The Scorpions have really had a new life since their farewell tour. With a new album, ‘Comeblack’ which had them re-record old hits and some covers, the band was having a good time again. So, when MTV approached them about doing an MTV Unplugged, they jumped at the chance. They put a lot of work in to re-arranging the songs for an acoustic setting as you can tell from the “Making of Documentary” on the DVD on this release. The band actually didn’t really wanted to play their hits, but dig deep. With pushback coming from either the label or MTV (I forget which), they agreed to do some of their hits, but they also went deep and even brought in some new songs specifically for this set. The setlist is one of the highlights as we get old school Scorpions, 80’s heyday and even songs from today. It spans their career in what a good setlist should do.
The recorded 25 songs and performed at MTV’s first outdoor unplugged show and they couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful spot than high a top a mountain at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens , Greece. It was recorded over 2 nights on September 11 and 12, 2013. The release came quick on November 29, 2013 and I think the U.S. got it later. Let’s get out the one bad thing about the US version. The US Version is only 1 CVD and not a full show. The DVD that comes with it has the full show, but the CD does not. I am not sure why the rest of the world had a 2 CD full show option and we didn’t, but it is what it is. So, I am reviewing the DVD, full show set.
The full band is there and front and center are Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker and Mathais Jabs. The other two guys are slightly behind them with James Kottak on drums and Pawel Maciwoda on bass. But they weren’t alone, wow! There is a lot of extra help on the stage including a string ensemble, an extra percussionist with Pitti Hecht and then Mikael Nord Andersson, Ola Hjelm, Ingo Powitzer and Martin Hansen all on guitar (plus Mathias & Rudolf). And that wasn’t all, you also got Hans Gardemar on piano and accordion plus several surprise guest vocalists. It is a full house and one hell of a party.
Discogs is dangerous. Let’s be honest about it. I am a huge fan of a few bands that I want to collect as much as I can. And Discogs lets me know what I am missing and I can buy off it as well which is even more dangerous. After a lot of work, I think I have one of everything listed on Discogs for Matt Nathanson with only a few minor exceptions. I have a total of 37 pieces in the collection. I say they are minor because 2 I’ve never ever seen for sale…ANY WHERE!! And the other isn’t even listed on Discogs yet and is related to Matt’s most expensive fan club which we’ll talk about later.
Matt came out with his first album in 1993 and it was a time when there was really only CDs and his first set of albums were only released on CDs and as a result that is what I had to collect which I did.
Back in December 2021 when I announced I was doing a Jeff Scott Soto Series, I got a lot of response on the picture of my collection. One such person contacted me on Facebook and offered to send me a hard back edition of a biography on Jeff Scott Soto, so I quickly thanked him and agreed. He quickly mailed out this glorious copy of the book. His name was Sundeep Pooni and that book has been a massive reference guide for my review series up to this point. So, a big thank you to Sundeep and his very generous gift!! From here on out in the review series, we are past the date of the book so none of the albums I’ll be reviewing from ere on out are in the book, so I am on my own.
Before we get to the next review, let’s go through this book. It was originally written by Ronny Hahn and it was written in German and only an electronic book. For the 30th Anniversary of Jeff’s career, it was released thanks to Frank Tunney who took the original book and added more chapters and re-organized the structure. It is now a hard back book and chock full of the details of his career that all hardcore fans love to know. The book is called “Authorized” so it has the blessing of the man himself and that is good enough for me.
The book starts off with the original foreward written by Ronny Zahn and then there is a great dedication to the late Marcel Jacobs who played with Jeff in several bands and was a very close personal friend. It was a terrible loss, but thankfully he left behind a great legacy of music. Afterwards you get a brief biography of Jeff’s very early life, but the rest of the book is all Jeff’s music career.
For My Sunday Song #352, we get the song “The Border” from his most recent release ‘Short Stories E.P.’ back in 2022. The E.P. is only 3 songs that tell stories that make you feel like you are in the movies or at least that was his goal. The opening track, like all the tracks, was solely written by Aldo and he performed all the instruments as well which is impressive when you hear it.
The lyrics paint a picture of two outlaws on steel horses with a guitar strapped to their backs. They appear to be on the run from the law as the speed down the road to get to the Rio Grande and escape to Mexico. There is a woman waiting on the other side of the Border and he can’t wait to sing her a song. I wonder if there is a deeper meaning behind the song. Sadly, Aldo lost his wife a few years back and I wonder if what he is being chased by is death and when he crosses over (the border), he will be with her again and can sing her the song he so wants for her to hear again. When looking at it with that frame of mine, it is a sad and beautiful track.
Musically, there is a whole Latin flavor with hints of Carlos Santana in the guitar tone. It is pretty fantastic sounding. Aldo’s vocals fit perfectly nestled in to the song and you can’t help but want to get up and move to those rhythmic beats as the bass and drums really settle in to a nice groove that causes the hips to sway back and forth. The guitar playing is top notch as Aldo wails away on the solo. This song quickly became a favorite of mine from him.
You, my reader, are going to pick an album for me to review each month. It is really simple…first, I will give you 5 albums to choose from and second, you will tell me which one of those you would like to see reviewed on the site. See…simple! Now, if you want to cast more than one vote, comment on the Twitter and Facebook post and you could get up to 3 votes on your favorite pick.
The choices are simple, I pick 5 albums and lately I’ve been going on a loose theme. This time the theme isn’t loose, it is pretty straight-forward. We are going with 5 albums I have in my collection that are Rock Candy Re-Issues. What are the 5 albums you ask? I have them right here…
Diving for Pearls – ‘Diving for Pearls’(1989)
Blue Murder – ‘Blue Murder’(1989)
Saigon Kick – ‘Saigon Kick’ (1991)
RTZ – ‘Return to Zero’ (1991)
The Scream – ‘Let It Scream’ (1991)
Let me know which one you would like to see and sometime in April, I will post a review of the album that gets the most votes. You have one week to decide and from there I will start listening to the album and do a review.
Welcome to Friday!!! The beginning of the weekend is hear, but before you start your weekend, you need to go through the new release and find some new music. For me, I wen through the list and there is nothing I dying to hear, but a few I might try. We do get a brand new U2 album..sort of…re-recorded songs isn’t something I’m thrilled about. What do you think? Let me know what you want to hear this week or what we may have missed. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
U2 – Songs of Surrender – (Island Records / Universal Music)
Theory of a Deadman – Dinosaur – (Roadrunner Records)
Following their Farewell tour for the ‘Sting of the Tail’ album, the band decided to release one more album as sort of a comeback, but not. In all the reviews I read on this one, all the reviewers listed as the band’s final album. So, how can it be a comeback if it is the final. That might lie in the name of the album because it is called ‘Comeblack”. So a comeback album but the end at the same time…I don’t know. I’m confused. The band wasn’t confused. The excitement they felt after that tour and all the screaming fans, the success of ‘Sting of the Tail’, all led to the band wanting to do one more and do it for the fans. But as a fan, I don’t remember asking for this.
That wasn’t the only confusing thing about this album. It is sort of a compilation album with 7 songs that are Scorpions classics, but re-recorded and the final 5 songs are cover tunes. No new material here at all. The band wanted to re-record some classics giving them a modern sound with the new production capabilities and they did just that. The cover song choices are a celebration of some of their favorite songs/artists from the 60’s and I will say, they all have that Scorpions sound. But let’s be honest, this is a complete and utter waste of time and energy.
The album was released on November 4, 2011 and in the U.S on January 24, 2012 where the album only sold 5,000 physical copies in its first week and reached #90 on the Billboard 200 chart. Not very impressive. Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Mathias Jabs, James Kottak and Pawel Maciwoda all returned for this mess…or was it really that bad. I know the album cover was pretty decent which is not something that is normally the case. My copy is a gatefold, 2LP version and the packaging looks fantastic, but it is what is on the inside that matters
The band W.E.T. consisting of Robert Sall (Work of Art), Erik Martensson (Eclipse) and Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman) was originally going to be a one off project. However, the success of their debut and the fun had by the three main guys has turned in to a band. With two albums under their belt, the band hit the road and for only their second show ever as a band, it was captured in video and released as both a Live Double CD and a beautifully filmed DVD. What we get is ‘One Live – In Stockholm’!!
Recorded on January 17, 2013 at a really small club in Stockholm, Sweden called the Debaser Club and the reason behind the small venue is interesting. The guys only were expecting less than 100 people and so they figured a smaller venue would still look full on camera. What they got was hundreds of people and they had to delay the show by an hour to make sure everyone got in that wanted to (and hopefully legally could for fire codes and all). The band’s second album, ‘Rise Up’, hadn’t been released yet, but it was about too so the band had 2 full albums of material to now draw from plus they few in several surprises along the way. And to top it off, the CD version of the show has two bonus tracks of previously unreleased songs from the last album. Now, there is absolutely no reason a fan of this band wouldn’t want it. A live show on 2 CDs, two bonus studio tracks and a DVD of the show…DAMN!! What is not to like about this release.
Alright…You Picked It! This one was never really close. A couple made some last minute moves to catch the leader, but there was no catching this dog as it ended up not even close. The winner this month was The Poodles’ ‘Metal Will Stand Tall’.
The Poodles – ‘Metal Will Stand Tall – 7 votes
Gotthard – ‘Lipservice’ – 3 votes
Jorn – ‘Worldchanger’ – 2 votes
Passion – ‘Passion’ – 2 votes
Reach – ‘The Promise of Life – 1 vote
Thanks to all for participating. The April choices will be up on Saturday! And the choices are all from my collection and the next one will all be focused all on Rock Candy Re-issues. Hopefully you can help me decide which one I should review. And to note, it will be the very last You Pick It! we do hear as there isn’t enough participation to make this worth doing anymore, I’m just going to start pulling from my collection and reviewing on my own going forward. Thanks all for playing along.
THE POODLES – ‘METAL WILL STAND TALL’ (2006):
The Poodles are a Swedish glam/metal band and how I came across them is thanks to two things. First was Melodicrock.com as Andrew McNeice talked about them a lot. The second was the fact that The Poodles had a strong connection to Jeff Scott Soto. Both the lead singer, Jakob Samuel and guitarists Pontus Norgren were in Jeff Scott Soto’s band Talisman. The funny thing is that Jakob was a drummer back then, now he is front and center as a lead singer. Now, what I find interesting is how the Poodles came to being. Jakob was asked to sing the song “Night of Passion” for the Swedish music contest Melodifestivalen in 2006. The winner of this contest goes on to compete in the major contest called Eurovision. Well, Jakob compiled a band together including Pontus Nogren as well as Pontus Egberg on bass and Christian Lundqvist on drums. The band didn’t win, but they did come in fourth which is pretty darn respectable. From there, they went and did an album and here we are.
When you hear The Poodles, you are immediately transferred back to a time when the Glam and Melodic rock scene was at its peak around the world with acts like Bon Jovi and that ilk…well in Sweden that genre never has seemed to die out as they are putting out some great bands with The Poodles leading the charge. The opening track, “Echoes From The Past” comes roaring out of the gate with its pounding drums and gritty guitar riffs. Jakob’s vocals have a grit to them and yet sound so silky smooth and his vocals can soar to the heaven’s. It is full of hooks and harmonies and everything you want in a great rock song.
For My Sunday Song #351, we are starting a 10 song set of songs by Aldo Nova. You know him from the early 80’s with his massive hit “Fantasy”. But he is way more than that song and we will walk through a bunch for you over the next 10 weeks (including “Fantasy” because why not). First up is the song “Modern World” off his 1991 album ‘Blood on the Bricks’. The song was written by Aldo and his pal Jon Bon Jovi. You might not know that Aldo worked with Jon on a bunch of demos back way before there was a Bon Jovi and was John Bongiovi. But that is another story for another day.
The song is a dark commentary on the world that was the late 80’s and early 90’s. The sleaze, the drugs, the crime were all up and the world seemed to be a dark place and they lyrics captured it beautifully. He even takes a big dig at Donald Trump for his womanizing and awful business tactics long before he was President. Marion Barry, mayor of Washington D.C. also wasn’t safe from his wrath as he bashed him for his drug addictions. No one was safe in this song. It is a really dark take on the world and we are happier for it as we got this song.
Musically, the song is as dark as the lyrics. The song opens with a nasty, dirty guitar riff and an angry sadistic sounding drum beat. Aldo sings it with a lot of attitude and anger to match the despair in the music. But like any song Jon is involved in, it has the hooks to draw you in as that chorus filled with harmonies and great background singers adding more effect to the song. It is a solid rocker and shows that Aldo was more than keyboards and that sometimes the guitar riff was king.