Now even though the show itself was fantastic, I would be lying if I said that the show had a smooth course, as it was plagued with a couple of major unexpected bumps in the road. For example, we all know that Whitesnake was originally on the bill for the whole tour, but had to pull out a few weeks before the tour started due to David Coverdale continuing to recover from a respiratory infection. This left Scorpions and Thundermother as the only two bands on the bill, and Toronto was the kick-off city for the tour. The first setback was that Thundermother were a no-show for the show. As a result, local rock singer JJ Wilde was a last minute replacement to the bill. The worst part was that neither the cancellation of Thundermother, nor the addition of JJ Wilde were advertised. Due to false advertising, there was so much confusion.
While we're on the subject of JJ Wilde, we should discuss her set before we move on. When she came on stage, the atmosphere seemed a little off. Not because her music was bad, but most of her songs were more on the down-tempo side, which felt a little off with the crowd she was playing to. The fact that she was also an unexpected addition and the audience were still in a state of confusion due to the unannounced changes to the bill, didn't really help either. The entire crowd was seated for her entire set, making it feel like a theatre performance, all while giving her a respectable applause after each song. However, I fully commend her for making the best of it, and she does have a great vocal range. The only standouts of her set though were her cover of Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty's "Stop Dragging My Heart Around", and her last song, which felt more on the up-tempo party rock side.
If all the running order changes weren't enough to peeve us all, the weather had a role in the night's course as well. The forecast for the day showed severe thunderstorms with heavy rain and lightning, when there was hardly anything. However, there was some pretty gnarly dark clouds making their way over the grounds, which caused the venue to instruct the whole lawn section to take shelter under the covered area. The venue reported seeing heavy lightning in the area, but there only ended up being two or three small flashes and no rain. Things seemed on the edge at this point, because there was the possibility of the show being called off entirely. However, after a 40-minute wait, the green light was given for the lawn people to return to the lawn.
After all those bumps in the road, Scorpions hit the stage, and it was a smooth ride for the rest of the night. While the night's opening song "Gas In The Tank" is an up-tempo rocker, it felt a little underwhelming, because right as the curtain dropped revealing the band, the audience went from cheering loudly to standing still, and Klaus Meine mainly stood in one spot, while the rest of the band (excluding Mikkey Dee), moved around. Now, obviously the Scorpions are up there in age and not spring chickens anymore (Klaus and Rudolf Schenker are in their mid-70s), so I know that that plays a large role in some of the energy being dialed back a bit compared to how they used to be back in the day, so I don't need to be reminded of that. However, Rudolf is still ridiculously energetic for his age. Following the somewhat underwhelming vibe from the opening, the band livened things up with a jump in the time machine back to the 80s with "Make It Real" and "The Zoo", and it was evident by the crowd participating more during these songs. This would then be followed by the only 70s song of the night, which was "Coast To Coast".
Throughout the night, we were treated to a few more new songs like "Seventh Sun", "Peacemaker" and "Rock Believer", as well as a couple of nice surprise classics, like "Bad Boys Running Wild" and "Tease Me Please Me". They definitely "pleased me" with the latter because that's a song I loved since I was a really little kid, so hearing that was a pleaser. At the same time, we got a couple more instrumentals like "Delicate Dance" and "New Vision", which was a bass and drum jam. On the other hand, like with any other band that had massive success in the 80s, we were treated to a bunch of the setlist staples and signature tunes like "Send Me An Angel", "Blackout", "Big City Nights". "Wind Of Change" is always a big moment due to the massive sing-along. However, they played a modified version with different lyrics in the first verse for obvious reasons, and dedicated the song to Ukraine. To close out the night, the encore gave us "No One Like You" and "Rock You Like A Hurricane". It's worth noting that it was quite surprising that they didn't play "Still Loving You", because that's a no-brainer for a Scorpions show.
Now, while still incredible on the vocals, Klaus did have some trouble with a few high notes, which is not surprising. The kicker is that all the songs are tuned down. The older you get, the harder it's going to get to hit certain notes. It's also evident that he also needs more time to rest his voice during the set, which is why you'll notice the inclusion of more instrumental segments, whether it's full songs, extended sections of songs, or solos. It's also why they don't do back-to-back shows anymore, so they can have more rest days in between shows. If the Scorpions are going to continue to tour, sacrifices and modifications must be made to get the best possible performance out of the band, particularly Klaus. Even if there's those little imperfections and minor cracks are starting to make their presence known, all these modifications and compensations seem to be working, because Klaus still has a great tone to his voice. However, during certain vocal harmonies, you could see that none of the other band members were singing with Klaus, so they were either running a track for him to harmonize to, or they had a singer behind the curtain.
How much longer do the Scorpions think they have left? We don't know, but it's obvious that they aren't going to be around for much longer. However, you have to hand it to them for still being able to rock at an amazing level after nearly 60 years together.