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Scorpions, Tesla & Keith Emerson @ Universal Amphitheatre, LA, Nov 27 '04 -- live review by Jonah Haze

We unfortunately arrived late missing Keith Emerson's sleepytime tea and scones set due to a great dinner prior at the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Hollywood, for you non-left coasters it is on the Sunset Strip right next to the Roxy. It's a must for rockers, groupies, dealers, posers, wanna be's, has been's and your ordinary Minnesotan Griswald. It was a modest crowd on the Strip for a Saturday night: the few metalheads we saw actually looked like they had a metal plate surgically implanted due to one too many spins of "Better by you better than me", and the only "rockstar" eye recognized was the not so incognito bum, on the corner by the Roxy, movin more rocks than Barney Rubble to an eager audience of Hollywood's future.

Anyway, back to the show. The time was 8:55 and as we were getting felt up by the insecurity guards I heard the familiar sweet sounds of "Signs" and again geeked out on my date how important Tesla is to me since we grew up in the same area in nor Cal and blah blah blah. We were probably 3 songs in with "Signs" so I knew we would catch the meat of their rock.

Let's step back again 10 minutes: at 8:45 we picked up our tix at will call and was surprised that my connex also provided us with backstage passes for a meet and greet with the Scorpions but only before the show at 7:45! Doh!! Well, I had no idea about the passes but I had an idea about how much I Homered that one.

Anyway, back once again to Tesla's amazing performance, First, it was wonderful to have Tommy Skeoch back from his troubles and the boys sounded and played and interacted with each other and the audience as they have since they were City Kidd in the early 80's in Sacramento: for the love of music. Tesla has always been crafty, non-pretentious songwriters and stay true to themselves as a team despite the Change in the Weather of the musical climate since their departure. Truth be told, I was there to see Tesla and was concerned really with nothing else. The crowd was in full roar for the hits including "Heaven's Trail", "Modern Day Cowboy", my personal fav - "What U Give" and of course a sea of bics escorted "Love Song" in and out of the building. Speaking of bics, I remember a day when a lighter was lit in an audience and the aqua net poser in front of you would poof up in smoke like the flamer that he was. Ahh, those were the days... Still fuckin great 20 years later and the new songs especially "Caught in a Dream" kick ass IMO. My only fear is that these guys have been touring for a few years straight since the release of their comeback double live "Replugged" release in 2001, only pausing in late '03 to ship out their first studio record in 10 years, "Into the Now", and then continuing on with their road kill. According to rock history and Tesla history we need another studio record right quick from these cats and then a break before a summer '05 tour or they will be scratchin each other’s eyes out and return either to rehab or to one of their shitty side projects (see Soulmotor) and deny themselves and their fans the love of their music. Either way, Jeff, Tommy, Frank, Brian and Troy are my boys and I have never seen a bad show and even if I did I wouldn't care because after all, it's not what u got it's what u give.

Ok then, outside for a smoke break and $7 beers and more people reminding us how cool the Scorps were to meet and how much we missed out. Great.

Within a few, the lights went dark and the sampled intro to "New Generation" faded in and the capacity crowd went nuckin futs. These Grandfathers of Germany have recruited some fresh blood bassist, and the over the topness of James Kottack (Kingdom Come, need I say more) was ever present as he continues behind the kit for several years now. With Klaus, Rudy and Mathias in fine Fuhrer form the band once again proved that they have ways of making u rock. The show was fun but predictable: new songs, old songs, solo's, sing alongs and plenty of heavily accented Klaus rock "californnniiiaaa!!!!!!!!!" screams. Nothin I haven't seen before from these Deutsch dudes. The highlight of their set happened during Kottack's drum solo when his brother in law and tru bad ass rockstar, Tommy Lee, appeared from behind the kit! Tommy came out and jammed with James for a moment and got the crowd loud and proud. That was an awesome moment, I love Tommy and the Crue and I cannot wait for next year when they take the music back. So we ended up splittin a bit early as they were wrapping it up anyway. I decided to wrap my review up with a little poem I wrote last night after the show:

I was on a wonderful date
and the night was getting late.
the scorpions had already sealed their fate
but Klaus still sings better than Geoff Tate.

The new tunes actually sounded decent
better than their last couple of releases.
I bet Michael wishes his brother dead
but still the stage wouldn't be big enough for his head

But the band is getting old
and the old songs were much too slow
with the exception of "blackout"
not much did stir these Krazy Krauts

Bad boys running wild and the zoo
lovin u sunday morning because there is no one like u
70's, 80's, 90's and beyond
These teutonic tunesters wont be around for too long

If u can catch them soon
try the ticketmaster nearest you
the new album is called Unbreakable
should be easy to find it used on sale.

--Jonah Blaze

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