Rudolf Schenker of Scorpions in Toronto

Rudolf Schenker leads Scorpions on Toronto concert attack at Budweiser Stage on Aug. 21, 2022. Photo by Dan Savoie

The Scorpions opened their 2022 North American Rock Believer Tour in Canada this past weekend (Aug. 21) amongst the clouds, lightning and thunder of the dark Toronto skies at Budweiser Stage. Fans toughened out a delayed start due to severe thunderstorm warnings, but the wait was worth it as the German metal legends cranked out a killer light show and 90-minutes of Scorpions classics both old and new.

Scorpions are a great band with some incredible iconic rock tracks and even though its core members are in their late 60s and early 70s, it felt like we were watching and listening to a much younger band. As the show progressed, the songs dove deeper and deeper into the vast well of music the band has been cranking out since their debut album Lonesome Crow came out in 1972.

For the Toronto show, the band dropped their tour favourite Still Loving You for the edgier No One Like You, which was suitable considering all the arms and fists in the air by the time the encores came around. The 416 audience was a rockin’ one and the band had to please them.

Scorpions

Klaus Meine of Scorpions at Budweiser Stage in Toronto on Aug. 21, 2022. Photo by Dan Savoie

Overall, the choice of songs was pleasing, with the majority of the known tracks coming from the albums Love at First Sting and Crazy World, with a few from Animal Magnetism, Blackout and Lovedrive. They relied heavily on the new album Rock Believer, choosing four tracks from the new release, even opening with the fabulous new single Gas In The Tank. Rock Believer received the best reaction of the four new songs.

Interestingly, the band also included a fairly unknown instrumental called Delicate Dance from 2013 that has only appeared on their MTV Unplugged in Athens album.

The first half od the show was scattered with a variety of concert favourites mixed with hits like The Zoo, Bad Boys Running Wild and Wind of Change, which vocalist Klaus Meine changed the lyrics slightly and dedicated to the people of Ukraine.

Once Wind of Change was finished, the show was more about the hits, including Tease Me Please Me, Blackout, Big City Nights and Rock You Like A Huricane.

Meine sounded and looked great. He would often hold his mic stand out to the crowd so they could sing along and he tossed out dozens of drum sticks he was using for the cowbell on The Zoo.

Guitarists Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker are essential to the band’s crunchy rock sound, with Schenker giving it everything he had – wide arm guitar strums and flashy rock moves all night long. He is the showman of the band.

Newer members, long-time bassist Paweł Mąciwoda and drummer Mikkey Dee were a powerful backbone. Dee was especially impressive with his slot-machine themed drum solo. Surprisingly, there were no solos for the guitarists. It may have been better had they either included the guitarists or removed the bass and drum solos all together – there are certainly enough songs in the band’s catalog that would have fit in.

With a killer casino/Vegas-style set, flashy light show and some incredible songs, the Scorpions were a very exciting show, but overall, fans left a bit unsatisfied at the short 90-minute set.

For some, the loss of support acts Whitesnake and Thundermother was too much to handle. Whitesnake pulled out three-weeks prior due to health concerns and Thundermother not being able to clear the border in time for this show. Unable to find a tour replacement for Whitesnake and needing last minute support to replace Thundermother, fairly new Canadian rocker JJ Wilde was called in.

JJ Wilde

JJ Wilde

JJ Wilde is no slouch. The 2021 Juno Award winner for Rock Album of the Year puts on a great show and is a true rocker suitable for a show like this. She commands the stage better than most and considering she was a last-minute addition, the show was incredible. Had there been a little more advance notice, fans may have embraced the show a little more (especially for those expecting to see Thundermother). JJ Wilde is an artist we expect to see back on this stage.

Scorpions / JJ Wilde
Budweiser Stage
Toronto, ON
August 21, 2022
All photos by Dan Savoie

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
  • New Vision (bass and drum solo)
  • Blackout
  • Big City Nights

Encores:

  • No One Like You
  • Rock You Like a Hurricane
Photo: Matt Barnes
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