Concert Review: The Scorpions, Whitesnake, and Dokken
Tuesday February 18, 2003 at the HP Pavilion, San Jose, California
It's only logical these three bands would share a bill, because after all they were core movers and shakers amongst the flamboyant heavy metal scene of the eighties, where spandex, leather, hairspray, and zebra stripes reigned supreme. But contrary to a lot of bands sailing the circuit back then, the Scorpions, Whitesnake and Dokken really didn't depend on fashion or image to sell records. They were always about the music, and judging from this particular gig, they're still thoroughly into what they do and are as vital as ever. To be sure, their searing brand of guitar rock isn't as commercially popular as it once was, but the package was no mere nostalgia voyage. Just good music made by bands that know their stuff and have what it takes to excite an audience that reveres the genre.
The opening act, Dokken, was efficient and enthusiastic, as they doled out classic numbers like "Breaking The Chains," "Into The Fire," "Alone Again" and "Tooth and Nail." Don Dokken's voice was absolutely flawless, hitting towering notes with effortless ease, while the band unleashed pounding rhythms by the mile, complemented by plenty of splashy fretwork and strong melodies.
Following Dokken's invigorating set was Whitesnake, who raised the volume to that of a series of exploding dynamite and turned in one heck of an animated performance. The band's material may be slick, yet it consistently retains a sense of adventure, emboldened by tipsy tempos and acres of lethal hooks. Awash with pummeling riffs and orgasmic screeches freely snatched from early Led Zeppelin sides, Whitesnake combines the best of traditional hard rock stylings with the shiny luster of eighties pop metal. "Slide It In," "Here I Go Again," "Is This Love" and "Still of The Night" were some of the songs the band offered, and they were executed with authority and conviction.
The Scorpions were so exuberant and full of energy that you would swear they were youngsters, thrilled to be on stage and eager to impress. Each tune they played radiated with freshness and fervor. Focusing on rockers, The Scorpions delivered celebrated staples such as "The Zoo," "Bad Boys Running Wild," "Rock You Like a Hurricane," "Loving You Sunday Morning," "Blackout," "No One Like You" and "Lovedrive," that maintained the exact same sound and approach heard on the records. The old adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," certainly applied here! Powered by fluid guitar atomics, sweeping high-pitched vocals and crushing beats, The Scorpions definitely locked it together, from top to bottom. It seemed as if they were going to bypass ballads, but near the end of the show they wound up performing "Wind of Change" and "Still Loving You," which brimmed with expressive intensity. A lengthy drum solo, accompanied by nonstop flashing lights, was injected into the set as well. You can bet it was a night to remember!
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