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Uli Jon Roth

Artist: Uli Jon Roth

Venue: Sheffield, Corporation

Date: 22 November 2023


"It’s still great to be able to see musicians like Uli Jon Roth doing what they do best, and virtuoso guitar is definitely something that he does best."

 
Uli Jon Roth © Andy B
Uli Jon Roth © Andy B

Uli Jon Roth, founding guitarist with the Scorpions, is sixty-nine years old (just, December 2023), still touring, still wears his hair long, and still plays lightning fast guitar, accurately. This guy has no problem with arthritic fingers.


The last time I saw him was at Birmingham Arena as part as the G3 line up with Joe Satriani and Jon Petrucci. Tonight he was on a stage no bigger than my kitchen, and I couldn’t help thinking how strange it was, as this guy should be seen by everybody who appreciates the guitar as an instrument and an art form, while also thinking that it was great to watch him from just a few feet away. I recognised his bass player/vocalist Niklas Turmann from the G3 show, but didn’t recognise anybody else, but they were all top musicians. The audience, it has to be mentioned, represented all ages with young, old and all in-between in attendance.


When they came on, at around 8.30ish, they started playing and after just a few seconds Roth held his hands up to stop proceedings and asked, “Can we have some light at the front here”, as the band were playing almost in darkness, stating “After all, it’s not a bat cave”, and I’m glad he did as photography would have been very difficult otherwise. After playing the instrumental ‘Amadeus’, he stated that he was finding it hard to play as his hands were so cold, before continuing with the title track from ‘Electric Sun’, and, having a close-up view of Roth’s incredible “Sky guitars”, I was amazed at how many control knobs and switches there were on them (ten knobs on the first guitar), and even more intrigued by what they all did. The rest of the night was generally taken over by early Scorpion’s material, only broken up by a new instrumental titled ‘The Crying’, which Roth explained had a story, which would have played on a big screen at the back of the stage, but which no-one would see as it was a Mickey Mouse set-up behind the drummer. He wasn’t wrong, although I did spot footage of Martin Luther King while the “I have a dream” speech was mixed with the music. Naturally, thrown in amongst all the Scorpion’s material was the ever present favourite ‘Sails Of Charon’, and of particular note was guitarist David Klosinski, who played in perfect synchronicity with Roth, including harmony leads, particularly impressive during ‘We’ll Burn The Sky’.


At the end of the set, the band went off only for about a minute, and on returning Roth asked “What shall we do”? There was a shout from the audience, but he said “No, no, no, let’s have some fun”, and went into his version of Jimi Hendrix’s version of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’. The evening then concluded with another Scorpions song, ‘Yellow Raven’. It’s still great to be able to see musicians like Uli Jon Roth doing what they do best, and virtuoso guitar is definitely something that he does best.

 

Review: Andy B/Lou C. Photos: Andy B.

 
 

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