Scorpions – MTV Unplugged [Review]

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 Scorpions – MTV Unplugged
2013, Sony Music
Buy the album

Disc 1:
1. Sting In The Tail
2. Can’t Live Without You
3. Pictured Life
4. Speedy’s Coming
5. Born To Touch Your Feelings
6. The Best Is Yet To Come
7. Dancing With The Moonlight
8. In Trance
9. When You Came Into My Life
10. Delicate Dance
11. Love Is The Answer
12. Follow Your Heart

Disc 2:
1. Send Me An Angel
2. Where The River Flows
3. Passion Rules The Game
4. Rock You Like A Hurricane
5. Hit Between The Eyes
6. Rock ‘N’ Roll Band
7. Blackout
8. Still Loving You
9. Big City Nights
10. Wind Of Change
11. No One Like You
12. When The Smoke Is Going Down

Band:
Klaus Meine – Vocals, Guitar
Rudolf Schenker – Guitar, Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Guitar
Pawel Maciwoda – Bass
James Kottak – Drums

Sometimes referred to as MTV Unplugged: Live in Athens or MTV Unplugged in Athens, the band’s own website refers to this album simply as MTV Unplugged, so that’s what I’m going with. The concert has been released on DVD/Blu-ray as well.

For a band that was retiring the Scorpions have been very active. They’ve been touring for the past 4 years on a “farewell” tour and MTV Unplugged is the band’s second release since 2010’s Sting in the Tail (which was intended to be the “last” Scorpions album) with 2011’s Comeblack being the other release. And like I figured, just a week or two before writing this review, the band announced they were canceling their retirement plans and going to release a new studio album (of re-worked unreleased “classic” era material à la Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth) in 2015.

A lot of older metal-heads and classic hard rock fans often cite the band’s early years with Uli Jon Roth as their best. I’ve never felt that was the case. It’s undeniable that the band delivered some classic material with Uli but I prefer the more commercial hard rock approach the band took starting with 1979’s Lovedrive. No matter. Whichever era you feel is best, they are all represented on this album. Okay, maybe they ignored their techno pop/rock Eye II Eye era, but that’s a good thing!

While they can’t pull songs from every album, Scorpions did a solid job of bringing out the typical big hits for this acoustic occasion as well as mixing in numbers from In TranceVirgin KillerFly to the Rainbow and even Pure Instinct (which is represented by two tracks, if you can believe that)! They also found room to slip in two songs from 2010’s Sting in the Tail. What’s criminal is that LovedriveAnimal Magnetism and Humanity: Hour I are not represented here. I would’ve loved to have heard acoustic versions of “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, “Holiday” or “Always Somewhere”. “Steamrock Fever” would’ve also excelled in this acoustic setting.

Five new songs were written for the occasion: “Dancing with the Moonlight” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Band” are full songs. These songs are okay, but not highlights from the album and may possibly get full electric studio recordings for the new album. Then there is “Delicate Dance” (solo for Matthias Jabs), “Love Is the Answer” (Rudolf Schenker solo) and “Follow Your Heart” (Klaus Meine solo). The last three are mostly instrumentals and could’ve easily been left off the album, if not the concert.

The tracks that stand out most for me are the ones where the audience participates in singing along. Those songs would be “When Passion Rules the Game”, “Send Me an Angel” and “Wind of Change”. Powerful stuff.

The new stuff isn’t all that impressive but the rest of this show is good mix of the band’s output from the 1970s up to today.

Highlights: “Born to Touch Your Feelings”, “The Best Is Yet to Come”, “Send Me An Angel, “Where the River Flows”, “Passion Rules the Game”, “Still Loving You”, “Wind of Change”, “When the Smoke Is Going Down”

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Posted on August 29, 2014, in Scorpions. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The Scorpions are one of the few bands from their era that I really enjoy. I’ll have to check this one out.

  2. I wishlisted this one on CD Japan. Not sure if I will get it or not but given a bigger budget, I would.

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