Friday, February 8, 2013

Uli Jon Roth @ The House of Rock 2/7/2013

Went last night w/ Dorothy to see Uli Jon Roth up in Whitemarsh. It was a helluva trek up, and I forgot the tolls. There was to be one opener and Uli to be on at like 10, and allegedly 2 hrs of old ass Scorpions songs. SO I was in for a long night.

We got to the House of Rock around 8:40, a bit early but better than late, JUST IN CASE. We immediately noticed that it was way less crowded in the parking lot than it was for Schenker. Maybe it was still early... However that was not the case, I dunno if more people went to see him at Sully's where he apparently played Tuesday, or what, but there were about 100- 120 people there max. Kind of not what I expected, I thought people would be out in force for this pretty rare occurrence- Old Uli from Germany, touring on his 40th anniversary of involvement w/ the Scorpions, PLAYING 2 HRS of said Scorpions songs! I mean what are the chances of that happening again??! I went to Turisas on Tuesday, and I also didn't know about Sully's date until... like that Sunday. This Thursday was also Gojira at Ram's Head Live, and I wanted to see them too. However I rationalized it in that Gojira would be around again,  but Uli may die before coming around again. Not to mention the 2 hrs of Scorpions songs, like when are you EVER going to hear those old Scorpions songs live in the US?

Anyways, so we get there and an opening band with a John Sykes esque guitarist, hot blond girl, and guy who reminded me of a young Steve Whiteman (hair and energy wise) were playing. They sounded OK, and played an AC/DC cover ("shot down in flames"). The girl had a pretty strong voice, but only sang on a couple songs. Perhaps some potential there, the guitarist was pretty good too. A lot of energy from these young kids.

So they went off a bit after we got there, and I was ready for Uli at 10!  Then another band went on at 9:22. Not cool. SO we figured Uli would be on at 10:30 at the earliest. This 2nd band ended at like 10PM. They sounded a bit more melodic and solid than the first one, but they seemed way less entertaining. So I was a bit miffed at the House of Rock for not being accurate with their bookface information. I know I was not the only one who had to work the next day. Not to mention the old timers who made up the majority of the crowd- man I had to man up and not be shown up by them X___X:

Merch- all shirts $30, a bunch of DVDs, 1 CD that was $20, and some sort of meet and greet ($25). I did not get anything. The CD they had was in a cardboard sleeve, so I was not very enthused about that.

 Finally, around 10:37 Uli and co took the stage. We got a drummer, a bassist, a keyboardist, a young kid in scene garb, Russell Allen's body double, and Uli. The kid apparently (looked this up) is liek 16 and from Britain, hand picked by Uli to play with him! He was dressed like a tool IMO w/ sideswept emo hair that made him look like an ewok, skinny jeans, v neck shirt, and chucks. Regardless, he sounded great. But it was quite the dichotomy seeing a scene kid, a hippie with a skullet, an 80s bass player, and a faux Russell Allen on the same stage.

 So Uli effortlessly played his guitar- in his closest to blues/jazz that I will appreciate style. He was totally feeling every note and it was coming from deep inside him, and it was rather mesmerizing. A combination of that and hearing some damn great old Scorpions songs made it particularly delightful. he rarely, if ever, looked down at his guitar- he was in complete control of the music that night. He's def up there as one of the top guitarists I've seen live.

Song-wise I recognized most of them, however, there were parts where I was not sure if it was an obscure Scorpions song, an extended intro/outro/solo, or obscure Hendrix song. So my setlist is about 90% accurate. Uli stated on his website that he is rotating songs, too, so the other night at Sully's theu got a few different songs than what we got tonight- so that's pretty awesome! 

I was about 10 feet from Uli and the stage, and the sound was a bit distorted. The vocals did not sound great. When Uli took the mic, I could not make out 95% of what he was singing. His guitar, however, was pretty clear, so I was fine with being up close for the majority of the show. Later on, I was told the sound was clearer in the back. I went back and agreed with that assertion- I could actually hear the vocals. Actually back in the bathroom, it was pretty clear too. 

Around midnight, I figured we were getting 1hr and 1/2, so I was pleasantly surprised when he kept playing! Mostly Hendrix songs for the encore (and songs Hendrix did way better than Dylan ever could), and they all sounded great, minus the vocals. The kid sang Purple Haze as well. So the tour manager delivered on the promise of 2 hrs of Scorpions songs- Uli played from 10:37- 12:49. He gave the kid a chance to shine and the lad ran with it- singing and playing Purple Haze. I think he played behind his back at one point as well. I am curious as to where that chap is going with his music- keep your eyes on that one! (Ali Clinton I think his name is)

Sweet baby apes the ride back home was brutal. So overall, after the long long night, it was totally worth it to come out to see the living legend. He was shredding way past his bedtime and in the end it was me who had to sit down at the end of the show X_X: One of the greatest guitarists EVER.

Uli Jon Roth- pix from Dorothy's Camera phone by Dorothy

Setlist (10:37-12:49)

  • All Night Long(Scorpions song)
  • Longing for Fire (Scorpions song)
  • Crying Days (Scorpions song)
  • They Need a Million (Scorpions song)
  • Evening Wind (Scorpions song)
  • The Sails of Charon (Scorpions song)
  • If 6 Was 9 (Jimi Hendrix cover) (UIi sings)
  • We'll Burn the Sky (Scorpions song)
  • In Trance (Scorpions song)
  • I've Got to Be Free (Scorpions song)
  • (Unknown) (May have been another song here)
  • Polar Nights (Scorpions song) (may have been before Dark Lady, not positive)
  • Dark Lady (Scorpions song)
  • Encore:
  • Pictured Life (Scorpions song)
  • Catch Your Train (Scorpions song)
  • All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)
  • Hell Cat (Scorpions song) (possibly partial)
  • Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix cover)
  • Purple Haze(Jimi Hendrix cover) (other guitarist sang)