Uli Jon Roth – “Tokyo Tapes Revisited – Live In Japan” 2CD/ DVD/ Blu Ray (UDR)
One of my all time favorite double live albums from the 1970s, “Tokyo Tapes” also remains one of the classic releases by the Scorpions, not in the least because it closes the era featuring virtuoso guitarist Ulrich Jon Roth, whose stellar lead work is emblazoned all over its 18 tracks! A veritable guitar god who worshiped at the temple of Hendrix, Roth’s fretboard talents took in neoclassical as one of its early pioneers, the psychedelic 60s and the hard rock of the 70s to make him a cult figure even after he left the band, making his own way in Electric Sun, later inventing the 30 fret Sky Guitar and establishing the International Sky Academy. Now, some 38 years after its original recording, Roth has returned to the original Nakano Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo to record another 19 live track extravaganza that includes songs like ‘We’ll Burn The Sky’ and ‘Pictured Life’ as well as album tracks like ‘Sails Of Charon’ from “Taken By Force” – not to mention Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’! Besides Superstar’s Nathan James on vocals and Crystal Breed’s Niklas Turmann on guitar who also trades vocals with James from song to song, there are no less than 3 guitarists in the band along with keyboards, which adds to a fuller and expanded sound, and whilst the 1978 recording rocked, this version not only does that, but also allows the song composing and musicianship to be appreciated even more in an unhurried performance. Still with a breathtaking array of effects pedals stretching across the screen, Roth’s magnificent guitar work along with his Sky Guitar adds even more depth (not to mention octaves!) to the material, proving that even on modernized versions the enrichment and ensuing passion of these classic songs cannot be understated. Although with limited camera angles – probably intentional so as not to interfere visually with the crowd’s enjoyment – the sound is nothing short of perfect in allowing all instruments to be heard in crystal clarity. “Tokyo Tapes Revisited – Live In Japan” is a worthy complementary successor to its original release and brings full circle the blinding guitar talents of Ulrich Roth once more to the land that worships guitar gods best. Jimi would’ve been proud.