Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 19th May 1979

Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 19th May 1979
scorpionstix79I first saw German heavy metal band Scorpions in 1979 at Newcastle City Hall. Scorpions visited the UK several times between 1975 and 1979, playing in small clubs up and down the country, and by 1979 they were starting to build a considerable following, large enough to fill concert venues like the City Hall. They had just released their sixth studio album “Lovedrive”, which many fans believe to be their finest hour, showcasing their classic heavy metal formula which mixed some of the hardest, sharpest metal tracks with melodic ballads. After a few years in the wilderness, partly due to the arrival of punk rock, heavy rock was starting to reemerge in the form of the NMOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and bands like Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Scorpions no doubt benefited from the renewed interest in heavy rock, plus their former member, and ace guitar hero, Michael Schenker had just rejoined the band, which also helped to increase their popularity. The line-up was Klaus Meine (lead vocals), Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar, and Michael’s older brother), Francis Buchholz (bass), and Herman Rarebell (drums).
Matthias Jabs (lead guitar) also featured on “Lovedrive” and played guitar when Michael Schenker was indisposed, which happened several times during their early 1979 concert dates. Schenker was suffering from alcohol abuse, was not well enough to play some of the dates, and ultimately left Scorpions in mid 1979 to form his own Michael Schenker Group. I remember being surprised just how great Scorpions were, and at how strong their fan base already was. The concert sold out quickly and the Newcastle fans gave the band an amazing reception. I didn’t know any of the material at all but was blown away by the power and hard edge of their music. My memory tells me that Michael Schenker did play the City Hall gig, but I can’t be certain. I know that he pulled out of several of the gigs around that time, with Matthias Jabs having to step in, often as short notice. My favourite song from “Lovedrive” is “Loving You Sunday Morning”
Harry Doherty reviewing “Lovedrive” for Melody Maker, in 1979: “now that the new wave has been institutionalised and tamed by the establishment, heavy metal is once more basking in a glorious and celebrated comeback, a feast that will presumably last until the next fad surfaces – when HM will promptly revert to its underground role. But in the current blaze of recognition, look out for a powerful and, as far as Britain is concerned, relatively new heavy metal band, Scorpions”
Support on the 1979 dates came from Terra Nova, a short lived group was formed in 1979 by former Manfred Mann’s Earth Band members Chris Slade and Colin Pattenden.
In August 1979 Scorpions replaced Thin Lizzy as Saturday night headliners at the Reading festival, at two days notice. Scorpions acquitted themselves well, and went down a storm with the Reading heavy metal crowd, particularly considering that everyone was expecting to see Thin Lizzy.
It is likely the setlist at the City Hall was something like this: Pictured Life; Backstage Queen; We’ll Burn the Sky; Loving You Sunday Morning; Lovedrive; In Trance; Always Somewhere; Life’s Like a River; Fly to the Rainbow; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Top of the Bill; Robot Man; Steamrock Fever; Can’t Get Enough
Their setlist at Reading was shorter: Backstage Queen; We’ll Burn the Sky; Loving You Sunday Morning; Lovedrive; Always Somewhere; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Robot Man

12 responses to this post.

  1. you have the bootleg of this show?


  2. Posted by Tony Poolan on September 30, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I was at this gig. There was a lot of speculation about whether Schenker would appear beforehand – clearly he didn’t!

    The band were really good and I was impressed by Jabs. I had heard Lovedrive and caught up with their previous output beforehand so I had a decent view of how good they were. Klaus Meine was also very impressive that night.

    Looking at this blog it amazes me how many gigs I attended in the 70s and early 80s!


    • Posted by vintagerock on September 30, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Cheers Tony To be honest my memory is hazy about this gig as to whether Schenker was there or not. Are you certain that he wasnt there? Peter


  3. Posted by Hockey on April 14, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Peter, I saw the Manchester Free Trade Hall show on this tour, also hoping Michael Schenker would be in the band. Although he wasn’t it was still a great gig and Lovedrive is certainly one of their career highlights, Mattias Jabs was great too and glad he stayed with them, I distinctly recall they had an awesome guitar sound with the classic Gibson/Marshall combination like Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest at the time. hope we get another chance to see them before they retire. happy days! regards, Michael


    • Posted by vintagerock on April 14, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Thanks Michael Happy days indeed. Scorpions are over in the Summer for a one off exclusive UK gig at the Ramblin Man festival. A couple of my mates are going; the line up is pretty strong. Cheers Peter


  4. Posted by jamie on January 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I was in seat L 13. I got klaus meine’s towel when he lobbed it out. Michael schenker was NOT playing. I still have the concert ticket stub


  5. Posted by mike on November 1, 2020 at 10:54 am

    i was there, i must find my ticket stubb!!, i miss this period in my life, city hall and the mayfair every week, the best times of my life ,.


  6. Posted by Kev Turner on March 27, 2023 at 8:33 pm

    I was there, first ever concert at 15, with my mate in the Circle in the bit that hangs right over the stage. Blew my mind. Was addicted to concerts after that, saw all the early 80 rock bands at the City Hall and Mayfair from then on. Especially remember Van Halen coming on late and clearly off their heads, a madly loud Motorhead (Bomber Tour I think was the worst, couldnt even tell you what the encore track was, it was just noise) and ZZ Top, they were just outrageously good.


    • Posted by vintagerock on March 28, 2023 at 11:30 am

      Hi Kev

      Yes there were some great bands and some great concerts at the City Hall and the Mayfair in those days. Happy days Peter


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