At the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., December 19, 2017

ULI JON ROTH (Live at the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., December 19, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

In the ’70s any Rock band worth their salt would release a live album, usually a double, with a sumptuous gatefold sleeve. So many of the albums now regarded as timeless classics such as Deep Purple Made In Japan, KISS Alive, UFO Strangers In The Night and Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous to name but a few, came from that glorious decade. One such live album that sits amongst those at the top table is Tokyo Tapes by German Rockers, Scorpions.

Back then Germany was not renowned for its Hard Rock bands with America and the UK cornering that market, but the Scorpions broke through with a combination of lead singer Klaus Meine’s unique vocals and the biting riffs of Rudolph Schenker along with the classically infused guitar work of Ulrich Roth not to mention a clutch of great songs to boot. Tokyo Tapes fired the Scorpions from their cult status and onto the road to global superstardom.

Guitarist Ulrich Roth however, wanting to explore different musical avenues parted company prior to its release returning later with his own band Electric Sun and an updated name, Uli Jon Roth.

While Roth’s musical path took a different turn, his love and respect for the music of the Scorpions remained and 40 years on, demand for performances from his era in the band remains high so a tour celebrating his time in the Scorpions, billed as Tokyo Tapes Revisited was enthusiastically welcomed in all quarters.

With a setlist to make grown men weep seeing In Trance, We’ll Burn The Sky and Pictured Life nestle alongside All Night Long and The Sails of Charon was a Scorpions fans dream.

On Fly To The Rainbow, Roth showed an astonishing array of techniques and tones on his personally designed Sky Guitar, that had the guitar aficionados chomping at the bit. In his signature piece he went from the dreamy, smooth tones to the furious divebombing at its climax with everything else between. Breath taking stuff.

Even better, he dipped deep into the catalogue to pull out songs the current Scorpions lineup haven’t played since the ’70s, if at all, with Yellow Raven and Longing For Fire sounding anything but dated relics with vocalist Niklaus Thurman impressing throughout.

Roth’s love of Hendrix is well documented with All Along The Watchtower and Little Wing being a fitting tribute to his main inspiration bringing the show to an enthralling end.

Review and photos by Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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