Uli Jon Roth the German guitarist, known for his solo work, his unique ‘Sky Guitar’ and his time in the 70s on classic Scorpions records. Roth made a stop at Portland, Oregon’s Bossanova Ballroom on March 30th. This tour was dubbed by Roth as ‘The Triple Anniversary Tour,’ which pays homage to 50 years of creative music. Roth has been riding high and touring extensively behind ‘Scorpions Revisited’  and ‘Tokyo Tapes Revisited-Live In Japan’ , which are a nod to his work with Scorpions and is frankly excellent material, that has been overlooked by Scorpions over the decades, as they moved into a more commercial direction. So where are you going to hear classics like, “The Sails of Charon,” “Pictured Life,” “Polar Nights,” “Catch Your Train,” “We’ll Burn The Sky” or “In Trance?” Well, at a Uli Jon Roth show, of course!
Those that have caught Roth over the years is aware that, he plays with two additional guitars, making for a full, wall of sound, which allows Roth to cut loose and perform songs like you hear them on his records. Roth took time to pay tribute to his brother Zeno Roth who passed in February of this year, Uli said about his brother “He’s left this universe, I’d like to play something from him, he was a great guitarist and songwriter.” Roth and Co break into “Don’t Tell The Wind,” which was well received by those in attendance. Roth with trademark, long flowing hair, albeit more salt than pepper these days, and his colorful bandanna around his head, doesn’t appear to break so much of as a sweat going into the intermission. Did I mention, how gracefully the guy has aged? If we could all the same as we get older.
Uli Jon Roth lit up the stage with masterpieces like, “The Sails of Charon,” “Electric Sun,” “Why?,” “Pictured Life,” “In Trance,” “Catch Your Train,” and “Virgin Killer.” To say that the Portland audience was hanging on every note, lick and lyric of every song, would be an understatement, Roth’s fingers effortlessly, moved around the fretboard of his ‘Sky Guitar,’ witnessing this was exceptional. Closing out the nearly three hour, two set performance with a 10 minute intermission, was the Bob Dylan classic “All Along The Watchtower” in Jimi Hendrix style, of course. You could see people’s heads figuratively exploding, throughout the performance. Few left prior to the end of the show, those that did missed out, Roth and Co gave each and every audience member their money’s worth. In a day and age, when Uli Jon Roth’s contemporaries are barely playing a 70-80 minute set, what Uli Jon Roth is doing night after night, for three hours, is nothing short of incredible. Watch out for new material coming from Roth in the near future, that should be a treat.
Photos by Mike Lewis