Concert review: Queensrÿche and Scorpions (September 22, 2015 @ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Columbus OH)
Two classic hard rock bands have joined forces on tour and stopped in Columbus, Ohio’s Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Tuesday night.
Queensrÿche, with new singer Todd La Torre, opened up for Germany’s Scorpions for a massive crowd. La Torre has been with the band since 2012, but they are just now preparing the first studio release featuring his vocal abilities. In concert, La Torre sounds great when he isn’t trying to imitate Geoff Tate’s distinct sound. He struggled with “Jet City Woman” and parts of “Silent Lucidity,” but regained his command of the microphone for the new song, “Arrow of Time,” and sounded strong on the classics, “Eyes of a Stranger” and “Empire.” It will be interesting to see how the new record is received. La Torre’s voice is powerful, but lacks the range of Tate. The rest of the band sounded fantastic, and lead guitarist Michael Wilton looked like he was having a blast. Queensrÿche is rounded out with Parker Lundgren on guitar, Eddie Jackson on bass, and Scott Rockenfield on drums. They played a solid 9-song, 45-minute set.
Setlist for Queensrÿche:
The Needle Lies
Walk in the Shadows
Jet City Woman
Arrow of Time
Eyes of a Stranger
Queen of the Reich
The main event was the Scorpions, who blazed through a selection of vintage and newer songs for over an hour and a half. Klaus Meine was at the top of his game, belting out timeless songs like “The Zoo” and “Blackout,” while Rudolf Schenker pranced around the stage thrusting his Flying V guitar into the air.
Scorpions are celebrating their fiftieth year as a band, though Schenker is the only member who has been at it the entire time; Meine joined up in 1969, three years before the first studio album was released. The new material is remarkable and fits in perfectly with the band’s most enduring songs. Guitarist Matthias Jabs sounded phenomenal, and truly appeared to be enjoying the spotlight during his solo performances.
The group also includes Paweł Mąciwoda on bass and James Kottak on drums. Kottak’s drumset was raised high above the band, so his animated style was never hidden from the audience. The Scorpions never disappoint when performing live, always playing with energy and enthusiasm and encouraging crowd participation. This is a band that every rock fan needs to see live at least once. I have been fortunate enough to see them three times, and they sound better every time.
Setlist for the Scorpions:
Going Out with a Bang
Make It Real
Coast to Coast
Top of the Bill / Steamrock Fever / Speedy’s Coming / Catch Your Train (70’s medley)
We Built This House
Always Somewhere / Eye of the Storm / Send Me an Angel (acoustic medley)
Wind of Change
Rock ‘n’ Roll Band
In the Line of Fire
Kottak Attack (drum solo)
No One Like You
Big City Nights
Still Loving You
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Concert review: GOASTT, Dinosaur Jr., & Primus (August 1, 2015 @ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Columbus OH)
Bass player extraordinaire Les Claypool brought his band Primus to Columbus’ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion on Saturday, August 1, supported by Sean Lennon’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger and Dinosaur Jr. Lennon’s outfit was the first to take the stage.
There was an enthusiastic older crowd that showed up to seen the late John Lennon’s son in action, and GOASTT did not disappoint. I had viewed a couple of videos on YouTube earlier in the day to get a feel for the music, and I was not impressed, but in concert they sound much better. Their set was a short thirty minutes and intrigued me enough to investigate the band and their album Midnight Sun further this coming week when I find some extra time (I know I put that extra time around here somewhere).
Next up was Dinosaur Jr., who got the crowd amped up with a powerful ten-song set, including “Watch the Corners,” “Freak Scene,” and their cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”
The moshing began about halfway through Dinosaur Jr.’s set. I was only stepped on three times. The band finished their set with “Budge” from the Bug album. I went to the show to see Primus, but I definitely left a Dinosaur Jr. fan.
At 9:15, the headliner took the stage to a thunderous reception.
The moshpits and crowdsurfing were in full force (I stood my ground center stage about ten rows back, my feet never leaving the ground). Les Claypool, guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde, and drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander, rocked hard for a solid ninety minutes. There were no wardrobe changes, though Claypool did don a couple of masks during the performance.
The group galloped through sixteen songs total, including “Fisticuffs,” “Frizzle Fry,” “Mr. Krinkle,” “Lee Van Cleef” (my personal favorite), and of course, “My Name Is Mud” and “Jerry was a Race Car Driver.” They wrapped up with “Too Many Puppies” and “Groundhog’s Day” for an encore. Surprisingly, they neglected their most recent album, Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble as well as their highest-charting mainstream hit from the mid-1990s. Regardless, it was a great show, and not a single fan left unhappy.
It was a warm night in Columbus, Ohio, as Los Angeles band Dawes took the stage, opening for Irish singer/songwriter Hozier. The openers played for about 45 minutes to an enthusiastic, mostly young crowd at the LC Pavilion. Their folksy brand of rock was competent, but in the end mostly forgettable. New to the band was Duane Betts, the son of legendary southern rock guitarist Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers. He joined Dawes as a touring member last month, and his warm Les Paul sound is very reminiscent of his father’s.
Dawes has been active for several years, and the group is currently touring to support All Your Favorite Bands, released two weeks ago on Hub Records. The band ended their set with the title track from that album, a nice tune full of nostalgia: “I hope that life without a chaperone is what you thought it’d be / I hope your brother’s El Camino runs forever / I hope the world sees the same person that you always were to me / and may all your favorite bands stay together.”
After Dawes finished, it was time for the main attraction. The popular blues musician Hozier took the stage at 9:20 p.m. to a thunderous response from the Columbus crowd, launching into “Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene” to start the show.
Highlights from the show included “To Be Alone,” which featured great crowd participation, “Jackie and Wilson,” “In A Week,” a duet he sings with Alana Henderson in concert (the studio version features Karen Cowley), and the hit “Take Me To Church.” Following a short break in which the crowd worked itself into a frenzy, Hozier returned to the stage and performed three more songs, including a cover of Ariana Grande‘s “Problem.”
I was not sure what to expect going into this show. I was not very familiar with Hozier past “Take Me To Church,” and honestly I was a bit tired of that song. I listened to his album twice on the way to the show, and was not expecting the energy level to be very high. To my surprise, the live show was grittier and more energetic than the studio recording, and made the trip well worth it. If I have the opportunity to see Hozier again, I definitely will. He puts on a great show, and even the slower numbers were full of intensity.
My only complaint: the length of the show. Hozier was finished at 10:40 p.m., only an hour and twenty minutes after his show began. With only one album under his belt so far, I know it must be difficult to stretch that into a two-hour set even with a couple of cover songs thrown in, but I could not help but be disappointed that it was over when he left the stage. Hozier definitely left me wanting more.
I am always amazed at how great Cinderella sounds in concert. This is my fourth experience with the band, and with the exception of one sub-par show due to the illness of singer Tom Keifer, they always impress. For a full ninety minutes, this classic hard rock outfit blasted through their biggest hits and even played a few deep cuts, including “Second Wind” from the Long Cold Winter record. While Keifer traded guitar licks with Jeff LaBar, Eric Brittingham and Fred Coury held down rhythm duties on the bass and drums, respectively.
It is difficult to ignore Keifer’s abilities on the microphone. Opening act Sebastian Bach strained to reach some of the notes from Skid Row’s heyday (and even a few of the notes from his Angel Down release), but Keifer’s voice sounded great from the beginning to the end of the show. Cinderella has not released an album of all-new material since 1994, but their live show never gets stale with the classics. Watching the band perform in concert is a treat, and an experience no hard rock fan should miss.
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