Writing a review, i guess, is a pretty tough job, specially when you're reviewing a live album!
In this review, i'll try to "judge" (the word is pretty loud !) the quality of the interpretation, meaning the quality of this live that Scorpions offered comparing to the studio albums.
What "shocks" us the most is the almost perfect singing of Klaus Meine. I can truly tell that if we remove the background vocals, the crowd interaction, i will think this is a studio album. You may think that this is a bad point for the band because the difference between rock bands is their ability to improvise or keep a live performance alive. Well, Scorpions did it.
Writing this review, i'm not a die-hard fan who owns every single album, but just a usual listener who owned a best of and who was deeply amazed and affected by this beautiful piece of art.
The live performances here shows us that Scorpions is really a band who likes to do things good, when they decide to do it, and let's say they put the price !
Some performances are not really different from the studio recordings :
The Zoo, except the improvised bluesy-intro, and the dominance of blues bends in addition to the vocals that fit well. Unfortunately, not so many crowd interaction is present on this first track, but that's the case with Nirvana MTV Unplugged, which doesn't mean it's not coming forth.
Always Somewhere is a really good acoustic re-interpretation of the song. I used to listen a lot to the studio recording, and i really appreciate the additions of Matthis Jabs at the beginning. The acoustic predominance that we can feel is something that is repeated along the album. We could have expected a slow beginning then a real knock-off, this is what normally should have occured, but the band did it its own way, and they did it good. A good point, is the entering of the crowd into the live performance, with singings along the band and also introducting female background vocals.
The really great surprise in this album, is Life Is Too Short. To say the truth, i didn't know the song before listening to the live. A classic in live acoustic-philarmonic performances : slow introductions, with stops, and then a really attractive chorus that just keep playing in our heads. This live album performance, is not something new for Scorpions, cause they had already played with a philarmonic orchestra, and they have added some instruments like violin. This is truly a good point, showing the growing maturity of the band, who explores musical genres, in spite of being hairy-metal bands forever. To get back to the song, we note that, in contradiction to the other songs until now, it has a really good end, just like Still Loving You. The vocals are really well synchronised, the background vocals are nothing but perfect. Sadly, we still ask for more, as for the end of the song, as they could have done it even heavier, with as much power as SLY.
The other great surprise is Holiday : i used to know it as a real calm acoustic song. Here it starts with the punch! The band is really ready to rock out the place, as if the first songs were just preparations. The manner of singing the first verse doesn't prepare us at all to the intensity of the chorus. This is a well reprise, with some spanish guitar, maybe flamenco sounds, that is REALLY original. I must say that i was totally out of mind when i first listened to this, and i had to show it to all the people i met, even if they don't know Scorpions, they were all unanimous to say this rocks ! One good point, instead of the great drums, heavy and discret, the incredible rythmics, is the way the band is able to change the music genre in a few seconds, and the way the last part is sung, introducing background vocals. I have watched this show on dvd (don't ask me how i found it!) and i must say that 60-70% of the public was womens aged from 18-30, and i guess that the band had to adapt the work for its public.
A classic, as always interpretation is You and I. The intensity from the studio recording is conserved, added with some good crowd singing interaction, and some great guitar improvised solo, with some background vocals, and you find out yourself with a real hit single from this album, if it was a usual recording. We could criticize the lack of screaming, which i used to know the band for. Anyway, the song is really well performed, and we can feel that the band is aware of performing one of its greatest hits !
When Love Kills Love appears like a cut in the progression of the album. This middle acoustic-hard rock song, is so well performed and well followed that we barely see it passing, and we ask for more.
What we can notice until now is somehow a line that the band follows : for the intro, a re-interpreation of the original riff in acoustic, with almost no improvisation, followed by a slow singing, and then a chorus which is completely to knock out the place, and then an end that is a repetition of the chorus, with background vocals and much or lesser crowd interaction, and the result is a good and real nice performance.
Nothing more to say about Dust In The Wind, except it is an almost perfect reprise of Kansas. Even if the gamma of singing is very different from the original, the band puts in its own touch. We really like the linear progression in intensity. From simple acoustic, to spanish rythmic with keyboards, violin. This one performance is actually a hell of one! We really notice the violin solo at the middle which is truly beautiful in all senses of the term. Also, the rythm is conserved and it turns into a great love story in sicilia during world war II (it actually came out alone! in reality, it's not about that, it's just the way the arrangements are done). One really great performance.
Catch Your Train shows us the will of the band to explore many genres. In this folk/country performance, we really like the acoustic and bluesy solo, and the keyboardds verses. This mix is really well done. With such points, we realise that we are really in front of professionals.
[... Rest to come ...]
-many genres explored, sign of the maturity the band has gained
-background female vocals added at the right place
-really good sound : a real professional work from technical team
-the ability of the band to synchronise many instruments and add it's personnal touch : a real professional band.
-good re-interpreation of a lot of songs, with a different atmosphere from studio recordings
-perfect musical playing, singing, and quality.
-there's an average listening sound for this album. No metal performances and slow performances, but a constant mix, which doesn't create confusion in mind of the listener.
-suitable for a real ignorant of Scorpions. I only knew Still Loving You, Wind Of Change, You and I, Holiday, and i loved the whole album.
-the lack of improvisation, even if the band has put a lot to perform on their own way
-really standart live organisation, considering the manner the songs are performed.
-not many crowd interaction
-even if it's not here to judge of that, i regret the standart lyrics. of course some sentences are really beautiful love scenes, but all in all it remains standart, but like i said, i am reviewing the performance, so that point doesn't go into consideration here.
-all in all, love songs performances, but this can be understood due to the public that night.