On September 23, 2015, the people of Cleveland, OH were to be treated with a rock and roll fantasy. Not only would the world renowned Queensryche take the stage this night for everyone’s viewing pleasure, but headlining and celebrating 50 years of heavy rock would be the Winds of Change themselves, the mighty Scorpions! Queesnryche, with fifteen studio albums in all, multiple Grammy nominations, MTV awards and sold out shows were appearing in support of their sophomore release with vocalist Todd LaTorre, “Condition Human”. Opening with “Anarchy –X”, it immediately became a contest between the fans of Cleveland and Queensryche as to who would be louder. Much of the time it was difficult to hear the band with the entire house singing along to each and every classic played including “Jet City Woman”, “Eyes of a Stranger”, “Empire”, and “Queen of the “Reich”. The new cut, “Arrow of Time” from “Condition Human” was received just as the live staples, fans singing every word.
Unfortunately, a short set of only nine songs, Queensryche made the most of their time on stage by playing as though this was their last show with nothing to lose and nothing to be held back. LaTorre carried the notes of the Reich smoothly and passionately forever solidifying his position in the hearts of fans as “THE” voice of Queensryche. No better choice could have been made to carry on the legacy of such an act.
After their performance, members of Queensryche did greet some lucky fans that were paying attention to their surroundings. I personally was told the story of Todd posing for pictures with a young lady encouraging her to give her most epic “rock pose”. Parker mingled with fans as well dispersing high fives and pictures with fans as he walked within the venue.
A thirty-minute equipment/stage change now gave way to the Scorpions moment as they took to the platform kicking off this chapter of the “Return to Forever” tour. I was immediately taken back to fond memories of when I first viewed the now classic videos, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “Winds of Change”. It’s rare that a band can instill such fond memories in fans. But, when a band that’s celebrating 50 years of music can still have that kind of impact, on realizes what a true legend is performing before them.
Formed in 1965 with eighteen studio albums, most recently “Return to Forever”, and a full-length movie “Forever and a Day” to be played in select theatres, what’s to be expected by the hard paying fans? Simply, a great rock show, which was delivered! The massive eighteen song set list delivered all the live staples fans have come to expect including “Winds of Change”, “Big City Nights”, and “Rock You Like a Hurricane”. Three new cuts from “Return to forever” were played flawlessly to fans delight. Fans singing along word for word backed “Going Out With A Bang”, “We Built This House”, and “Eye of the Storm”. In true Rock and Roll fashion, Klause Meine stopped his own singing to reach the microphone as far out as he could to capture the moment of unity in the crowd’s chorus. Rudy Schenker, not to be out done, ripped through his riffs pointing out individual fans as to say “I see you”. Matthias and Pawel wanting a piece of the action showed their rock prowess by not only posing as classic rock icons do, but did it while delivering the music expectations of the fans who paid hard earned cash to be hear this night. James Kottack held his secret weapon until his drum solo. That piece of entertainment came in the form of a rising drum kit suspended from the ceiling with enough lights to illuminate the entire Cleveland waterfront.
With so much effort by each band to involve the crowd, it brought the long night to what seemed to be a quick end. Did anyone complain? No. Everyone left with smiles and high praise to each bands performance honing in particularly on Todd and Klause's vocal performances as to not be matched. A unique twist to this show was running into Thomas Church of the band Mushroomhead who stated “I wouldn’t miss this show for anything.” When in the presence of such a musical talent and history, fans must keep their eyes open at all times because at the blink of an eye, you can miss something legendary.