Concert Review – Scorpions (Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, 08/27/2022)

And the city of Montreal still believes in the Rock N’ Roll played by the most important band in the history of Germany.

OPENING ACT: Thundermother

One week after the stunning Rammstein concert in Montreal, and after several hikes through trails and mountains in different parks in Quebec, I was back to Montreal for an explosion of classic Rock N’ Roll at the Bell Centre thanks to the Rock Believer World Tour 2022 by the one and only German Hard Rock institution SCORPIONS, supported by the electrifying Swedish girls from THUNDERMOTHER. Unfortunately, due to an infection that afftecs Mr. David Coverdale’s ability to perform, there will be no Whitesnake in any of the North American dates, which was also the case in Montreal, reducing the whole night to three hours of music instead of maybe four and a half, and that’s my only complaint about the whole concert as they could have given Thundermother another 20 or 30 minutes to play.

Anyway, the crowd had only one hour form the opening of the doors at 6pm until the unstoppable girls from THUNDERMOTHER took Montreal by storm with their breathtaking Rock N’ Roll, presenting songs from their entire career while focusing as expected on their latest albums Heat Wave, from 2020, and their newborn beast Black and Gold, which will be reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose Show sooner than you can say “Rock N’ Roll”. Frontwoman Guernica Mancini, guitarist Filippa Nässil, drummer Emlee Johansson, and newcomer Mona “Demona” Lindgren, who has recently replaced Majsan Lindberg on bass, put on a tremendous show that will surely help to grow their fanbase in Canadian lands, delivering nonstop fire and energy to the audience. Songs like Whatever, Black and Gold and Loud and Free are pure adrenaline in the form of music, but it was their last batch of songs comprised of We Fight for Rock ‘n’ Roll, Watch Out and their rockin’ hymn Driving in Style that truly showed why they were chosen to open for the mighty Scorpions and why they’re becoming more and more famous and admired in the world of music. Guernica’s voice is like thunder, so powerful and loud, that I wonder where she will go armed with such striking pipes. Hopefully back to Canada in a not-so-distant future for a few more concerts.

Setlist
Whatever
The Road Is Ours
Dog From Hell
Try with Love
Back in ’76
Black and Gold
Loud and Free
I Don’t Know You
We Fight for Rock ‘n’ Roll
Watch Out
Driving in Style

Band members
Guernica Mancini – vocals
Filippa Nässil – guitar
Mona “Demona” Lindgren – bass
Emlee Johansson – drums 

SCORPIONS

After a very short break it was time for the most important band in the history of Germany to kick some serious ass with their undisputed fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll, putting a huge smile on the faces of every single person at the Bell Centre. As the name of the opening song of this new tour already says, the rockin’ SCORPIONS still have a lot of “gas in the tank”, which became crystal clear throughout their entire set blending new songs from the excellent Rock Believer with some of their biggest classics including Make It Real, Bad Boys Running Wild, Tease Me Please Me and Blackout. There was no time to breathe as those German rockers put the pedal to the metal until the very end, turning the night into another memorable visit to Montreal.

I honestly don’t know how Mr. Klaus Meine keeps on rockin’ like that at 74 years of age. He’s not human, he can’t be, as not only his voice is still fantastic, but his onstage performance is captivating. The same can be said about the band’s axe duo Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker, supported by the rumbling bass by Paweł Mąciwoda and, of course, the demolishing beats by Mikkey Dee. To be fair, I can’t think of a better place for Mikkey Dee to be after the end of Motörhead, and Scorpions are really lucky for having such talented drummer with them as they’ve never sounded so heavy and groovy in their entire career (and may that happy marriage last for all eternity).

From their new songs, the most exciting ones were of course the opener Gas in the Tank and Peacemaker, but the title-track Rock Believer also worked really well live inspiring us all to raise our fists and horns in the name of Rock N’ Roll. And what can I say about their classics? How many bands do you know that have so many rock hymns like Scorpions? Who doesn’t love to sing out loud Send Me an Angel, Big City Nights and Still Loving You from the bottom of their hearts? And what they did with the touching Wind of Change, adapting the original lyrics in support of Ukraine, is a thing of beauty that everyone at the venue loved to sing together with the band while the background showed the peace sign with the Ukrainian colors. “Now listen to my heart / It says Ukrainia / Waiting for the wind to change…”

As usual, a Scorpions concert is not complete without the Rock N’ Roll hit Rock You Like a Hurricane, and it didn’t matter if it was a little kid or a 75-year old lady, everyone who attended their concert at the Bell Centre screamed, danced and raised their fists in the air during the entire song, ending with a loud-as-hell standing ovation to the band that lasted for several minutes. It was deafening, sometimes even louder than the rock music played by Scorpions, showing how much respect and love the fans in Montreal have for the band. I almost missed Scorpions because their show in Toronto was on the same day as Rammstein in Montreal, but I’m glad I made the right decision to see them in Montreal a few days later. Why? Because just like the city of Montreal, I believe in the Rock N’ Roll played by Scorpions.

Setlist
Gas in the Tank
Make It Real
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Seventh Sun
Peacemaker
Bad Boys Running Wild
Delicate Dance
Send Me an Angel
Wind of Change
Tease Me Please Me
Rock Believer
Blackout
Big City Nights

Encore:
Still Loving You
Rock You Like a Hurricane

Band members
Klaus Meine – vocals
Matthias Jabs – guitars
Rudolf Schenker – guitars, backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – bass
Mikkey Dee – drums

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Album Review – Scorpions / Rock Believer (2022)

Believe in the one and only Scorpions.

Seven years after the release of Return to Forever, which is by the way the longest gap between studio albums in their career, Germany’s Rock N’ Roll/Hard Rock institution Scorpions is back in action with their nineteenth opus, entitled Rock Believer, the undisputed proof those German rockers still have a lot of fuel to burn after so many decades on the road. Recorded by Jakob Himmelein and Hans-Martin Buff, produced by Hans-Martin Buff at Peppermint Park Studios, mixed by Michael Ilbert at Hansa Studios, and displaying a beyond classic artwork by Jeff Thrower, Rock Believer is the band’s first-ever album to feature Mikkey Dee (famous for his time with the unparalleled Motörhead) on drums, who replaced James Kottak in 2016, adding an endless amount of adrenaline to the already iconic music brought into being by vocalist Klaus Meine, guitarists Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker, and bassist Paweł Mąciwoda, making us all believe in rock music even when a good part of our society says it’s already dead and gone.

There’s no better way to kick off a rockin’ album than with the excellent Gas in the Tank, where Klaus, Matthias and Rudolf are on fire from the very first second while Mikkey adds a very welcome, dirty Motörhead vibe to this lecture in classic Rock N’ Roll; and those German rockers keep putting the pedal to the metal in Roots in My Boots, with Rudolf and Matthias delivering sheer awesomeness through their axes. Put differently, it’s old school Scorpions without sounding outdated at all. Knock ‘Em Dead is a mid-tempo Hard Rock feast by Scorpions where Mikkey dictates the pace supported by the low-tuned bass by Paweł while Matthias kicks some serious ass with his riffs and solos, whereas the title-track Rock Believer is perfect for their sold-out arena concerts, with Klaus declaiming the song’s inspiring lyrics beautifully (“You start to crawl until you walk / You make a scream and learn to talk / You discover life on every day / From the first day you were born / You walked a lifeline of your own / And if you always keep the faith”). Then we have Shining of Your Soul, darker but at the same time very melodic and groovy thanks to the pleasant vibe crafted by the band’s guitar duo accompanied by Mikkey’s beats, while the sinister bass lines by Paweł kick off the also groovy Seventh Sun, showcasing another flawless performance by Klaus amidst a wall of Rock N’ Roll sounds.

Back to a more dancin’ sonority, it’s time for Klaus to lead his henchmen in Hot and Cold, sounding like if it was taken from one of their 80’s albums (not to mention its beyond catchy chorus), whereas in When I Lay My Bones to Rest we’re treated to more of their rockin’ poetry (“Here comes a brother from another mother / Storming out into the light / We’re speeding up the pace, cutting to the chase / It’s gonna be a hell of a ride”), matching perfectly with the song’s undisputed Rock N’ Roll spearheaded by the flammable guitars by Matthias and Rudolf. Peacemaker is another fast, thrilling ride by the quintet that will sound fantastic when played live where Klaus once again steals the spotlight with his unparalleled Hard Rock vocals, while Call of the Wild is less visceral and more “romantic” than its predecessors. It’s not a bad song, but it lacks the same punch as the other songs in the album. After that it’s time for When You Know (Where You Come From), a beautiful ballad to put a proper ending to the album that will surely be added to the band’s “acoustic” set during their live performances, and if you go for the deluxe version of the album you’ll have a blast with five amazing bonus tracks, with Shoot for Your Heart being by far the most exciting of all. To be honest, this song alone is worth the investment in the deluxe edition.

Rock Believer, which is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify, can be purchased from your favorite retailer or streamed in its entirety by clicking HERE, and if you consider yourself a true rock believer you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and also subscribe to their YouTube channel. In a nutshell, one of the trailblazers of Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock is ready to kick your ass once again to the sound of their awesome new album, proving that not only they still got it, but also that they’re far from calling it quits. And if you keep believing in the one and only Scorpions, you can rest assured our beloved Rock N’ Roll will never die.

Best moments of the album: Gas in the Tank, Roots in My Boots, When I Lay My Bones to Rest, Peacemaker and Shoot for Your Heart.

Worst moments of the album: Call of the Wild.

Released in 2022 Vertigo Records

Track listing
1. Gas in the Tank 3:40
2. Roots in My Boots 3:17
3. Knock ‘Em Dead 4:11
4. Rock Believer 3:57
5. Shining of Your Soul 3:57
6. Seventh Sun 5:30
7. Hot and Cold 4:12
8. When I Lay My Bones to Rest 3:08
9. Peacemaker 2:56
10. Call of the Wild 5:21
11. When You Know (Where You Come From) 4:22

Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
12. Shoot for Your Heart 4:01
13. When Tomorrow Comes 3:47
14. Unleash the Beast 4:17
15. Crossing Borders 3:38
16. When You Know (Where You Come From) (Acoustic version) 3:44

Band members
Klaus Meine – vocals
Matthias Jabs – guitars
Rudolf Schenker – guitars, backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – bass
Mikkey Dee – drums

Guest musicians
Ingo Powitzer – additional guitars and bass, guitar solo on “When Tomorrow Comes”, backing vocals, claps
Hans-Martin Buff – backing vocals, claps
Jakob Himmelein – backing vocals, claps
Alex Malek – backing vocals, claps
Pitti Hecht – percussion