The heavy metal genre, and really rock in general, has produced countless examples of legendary musicians performing well past their primes. Sure, the performances drop off a little bit, and sometimes the bands partner with young audiences to give hybrid performances. But there also seems to be an almost mysterious energy to rock stars that just doesn’t ebb away.
Even so, one group we didn’t necessarily expect to see having a busy final act was Scorpions. The German quintet had its heyday in the ‘80s, and at this point it’s no insult to say the guys are getting up there a bit. Frontman Klaus Meine turns 73 years old this spring, and famed guitarist Rudolf Schenker is 72 now as well. By no means is that too old to perform in this day and age, but the fact that Scorpions have still been generating headlines of late is a bit of a surprise.
To some extent, these headlines have had little to do with Scorpions as an active band. Rather, they’ve come from a narrative podcast about the group’s famous hit “Wind Of Change.” Produced by Crooked Media and hosted by Patrick Radden Keefe, the podcast explored the theory that the CIA was instrumental in the writing of “Wind Of Change” as a piece of Cold War propaganda. We won’t spoil the outcome of the investigative deep dive, but as Vulture’s review put it, this podcast is a thrilling ride — and one that takes you right back to Scorpions’ glory days, CIA-fueled or not.
The Wind Of Change podcast brought some attention back to the band, but Scorpions have been active themselves as well. A report on Loudwire back in 2019 revealed that the group was at work on a new album, and though the pandemic delayed that work, there is still hope of new music in 2021. We know that the band was recording last year, and they even put out a new, pandemic-inspired track called “Signs Of Hope.” It wasn’t half bad, and Meine sounds terrific, making the prospect of one more album all the more exciting.
This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. One is that Vegas remains an absolute musical utopia, which many people don’t realize because of how much attention the casinos soak up. The truth is most of the best artists in the western world have made a point of regularly passing through Vegas for many decades. And even now, the shows are among the main attractions. A recent article on Poker.org about things to do in Vegas placed live shows near the top, stating simply that people “can’t make a trip” to town without catching one of its major live events. These events are viewed by many visitors as the best parts of a town built on entertainment — meaning there’s no better gig to see right now than a Scorpions gig.
We can’t wait to see it. Scorpions have had tremendous songs, albums, and tours, and as mentioned regarding the 2020 Annual Hall of Heavy Metal History gala, they’re in the Hall. They have nothing to prove, and certainly nothing left owed to fans. But they are enjoying some fresh attention even as they age, and it might just culminate in some truly special shows in Vegas.