My first Scorpions album was ‘Animal Magnetism’ back in 1980 or so. I really
liked that so I got something else. I suspect it was ‘Tokyo Tapes’. I must have
been one of my first Cd’s. I think I had recorded it off a friend prior to that
but from that date on this has been my favourite Scorpions album. I was really
disappointed when I eventually heard ‘World Wide Live’ and even more so when
I saw the video, which is not a style I like. ‘World Wide Live’ was good but
there was a magic ingredient missing from the album. I never really knew what
it was until I saw Uli Roth doing a Hendrix Tribute concert around 1997. Suddenly
I realised it was Uli that made this album so special for me. Mathias Jabs who
has been lead guitarist ever since has been good but he is so different.
I have all the Scorpions album now that I have finally got my hands on ‘Taken
By Force’ , which has eluded me for years. I have to say I have never been a
massive fan of the band. I have always found the albums a bit hit and miss.
Yet over the years every now and then I have got into an album in big way and
it has rejuvenated my interest. My favourite Scorpions albums are ‘Tokyo tapes’,
‘Love At Last String’, ‘Animal Magnetism’ and ‘Eye II Eye’ which will no doubt
shock some fans and make this review invalid! ‘Lonesome Crow’ has also a special
place in my heart because of its weird nature. It is only in recent times I
caught up on the Roth era albums none of them have stuck in my brain being any
better than any other era. I have even tried Roth solo and again they aren’t
a patch on this album.
So that’s where I come from approaching this album. The first thing to say
is if you have the original double CD get the remaster it is a lot brighter
overall. I thought it might have lost some of the bottom ended but I honestly
don’t think it has. I think this remaster is an all round improvement on sound.
In my database I only give this album 4 out 5. I feel that is a bit harsh based
on my recent plays so it well be interesting to go through the album track by
‘All Night Long’ opens the disc and is a belter. One of the things that always
amused me about this album was that a German band are playing in Japan and yet
they are talking and singing to the audience in English. It has to be said that
Klaus Meine English was still very poor at this time. In recent years he has
become more nasal but at least he pronounces his words better now. This has
never bothered me but I know it does a lot of other potential fans.
‘Pictured Life’ is another good track. It seems it is Uli that does nearly
all the leads and Rudolf that sticks pretty much to the backing rhythms.
Backstage Queen – I haven’t a clue what the lyrics are for this. It is a shame
they are not supplied in the packaging, which has improved on remaster. It is
not all it could be but better than the original. This is another excellent
Polar Nights – has been dropped from this album and moved to ‘Taken By Force’.
I wonder if it was because it was a track without Klaus vocals at all. It is
an excellent track guitarwise at least.
In Trance – Despite the lost of ‘Polar Nights’ we move seamlessly into ‘In
Trance’ in fact I even forget ‘Polar’ was missing which is unusual for me. This
has always been a favourite of mine. Curiously the crowd have a habit of clapping
a song once the get to the first line of the lyric. It seems the intro and opening
chords don’t mean much to the audience.
‘We’ll Burn The Sky’ is another favourite of mine. It has a nice gentle start
and then kicks in a bit before another quiet section. Roth’s guitar is played
with such feeling. It is interesting to read the track credits and see Roth
did little writing. I guess that is why he doesn’t work as well for me outside
of Scorpions. It’s the end of the song, which I find most powerful. This is
a wonderful piece all round.
‘Suspender Love’ starts from the last notes and again is a good piece.
‘In Search Of The Piece Of Mind’ is next and is sadly the only track from ‘Lonesome
Crow’. This again is rather beautiful piece.
The highlight of the album to me is ‘Fly To The Rainbow’. This song has everything.
The opening is sung by Klaus and is very good then two minutes in everything
changes and we get some low guitar chords followed by a gentle section by Roth
on guitar. The guitar work is played with such feeling it moves me every time.
I can really lose myself to this. At about 4.45 Roth then takes the lead. Again
his accent is hard to penetrate so I am not really sure what the lyrics are
about overall. At 6.45 the chords get heavier again and then we move into a
feedback solo and I am off into heaven. The live gigs I used to see around 1980
always had feedback solos but this is the only time I have every heard one incorporated
in to a song so effectively. I couldn’t believe my ears the first to I heard
it. This song has been a top 50 track of mine every since I heard it. I can
play it over and over and just love it at loud volumes. It is really good in
Because the set is now on a single disc ‘He’s a Woman, She’s a man’ is now
straight on from ‘Fly to the rainbow’. It feels a bit quick to me but I am used
to having to change discs. I must admit disc 2 has never got as much play as
disc one. This one actually starts with a rare solo from Rudolf Schenker. Curiously
Uli can be heard very quietly backing Klaus’s vocals on this. He is well down
the mix though. Again this is a cracking song.
A lovely bit of low feedback introduces ‘Speedies Coming’. I just so love this
range. Another great song with wonderful guitar work.
‘Top of the Bill’ is OK but it has a drum solo in it so this is why my original
Disc 2 is losses out on the playing stakes.
‘Hound dog’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’ are next and I just don’t see the point of
them. Scorpions had enough albums out by then and I would like to have heard
more original tracks. These last three tracks are definitely the weakest area
of the set for me. I would rather have seen these moved off and ‘Polar nights’
It seems these main set had now finish and the encore opens with ‘Steamrock
Fever’. Things are firmly back on track now. Great stuff.
We then get ‘Dark Lady’ another song sung by Roth but with Klaus also joining
in and actually putting in a very good performance.
Another encore starts with ‘Kojo No Tsuki’. I have no idea what the original
folk song is like but I have always liked this. I wonder how good Klaus’s elocution
is on this. Roth follows the melody for a nice low bit of guitar it then shifts
up. Very good stuff.
‘Robot man’ closes the album and is a great rocker of an ending.
This is a fantastic album and I highly recommend it. Just for comparison I
have just put ‘World Wide Live’ on. Scorpions by this time were definitely more
metal with less melodic and emotional touches. Of course even later they come
back to my style with albums like ‘Moment of Glory’ and ‘Acosutica’ but nothing
gets even close to this album.
PS. The I discovered the lyrics on the offcicial Scorpions
website. They should still be in the album.