GIGS GUIDE

[venue]: CNE Grandstand, 210 Princes' Boulevard
[city/province]: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
[date/time]: 1984 August 17, Friday, 5:00 PM
[info]: Vices tour, Hurricane Night with Scorpions, Quiet Riot, Helix

Scorpions/Quiet Riot/Helix/Kick Axe
by Keith Sharp
Music Express, Vol. 8, No. 83, p. 58
October 1984

If this had been an Olympic boxing match, The Scorpions would have won the gold on a unanimous points decision, Helix and Kick Axe would have taken the silver and bronze respectively for performing well under adverse conditions...and Quiet Riot would have been knocked out in the first round.

Rarely has this critic seen a supposed major band perform so poorly on such a prestigious occasion. As one homeward audience member succinctly put it, "They sucked the joint out."

At no point during their one-hour set did Quiet Riot look like winning over a near comatose audience of some 18,000 headbangers. Quite simply, Quiet Riot failed to spark any line of communication between themselves and the crowd. For the most part, the band's material is average to say the least with only their two Slades hits: Cum Feel the Noize and Mama Weer All Crazee Now, plus the set-closing Metal Health stirring any form of enthusiasm from the masses.

Kevin DuBrow, looking like a real clown in his yellow and black striped pants and red jacket, jumped around like a demented lunatic and support men Carlos Cavazo and Rudy Sarzo supplied the rudimentary rock star poses. The end result though, was puerile and superficial. As their new album title would indicate, Quiet Riot's present condition is indeed critical.

By comparison, Canadian metallurgists, Helix and Kick Axe came through like a fresh breeze off Lake Ontario. Both bands were hampered by limited stage space, no lighting, a dodgy PA, plus having to perform to a crowd that was just settling into their seats after clocking out from work or dragging themselves off the beach.

With guitarist Brent Doerner and Paul Hackman working well with new bassist Daryl Gray, and frontman Brian Vollmer in fine vocal form, Helix set the Metal Force concert off on a promising start. Rock You and Heavy Metal Love drew a particularly responsive reaction and the overall effect was one of a band that is fast maturing into one of the world's top rock acts.

Kick Axe picked up where Helix left off and although their songs lack the structure of Helix, the driving force of Heavy Metal Shuffle, All The Right Moves, Vices and On The Road To Rock were easily digested. The group's ace is vocalist George Criston who not only has a distinctive vocal style, but in the fine tradition of metal bands, knows how to work an audience.

Recovering from Quiet Riot's flaccid display, the crowd was itching for something spectacular - and they got it in spades from The Scorpions. Opening with a lighting sequence right out of Close Encounters, the German rockers showed just what 14 years of experience means in the way of delivering a class performance.

With a clean but effective stage design that allowed for maximum movement and a lighting arrangement that was truly dazzling to the eye. The Scorpions performed as though they are the Royalty of Rock. Klaus Meine has got to be the one of the most powerful, yet melodic frontmen in the business while duel axemen, Rudolph Schenker and Matthias Jabs combine piercing guitar licks with cliched but appealing stage choreography.

Drawing mainly from theit Blackout and Love at First Sting albums, Scorpions kept the masses weaving with anthemic material like Dynamite, Big City Nights, Coming Home, Can't Live Without You and their two biggest hits No One Like You and Rock You Like A Hurricane, the power of which was truly awesome.

Heavy metal groups blow up a hurricane
by Matthew Fraser
(Toronto) Globe and Mail, p. E7
1984, August 18

ONE THING to be said for heavy metal is that, although various styles of rock music have gone in and out of vogue over the past decade or so - psychedelic, progressive, disco, punk, electropop - it has been blasting away and has always found a large audience. The Heavy Metal Hurricane at the Grandstand last night found an audience of nearly 20,000 heavy metal fans who head-banged and fist-pumped their way through a six-hour metal fest featuring Helix, Kick Axe, Quiet Riot and The Scorpions.

Hurricane is a perfect image for heavy metal music, and it is used frequently. For example, the line "I've got a hurricane coming" is in Quiet Riot's Run For Cover, and a Scorpions hit is called Rock You Like A Hurricane. Hurricanes destroy everything in sight, and heavy metal music has similar ambitions. It's not mere rebellion; it's seething nihilism.

Neither Helix's or Kick Axe's sets wreaked much havoc at the Grandstand last night, however, but it seemed to be partly because it was still sunny and hot and a lot of the audience was still streaming into the outdoor venue. The show got going, though, when Quiet Riot charged onto the stage and thrashed their way through an hour-long set during which singer Kevin Dubrow frequently yelled: "I want you to scream until your throats bleed."

The set featured Quiet Riot's Slade covers, Cum On Feel The Noize and Mama We're All Crazy Now, but Dubrow's Noddy Holder imitation lacked the gravelly power of Holder's voice on the Slade records and during the Slade shows at the Gardens about 10 years ago. All in all, Quiet Riot's set was a gaudy display of showmanship that could well be included in the satirical rock film, This Is Spinal Tap, and the group insisted on doing an encore despite the fact that no one called out for one.

Indeed, the audience was clearly impatient for the appearance of the Scorpions, and what an appearance it was. The light show, centred on drummer Hareman Rarebell's drum kit, perched up on a column like a flying saucer, was reminiscent of Pink Floyd's shows 10 years ago (metal fans apparently like Floyd) and the German group's show was a thrust-and-thrash marathon - featuring a lot of songs from the recent album, Love at First Sting - with singer Klaus Meine, dressed in black leather, firmly in control of the audience, which followed his every instruction like a mesmerized organic mass.

The Scorpions, heavy metal's panzer force, have been around for a long time but have been successful mainly in their native Germany and Japan (where any form of metal does well). From the response the group got last night, though, it looks like they have finally arrived at the zenith of heavy metal stardom. That won't impress certain tastes, but the Scorpions will no doubt be blistering away when electropop gives way to some other fad.