The Scorpions - Tokyo Tapes

The Scorpions – Tokyo Tapes

83 / 100

Recorded at two of three nights at Tokyo’s famed Nakano Sun Plaza ‘Tokyo Tapes’ compiles The Scorpions last performances with guitarist Uli Roth.

Written by: Eric

ARTIST: The Scorpions
ALBUM: Tokyo Tapes
SERIAL: CL 28331
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Klaus Meine – lead vocals * Ulrich Roth – lead guitar, lead and backing vocals * Rudolf Schenker – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals * Francis Buchholz – bass, backing vocals * Herman Rarebell – drums, percussion, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 All Night Long * 02 Picture Life * 03 Backstage Queen * 04 Polar Nights * 05 In Trance * 06 We’ll Burn The Sky * 07 Suspender Love * 08 In The Search Of Peace Of Mind * 09 Fly To The Rainbow * 10 He’s A Woman, She’s A Man * 11 Speedy’s Coming * 12 Top Of The Bill * 13 Hound Dog * 14 Long Tall Sally * 15 Steamrock Fever * 16 Dark Lady * 17 Kojo No Tsuki * 18 Robot Man



Walking the streets of Tokyo in white platform boots and Japanese whorehouse leisurewear, few bands looked cooler in my young eyes and sounded better to my then still healthy ear drums than The Scorpions in the 1970’s and this two record set.

Expensive as heck as an import, I couldn’t afford ‘Tokyo Tapes’ until its domestic issue in early 1979, but when I finally dropped the needle on the pristine plastic I was smitten and bookended with ‘Lovedrive’, a fan for life or at least until 1984 when I lost interest in the post ‘Blackout’ era and a string of what I perceived as weak albums ‘Love At First Sting’ included.

The Songs

Recorded at two of three nights at Tokyo’s famed Nakano Sun Plaza ‘Tokyo Tapes’ compiles The Scorpions last performances with guitarist Uli Roth. Naturally he’s in top form and the band are smoking’ kicking off with the crowd pleasing ‘All Night Long’, a song that with ‘Suspender Love’ never appeared on another Scorps album.

Tight and clearly poised for global domination with America the last domino to fall, Klaus Meine’s broken English and yes, Japanese banter is entertaining but the hard rock thunder on display is astounding. Tracks like ‘Pictured Life’ from the perverse classic ‘Virgin Killer’ and the searing ‘He’s A Woman, She’s A Man’ giving Rudolph Schenker the spotlight are breathtaking and brimming with molten riffs.

In between the spacey krautrock ala Eloy of ‘In Search Of the Peace of Mind’ lulls the audience in a smoky haze while the hair-blowing ‘Steamrock Fever’ lays waste to the first five rows and finds The Scorpions in classic mode, both catchy and metal to the core.

Yeah, I probably could have done without the covers of ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’ as well as the Queen-like ‘Kojo No Tsuki’, apparently a Japanese favourite, but they rock sufficiently and are nothing to be ashamed of.

In Summary

I’m of the opinion and I know many agree, this is one of the greatest hard rock live albums of all time and according to Uli Roth the first show was the better of the three but inexplicably was not recorded. Hard to imagine listening to this as many times as I have over the years, how much better it was but we’ll never know, just the 2,200 lucky enough to be present that night at the Sun Plaza.

Roth was replaced by Matthias Jabs, who was briefly ousted by Michael Schenker only to rejoin permanently after Schenker collapsed onstage due to yet another well-documented bout with the demon alcohol. On the reissue front the 2-CD 1992 version of ‘Tokyo Tapes’ is the one to seek out with later issues omitting ‘Polar Nights’ due to single disc time constraints.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Playlist: Scorpions - Tokyo Tapes - [Full Album] - 1978
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