There certainly seemed to be a certain energy in the air for this spectacle. On top of being treated to a show featuring two titans of heavy metal and rock, the evening also had the honour of being the inaugural show of the newly opened Place Bell in Laval (just outside of Montreal, but still accessible for you out-of-towners). A mere five minute walk from the metro station made it incredibly convenient to get to given its inconvenient location (inconvenient being anything outside the downtown core). The newly minted building seemed ripe for defiling in any number of ways, and surely will be over the years, but for me that night’s defiling would be it’s most sentimental.
Megadeth and Scorpions together on a tour package seemed odd at first, yet simultaneously somewhat fitting, and proved to be complimentary. No doubt some fans were more interested in one act over the other, but the crossover appeal and sonic variation make them a perfect odd couple for the leather and denim legions.
I was fortunate enough to have procured seats fairly close to the stage, so for the first time in my life I felt I really got to experience Megadeth (outside of the dreaded outdoor festival setting where my ADD is on overdrive). Undaunted by the unusual slot of opener, the band seemed more determined and focused to make their presence felt in a big way. The set was a powerful and concise WMD kicking right off with “Hangar 18“ and “Mechanixs” and later ending their first half with local favourite “A Tout Le Monde.” Relative newbs to the collective, Kiko Loureiro (guitar) and Dirk Verbeuren (drums) absolutely crushed, and their energy greatly added to the presence of the band. Their set ended in a hail of gunfire with bangers “Symphony of Destruction,” ”Peace Sells,” and “Holy Wars,” leaving all true fans satisfied despite just a nine-song set, which coincidentally was the perfect Megadeth set for me.
Like Megadeth, Scorpions are a band whose material I know primarily from their hits, but unlike Megadeth I haven’t been disappointed watching them before. However, I quickly learned that you don’t need to necessarily be familiar to be completely blown away by the power of their show. They came in with a bang to “Going Out With a Bang” from their new album Return To Forever, which was fast paced and a great opener. Guitarist Rudolf Schenker quickly established himself as the man to watch on stage as he ran about and filled in the front man role for the noticeably reserved Klaus Meine. Regardless of his reservations, Klaus still performed excellently, with his signature voice christening the new stadium with German efficiency.
The stage was laden with massive LED screens for an overwhelming visual spectacle, playing scenes from what I assumed were music videos and great camera work from their crew.
Personally my favourite part of the show was about midway through when the band engaged in a few softer songs. The whole band made their way to the catwalk, including drummer Mikky D on a makeshift acoustic set, and engaged in a much more intimate moment with the crowd. The song “Send Me An Angel” even featured a guest appearance by my girlfriend and I on the big screen for an uncomfortable amount of time (you can see it here at the 3:16 mark).
Easily my second favourite part of the show was their tribute to Motorhead with the cover “Motorhead” followed by an excellent drum solo by none other than ex-Motorhead and new Scorpions drummer Mikkey D. That man still plays with the fury of a twenty-year-old, and somehow managed to make a drum solo interesting.
Closing with classics “No One Like You,” “Still Loving You,” and of course “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” (completing the evil axis of “You”-titled songs), the night reached its appropriate climax. The throngs of fans of all ages (but still mostly white people) were all satisfied, and certain that they were given the best by a band who has been doing so for over fifty years. Hopefully with new genetic technology, they’ll be doing it for another 231 years more.
Written by Paul Ablaze
Photography by Stacy Basque
*edited by Kate Erickson