Concert Reviews

Megadeth with Scorpions at Budweiser Stage

What a perfect ending to the Toronto summer season, with Scorpions and special guest Megadeth performing at the Budweiser Stage. Although classified as two different genres of music, they paired very well together.

The norm for these shows is that the crowd sort of trickles in while the openers perform. This certainly wasn’t the case at this concert. With their clout, I wouldn’t even really consider thrash metal act Megadeth as an opener. I suppose that’s why the Scorpions 2017 Crazy World Tour categorized them as Special Guest. Their set list was considerably shorter then the headliner though, performing 10 songs total including the encore. They performed some of my all time favorites like Peace Sells, Sweating Bullets and Symphony of Destruction. No surprise that Dystopia made the set list, since it won a Grammy award for Best Metal Performance in 2017.

Their performance was solid, loud and proud. Horned hands could be seen in droves throughout the venue. The wall of sound emitting from the stage, had me headbanging like in my teenage years. Looking around I certainly wasn’t the only one. Although, I did have a bit of a chuckle. Two rows ahead of me was an older gentlemen who was obviously there for the Scorpions. Nearly the entire venue was on their feet, including the row ahead of this particular guy. He actually had the nerve to tap the two kids in front of him on the shoulder and told them to sit down so he didn’t have to get up. The look of their faces were priceless. They where there enjoying the moment along with Megadeth and some buzz kill wanted nothing to do with it. Needless to say they didn’t sit down.

Front man Dave Mustain didn’t do a lot of chitchat with the audience. I’m not sure if it’s a persona, but he barely smiled the entire set either. Yet the signature scowl look could be seen as he would solo.

The lineup consisted of founders Dave Mustain (Vocals/Guitars) and David Ellefson (Bass), along with the latest additions of guitarist Kiko Loureiro (formally of Angra, Tarja, Turunen and Neural Code) and drummer Dirk Verbeunen (formally of Soilwork, Scarve, Aborted, The Devin).

It was now time for Scorpions to hit the stage. Even during a heat wave, front man Klaus Meine chose to wear a head to toe leather outfit. Rock and Roll forever as the back of his jacket indicated.

I had never seen them perform live before, but was extremely impressed with not only their musicianship, but their incredibly energetic stage performance. Doing a bit of research, it shocked me to see that Klaus Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker where both 69 years old. Schenker was running around the length of the stage, including the catwalk that protruded from center stage. He was jumping and really putting on one heck of a stage performance. Meine was a showman. He easily engaged with the crowd, at some points making you feel like he was performing specifically for you. He would gift the crowd with signed drum sticks. Not just a couple but probably easily 20 or more.

Meines vocals where still incredibly strong. After such a long career, you would kind of think that you couldn’t sustain such perfect pitch and intonation, but he certainly proved me wrong.

With the ever so popular whistle starting the song Wind of Change, the crowd erupted in cheers. And a chilling moment was how the crowd sang nearly the entire song from beginning to end, not just the chorus. It was one of those moments, where I tried to imagine myself in the band, the incredible feeling they must have been feeling.

Meine used the introduction of the drummer, Mikkey Dee (formally of Motorhead) as a segway to a tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, performing the song Overkill. Picture of the late metalhead could be seen in the background on the huge backdrop.

Some other notable moments was the drum solo, Mikkeys drum riser did what the name indicates, rose to nearly the height of the stage. At one point towards the end, his bass drum beats where in sync with visuals of each of their album covers filling the video backdrop.

What an excellent way to finish the summer concert series. This show left me with a huge sense of satisfaction and adrenaline. Walking along with the crowd exiting the show that evening, the excitement was easily measured.

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Photojournalist at Live in Limbo.