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7 years after their last live album was released, Scorpions recorded another impressive performance on stage. Things had changed since the Uli Jon Roth days, including the band’s sound and status. Back in the mid-80’s, they were more popular than ever, selling millions of copies of their latest album, “Love At First Sting”, one of the more acclaimed of the whole decade. The classic line-up Meine-Schenker-Jabs-Buchholz-Rarebell already proved its potential and creativity with 3 previous records that became essential in their discography catalog. Now that Scorps had renewed their set-list completely with a bunch of hits and metal anthems, it was the right time to put out another live LP.
The huge screaming crowd seems impatient and can’t even wait for the “Countdown” few seconds intro to end. It was worth the wait. Scorpions attack since the very first tunes very hard, with raging loose tracks like “Coming Home” and the immense “Blackout”. And the audience has already gone crazy with those 2. The best is yet to come, though. The band plays a handful of more melodic but still heavy compositions. “Loving You Sunday Morning” or “Make It Real”, for instance, sound magnificent and superior to the studio versions. Same happened with the emotional ballads, “Still Loving You” particularly, with those riffs like roaring thunder in the main chorus and Meine’s voice totally touching and heavenly. The audience reacts positively and passionate to the new album cuts the group introduced to them. Just check out how they sing the lyrics of “Big City Nights”, loud and terrifying. It must be mission impossible to remain quiet, silent and calmed while listening to such brutality on numbers like “Bad Boys Running Wild” or “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, both plenty of fierce riffs that reach an absolutely higher level of power and intensity in concert. The outrageous speed and aggression of “Dynamite” and “Another Piece Of Meat” will make you jump from your seat and break your neck headbanging to them. Those are the most cathartic moments of the whole record, no doubt about it. Damn, any other 80’s heavy metal group did it that harsh, fast and insatiable? That’s the pure definition of metal: fury, strength, attitude and skills. Elements of Scorpions’ music that became bigger and more spectacular on stage. Pure magic can be found too on the instrumental “Coast to Coast”, with Klaus joining the guitar combo, and “The Zoo” with its weighty monumental riff, the crowd sings along unleashed.
Scorpions demonstrated once again they were a live band, not like other cheesy rock bands of those times whose potential was based only on studio tricks and overdubs. The energy, power and the whole climax on each of these live compositions is extraordinary, offering something much more memorable than the original studio work itself. The live shows of Meine and co. had always been amazingly brilliant since the early 70’s. Now that the times had changed, I guess the band had to simplify their old ways and follow strictly the studio patterns of the songs. The alternative structures, surprising changes and arrangements, along with the extended improvised jams became old-fashioned in the 80’s. The audience demanded something straighter, more direct. So these live versions don’t offer any remarkable difference on their structures and execution from the originals. But if we are talking about the presence and rage, definitely this record makes a difference from anything we heard before. Studio work use to be clean, exact, polished...this performance is the opposite. Immaculately played and professional, but completely rough, violent, even speed increases and the riffs become more lethal and abrasive. Don’t forget we got a legendary line-up here. Meine’s vocals sound plenty of grace, rich even on the final tracks with no exhaustion. He motivates the crowd incessantly with his charisma, whose undisputed effect on the fans make “Can’t Live Without You” or “Holyday” absolutely exciting. The audience scream, clap and sing along like crazy, louder than the instruments themselves at times. And the combo Jabs-Schenker make another incredible display of virtuosism and impossible abilities. Admire the ultra-fast shredding solo of Matthias on “Six String Sting”, for instance. The sound in general is quite good, fortunately, for a giant stadium concert recording. Although Rarebell’s excessively dry snare drum and cymbals sound might be the only tolerable weak spot.
This is one of the best live records that represent accurately the glorious splendour of 80’s heavy metal, that unique vintage sound you won’t find anywhere nowadays. The living proof of these guys talent, honesty and inspiration on stage. They offered one of the most thrilling gigs back then. In the same level of Iron Maiden’s “Live After Death” or Judas Priest’s “Priest...Live!”, this is an album you must have to feel and relive the magnificence of one of the greatest metal groups Germany has ever produced. Plenty of that innate brutality and killer attitude of most of European acts, this stuff will provide you something raw to headbang to.
When the band releases its best album, what it does? Goes on tour, naturally! When the Scorpions's hit album Love at First Sting is at stake, the tour goes big. The album is recorded in various places. The previous Scorpions Live album, Tokyo Tapes was released back in 1978. There are some differences between the two live albums besides the places where they were recorded.
Album consists of the material from the albums 1979-1984, from Lovedrive to Love at First Sting. Tokyo Tapes's material was from the first five albums. World Wide Live has no same song as Tokyo Tapes, which actually makes the comparison a bit more difficult.
The screaming of the crowd is stopped by the "Coming Home" which has been chosen for to be the first track. It's acoustic and silent intro has been taken off, which is not a bad thing. There's more guitar solos, and the song actually starts with one, I didn't even recognized this at first. "Blackout" is logical sequel to "Coming Home". There are no particular changes on this track. "Bad Boys Running Wild"'s crazy intro doesn't sound so fine when played live. "Loving you Sunday Morning" has also been hit by dropping the intro out. The power has somehow drawn out, and the guitar sounds a bit lazy. "Make it Real" suffers from the same problem, the simple guitar riff sounds like it has just got up. But there are more solos added.
"Big City Nights", recorded at Los Angeles (logically) is so happy as always. Vocalist Klaus Meine even cheers the audience up to sing with him and without. The result describes the intensity at their gigs. "Coast to Coast" reveals that Klaus Meine can play guitar too. He handles the rhythm guitar when Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs are busy. That counts three guitars at the same time! "Holiday", that weepy ballad, is the next song. "Holiday" is made here acoustic only, and it actually works as a intro for "Still Loving You", the best ballad that Scorpions have made. It isn't better or worse than the album version. The sad guitar parts in the start have been remained untouched. The song actually is more raw than on the album. The end of the track is actually one of the few times when you can hear the audience going crazy under the bulldozing guitar attacks.
"Rock you like a Hurricane" is so crushing as ever, or even more. "Can't Live without You" has Meine cheering the audience up. The song really starts after it has been playing for a minute. The audience's reaction can't be heard too well, twin guitar attack prevents that. "Another Piece of Meat" has gone even better. It's louder and more crushing than on the album. Fast drumming kicks the crap out. Fast percussion attack continues with "Dynamite". It ends like it were a ending of the whole album. The band just gets slightly mad.
In the start of "The Zoo" someone is screaming, apparently Meine, who livens the audience up a bit again. "The Zoo" is a great song, there's no denying it. It's slow riff is good counter-balance for the happy songs earlier. The song features this odd voice, who is actually Jabs, and he makes this a good solo, thought it's not guitar. "The Zoo" doesn't even fade away, when the band starts the "No One Like You". A good half-ballad is good at this phase. It is a wonder, that Scorpions just don't end the album with ballad. Instead, it ends it all with "Can't Get Enough". The song is divided in two parts. The first part starts with drumming and ends suddenly with solo. All except the crowd are quiet when the interlude "Six String Sting" suddenly starts. It is a guitar solo part, which is pretty long. There are few aggressive, melodic and incredible solos here. During the solos, the audience gets crazy, but who wouldn't? Solos continue when the part two of the "Can't Get Enough" starts, and ends...
World Wide Live is a great live-album, but it also reveals some weaknesses. Some parts which sounded amazingly on albums have lost some of their magic live. Some limitations in Meine's vocals are also revealed. The album lacks few good songs which should have been here, "Is There Anybody There?" for instance. This can't be compared to Tokyo Tapes, because of the different material.