at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., November 26, 2023

ULI JON ROTH (Live at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., November 26, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It’s hard to believe that 40 years have passed since former Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth stood on stage with his fledgling Electric Sun outfit at the City Hall in Newcastle and performed arguably the best show of his life.

Whether it was the momentum built up by the thousand strong petition raised by a couple of Geordie lasses to bring him to the City Hall that did it or the welcome he received on his first appearance in the region since leaving the Scorpions five years earlier it’s hard to say but whatever it was everything, just everything slipped perfectly into place leaving its mark on Roth and the two thousand fans packed into the venue.

For that reason, Newcastle is always a special night in Roth’s tour schedule and tonight at the Riverside on the banks of the River Tyne, the place was packed.

Ahead of the show, Roth promised Metal Express Radio that his set would feature songs from across his 50 year history including those much loved Scorpions classics to material from his Electric Sun days and also his solo work along with some new material and Roth certainly stuck to that promise.

Opening with a sublime instrumental “Amadeus” Roth was quick to stamp his classical infused fretwork on the evening and this was one, classy start to a show stretching well over two hours split into two parts. With the first focussing on his Electric Sun and solo material.

Hot on its heels came a couple of Electric Sun numbers with the self-titled song followed by a brilliant “Cast Away Your Chains” before a new instrumental “The Crying” was unveiled as Roth’s Sky guitar soared and swooped with a melodic beauty.

A rare outing for “Enola Gay-Hiroshima Today” complete with cacophonous whammy bar dive bombing to accompany the still shocking footage of the dropping of the atomic bomb was an early highlight of the show.

The surprise addition of “Don’t Tell The Wind” by his sadly departed brother Zeno was the perfect tribute with a stunning rendition of the classic from Zeno’s self-titled debut album with bassist, Nicklaus Thurman excelling on the vocals.

The second half of the show concentrated on Roth’s Scorpions material, which he dubbed, the fun part of the show. Those classics came thick and fast, from the “Tokyo Tapes” era inspired “We’ll Burn The Sky”, “Pictured Life” and “In Trance” to the deeper cuts of “Catch Your Train”, “Sun In My Hand” and “Longing For Fire”, the fans of vintage Scorpions lapped it up. Perhaps the highlight of them all was a jaw dropping take on “Fly To The Rainbow”. Shut your eyes for a moment and it was like stepping back to 1978 and “Tokyo Tapes” all over again.

With “Sails of Charon” and “Dark Lady” closing the main set, there was little time to catch your breath before Roth returned with a storming tribute to one of his main inspirations with a storming take on “All Along The Watchtower”.


  • 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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