPIONS For First Time In 27 Years

On September 10, SCORPIONS and Uli Jon Roth performed their first concert together in Colmar, France, since they had been on stage together in Tokyo in 1978. For many of Uli Jon Roth and SCORPIONS fans, this was a very emotional and truly historic event which they had long been waiting for.

The Parc Expo amphitheatre was virtually sold out, with approximately 8,000 people in the audience. After two support bands, Uli took to the stage just after dusk at 8:30 p.m. with a new band which he had put together especially for this event and which was well rehearsed. (Rehearsals took place in Hanover, Germany, in the week leading up to the show.)

Uli and his band played a 70-minute-plus set, which featured three songs from REQUIEM FOR AN ANGEL alongside material from his ELECTRIC SUN and SCORPIONS days. For the last two songs he was joined by his old SCORPIONS buddy, Rudy Lenners, and they performed "Catch Your Train" and "Polar Nights" together. The audience responded enthusiastically throughout the virtually flawless Uli Jon Roth set, which premiered two beautiful new songs from the REQUIEM — the unique and powerful rock epic "Land of Dawn" and the slow and heartfelt instrumental "Forgive", which Uli had written especially for that show two weeks ago. The intensity of Uli's performance and that of his band in connection with the images on the screen was palpable. Further highlights included "Sky Overture", which was the opener, a full-length version of "Winds of War", a mind-blowing "Enola Gay – Hiroshima Today?" and the new orchestral version of "The Sails Of Charon", which was particularly well received. The set also featured a brief version of "Virgin Killer", followed by another SCORPIONS classic from the Uli era, "Fly to the Rainbow".

The SCORPIONS soundcheck took place at 1:30 in the afternoon, and it was a sweltering day in Colmar. Uli, Mathias Jabs and Pawel had a little jam session onstage before the soundcheck proper, which lasted for about an hour. SCORPIONS and Uli rehearsed four songs at the soundcheck and the feeling onstage was great from the word go. Briefly before the concert it was decided to also include "Kojo No Tsuki" in the set. Following Uli Jon Roth, SCORPIONS played an amazing set, and Uli joined them halfway through to play the four songs together. Klaus Meine gave Uli a very warm welcome onstage and there were smiles all round when Klaus said, "Please give a big welcome to the legendary Uli Jon Roth!" The audience were spellbound and went wild with the excitement of this once-in-a-lifetime moment. The first song was "In Trance", which Uli kicked off with a haunting improvised guitar intro and when Klaus started to sing, the audience immediately chanted along with him. The guitar lead was shared by Uli and Mathias Jabs in harmony, and the two guitarreros sounded great together while Rudolf Schenker was blasting his famously energetic and relentless power chords underneath. The next song on the menu was "Pictured Life", which the band hadn't played for ages. This was followed by the sort-of impromptu version of "Kojo No Tsuki" from "Tokyo Tapes". Klaus dedicated the next song, "We'll Burn the Sky", to Monika Dannemann, Uli's deceased girlfriend, who had written the lyrics to that SCORPIONS classic back in 1977. The band then continued their set and Uli came out for the encores again to play "He's A Woman – She's A Man". Rudy Lenners also participated on that song playing along with James Kottak.

Prior to the show Klaus, Rudolf and Uli had a joint interview with one of the French rock magazines and gave television interviews.

There was a major glitch before the show regarding Uli's Mighty Wing Sky guitar. One of the tremolo bar springs at the back of the guitar had come off and rendered the guitar practically unplayable. Luckily — literally at the last moment — Rudolf's guitar technician and repair whiz — Peter Kirkman — performed 30 minutes of surgery and repaired the damage just in time for Uli to restring the precious instrument before the show. Uli had no spare guitar with him and would have had to pretty much cancel the show without Mighty Wing since none of his new material can be played on a standard instrument. Both Uli and SCORPIONS were very happy about the event, which came about rather unexpectedly and at pretty short notice under the auspices of French promoter Joelle Kilhofer of Music Forever.

During their joint interview in the afternoon Klaus and Uli already hinted to the press that they would like to see more of these events in the future and possibly go on tour together.

Check out pictures of the show (some of which will appear in the October 2005 issue of the Italian edition of Rock Hard magazine) at this location. A "France 3" French TV report on the one-off "reunion" can be viewed at this location (Windows Media) (NOTE: The report begins approximately 11 minutes and 16 seconds into the video.)


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