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ULI JON ROTH In Ottawa, Canada

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Tuesday, May 21, 2024 @ 11:13 AM


Legendary SCORPIONS Guitarist Brews Up A Selection Of Classical And Rock At The Overflow Brewing Company May 9, 2024

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Classical music!
World music!
Blues!
Classic rock!
And keeping it all on a proverbial string!

The Interstellar Sky Guitar Tour featuring legendary guitarist ULI JON ROTH made its first-ever landing at the Overflow Brewing Company recently. For the reasonably-priced $13.99 tacos, you may be asking yourself? Perhaps, but on a more musically-related purpose, its visit coincided more with the 40th anniversary of his famous personalized Sky Guitar along with a berth of new releases from the acclaimed musician, including excerpts from Vivaldi's Four Seasons and ULI's own Metamorphosis Concerto. ULI also had just finished writing a book titled In Search Of The Alpha Law, whose history for which he would also be incorporating in in a brief TED Talk between sets. And, of course, ULI's own contributions to hard rock/metal also have some celebratory milestones of their own: 50 years since his debut with the SCORPIONS on Fly To The Rainbow (the first of four studio albums he would record with the band) and 45 years since forming ELECTRIC SUN and recording their debut album Earthquake.

And it was an ideal way to spend three hours that night.

The Classical Part

Emceed by a young elegantly-dressed blonde-haired woman who, in fact, was his daughter and his keyboardist Akasha, ULI, decked out in his colorful and comfortable psychedelic wardrobe and with his multi-stringed Sky Guitar in tow, opened his set with a mesmerizing version of "Amadeus", written upon having seen the 1984 movie of the same name. With the first half being strictly comprised of classical compositions with a nice flourish of world music influences as a background screen captured the mood and tone of the songs with vivid and panoramic images and videos of mostly space and nature doing their thing, this classical set was definitely anything but strict. ULI had included some of his own compositions such as "Queen Of The Night" and "Passage To India" and the lush sounds of his Sky Guitar transported the crowd across several sonic hemispheres. Even his latest song "Child Of The Thunder Mountain", its underlying message more focused about the plights of extreme climate change in both vision and tone, received a good reception; however, the pair of Antonio Vivaldi pieces - specifically "Concerto No. 1" and "Concerto No. 4" encompassing all four seasons in full display in the screen in the background - had come to receive a lot more rapturous applause. Climaxing his last set with his own number titled "Metamorphosis", ULI rounded out a stellar classical performance to the overall approval of many an audience member at the show that night who, despite being there for the hard rock segment of the show, came to a mutual appreciation of his classical/world music direction.

And before the start of the second half of the show, ULI did give a brief speech about his book In Search Of The Alpha Law, which he'd mentioned on occasion during his classical set, and discussed more in detail - specifically in finally granting it an official public release after spending the bulk of the COVID-19 lockdown in writing the publication. If you're a fan of how musicians derive their inspiration into songwriting and how a lot of the science that goes into such an accomplishment is involved, this is the book for you - all 650 pages of it.

But, since you came to this review for the music, we should carry onwards here.

The Hard Rock Part

As captivating as the classical music segment of ULI JON ROTH's performance was, even he was aware that the audience were mostly in attendance to hear his virtuoso magic on many of the early SCORPIONS albums. It was evident, naturally, with the high number of fans wearing tour shirts of his former band even if those shirts were from later tours from long when he'd left the band in 1978. But his legacy spoke well for itself in bringing in new generations of fans - and even his current bandmates.

With his backing band comprised of Niklas Turmann (bass/vocals), David Klosinski (guitar), Jamie Little (drums) and the aforementioned Akasha Roth (keyboards/emcee), ULI showcased songs from each ELECTRIC SUN album, as well as tracks from his time with the SCORPIONS by kicking off with the deep number "All Night Long". With ULI's early blues influences laid bare, they showcased his playing as being a firm integral part of the SCORPIONS' early sound and he showed that he still had the musical chops to play those songs. Niklas handled much of the vocals during the show while ULI personalized his own vocals on not only the ELECTRIC SUN numbers but also on the more personable number "Don't Tell The Wind", which had been written by his late brother Zeno - an established musician in his own right who'd been the guitarist in his own band ZENO during the 80's - prior to his passing in 2018.

The true crowd pleasers of the entire show that night would undoubtedly be the SCORPIONS numbers stemming from the band's 70's era - especially "In Trance", "Pictured Life" and the closing number "The Sails Of Charon". Both ULI and Niklas together handled the vocals throughout the songs and captured the raw essence of Klaus Meine's harmonic energy, making one ponder about what musical direction could the SCORPIONS have gone in had ULI remained as its integral sonic component. Would that have meant the band compromising their future mainstream success in exchange to retaining their core bluesy sound over time? Hard to say, but, for now, ULI JON ROTH's own destiny appears to be written in the clouds as the SCORPIONS' overall ambassador while letting his own voice stay heard. And for many of the veteran SCORPIONS fanbase from the early 70's, the closest to hearing many of these deep cuts from their catalogue is to hear the master himself play them live, which he shows no sign of slowing down while doing so.

Special thanks to the Overflow Brewing Company and CHORD Productions for their interstellar work in making this show happen (and to Christina Kaspar for buying me the tour shirt!).

https://ujr.info/
https://www.facebook.com/ulijonrothofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/ulijonroth/

Setlist:

  • "Amadeus"
  • "Rondo AllaTurca" (Mozart cover)
  • "Queen Of The Night"
  • "The Cry"
  • "Passage To India"
  • "The Journey"
  • "Child Of The Thunder Mountain"
  • "Le Quattro Stagioni, Concerto No. 1 (I The Spring: April Rain)" (Antonio Vivaldi cover)
  • "Le Quattro Stagioni, Concerto No. 4 (IV The Winter: Ice And Fire) (Antonio Vivaldi cover)
  • "Metamorphosis"
  • "All Night Long" (SCORPIONS cover)
  • "Electric Sun" (ELECTRIC SUN cover)
  • "Lilac" (ELECTRIC SUN cover)
  • "Sun In My Hand" (SCORPIONS cover)
  • "Land Of Dawn"
  • "Don't Tell The Wind" (ZENO cover)
  • "We'll Burn The Sky" (SCORPIONS cover)
  • "In Trance" (SCORPIONS cover)
  • "Pictured Life" (SCORPIONS cover)
  • "Fly To The Rainbow" (SCORPIONS over)
  • "The Sails Of Charon" (SCORPIONS cover)


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