Scorpions and Queensryche at Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine, CA

The Scorpions is the type of band that many other bands would not exist without and for over 50 years guitarist Rudolf Schenker has been influencing generations of guitar players and vocalist Klaus Meine is one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time. I saw the Scorpions at the Forum almost one year ago along with Megadeth for their Crazy World Tour. Just after that show, the Scorpions canceled remaining dates due to Meine having severe laryngitis. The Scorpions returned to the U.S. this past week to make up for the canceled shows, but this time Scorpions were joined by Queensryche. At the Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine, CA on Sunday night (Sept. 2nd) the Scorpions played an added show to the tour with Queensryche which was not a make up date.

The only founding Queensryche members currently touring are lead guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson, as drummer Scott Rockenfield has not returned to the stage after taking a leave last year and original vocalist Geoff Tate parted ways with the band in 2012. Since then ex=Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre has been fronting the group. Filling in for Rockenfield was Casey Grillo. There was another lineup change this year with rhythm guitarist Parker Lundgren of almost 10 years taking a hiatus. Filling in for Lundgren was Mike Stone. Regardless of personnel changes Queensryche still sounds great and puts on a fantastic show. Torre is the closest you’ll get to Tate. Queensryche played a nine-song set including “Jet City Woman,” “Screaming In Digital” and “Eyes of A Stranger.”

I would describe a Scorpions show as raw energy. I have seen Scorpions three times since their Final Sting tour in 2012 and every show is always incredible. Scorpions retained the same lineup since 2004 when bassist Pawel Maciwoda joined until 2016 when drummer of 20 years James Kottak and the band parted ways. Taking the drum-seat was Mikkey Dee a member of Motorhead from 1992 until Lemmy’s passing in 2015.  For years on lead guitar is Matthias Jabs. Scorpions opened their 17-song set with “Going Out with a Bang,” and played all the hits including “The Zoo,” “Wind of Change,” “Blackout” and “Big City Nights.”

To feature Dee as their new drummer, the band has been covering Motorhead's “Overkill,” followed by a Dee drum solo where the drum riser goes sky high. A highlight for me is always the dueling guitars of Schenker and Jabs. For this show, the band used a smaller thrust stage, not their arena-sized one. The Scorpions played a two-song encore of “No One Like You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” There a few Hard-Rock bands that have been around as long as the Scorpions and still play arena-size venues and amphitheaters.

The last U.S. Scorpions date of the year is Sept. 14 in Tampa, FL before playing shows in Lebanon, Australia and New Zealand.