1-800-Ask Gary Amphitheater, Tampa, FL • July 17, 2010
For big-name mega stars and well-packaged, multi-band festivals, summer is THE season in the touring biz. However, due to a sluggish economy and fans simply (finally) becoming weary of paying astronomical ticket prices, the 2010 summer concert season has been plagued by an epidemic of empty seats. From legendary classic rock acts like The Eagles to reliable current pop favorites like The Jonas Brothers, established headliners are canceling dates this summer while ticketing giant Live Nation has been drastically slashing prices to as little as $10 in an effort to entice fans from their air-conditioned homes and into moist and muggy outdoor venues to chug $8 beers, $5 bottled water, and $4 (small) sodas.
However, despite an otherwise dismal season, German metal gods, Scorpions, are seemingly having little problem moving tickets for their current outing. Touted as a “farewell” tour, the platinum-selling band recently appeared to have filled all 10,000 seats of Tampa’s 1-800-Ask Gary Amphitheater. (Yes, that really is the name of the venue this year.)
The distinctive fragrance of marijuana mixed with BENGAY and Budweiser permeated the air as LA hair metal architects Ratt kicked off the night’s ’80s rock revival precisely at 8 pm. From “Wanted Man” to “Way Cool Jr.” to “Lay it Down” to “Round and Round,” the ensuing sixty-minute opening set was a low-energy, hard rocking onslaught packed with hit after hit from MTV’s golden spandex era. Yet despite their stellar, “must play,” fan-friendly set list, Ratt’s show was ravaged by a horrendous audio mix that can best be described as a wall of loud, indistinguishable, brassy mush. In fact, fans could be heard in-between songs actually heckling the soundman.
Featuring the classic frontline of vocalist Klaus Meine, guitarist Rudolf Schenker, and guitarist Matthias Jabs, Scorpions opened their explosive, high-energy, seventy-five minute set with the title track from their current record Sting in the Tail. Visually, the show was a spectacular state-of-the-art affair complete with ultra-modern, high tech lighting and multiple video screens flashing computerized images throughout the show. Musically, as expected with any “farewell” tour, the Scorpions show included many of their early signature rockers like “The Zoo” and “Loving You Sunday Morning.”
But sadly, the Scorpions audio mix was as dreadful as Ratt’s. Combine that annoying detail with having a ten-minute version of their current sleeper “The Best is Yet to Come” served up back-to-back with the monotonous ’90s hit “Winds of Change” and you’ve got a double dose of aural sleep aides that tend to suck the life from the party. However, they rebounded from their “Seventh Inning Stretch” with a mammoth string of arena rock anthems like “Blackout,” “No One Like You,” “Big City Nights” and the mighty show-ending “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”
Dankeschon — Gute Nacht!