Uli Jon Roth Wanted to Record ‘Tokyo Tapes Revisited’ Before It Was Too Late
Founding Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth says there was a sense of urgency surrounding his return to the venue where his former band recorded their 1978 live album Tokyo Tapes.
"The starting point was that I was told that the original hall where we recorded tapes with the Scorpions was supposed to be torn down and demolished for the Olympic games," Roth tells Ultimate Classic Rock. "It made me sad because it is a great hall with great acoustics. There are not enough of these in Tokyo."
Tokyo Tapes was the first live release by the Scorpions, documenting the band's final shows with Roth, who has since built a respected solo career. "For personal reasons, Tokyo Tapes was a very important album for the Scorpions and myself," Roth says. "I thought it would be nice to make a farewell concert in that same hall and play the early program of the Scorpions."
So Roth staged a homecoming at Nakano Sun Plaza in February 2015 to record what became Tokyo Tapes Revisited: Live in Japan. As expected, memories of his earlier visit there with the Scorpions came rushing back. "For the 1978 show, we played three times and recorded two of the concerts – they became the live album," Roth says. "The first one was the magical moment. The very first concert we played in Japan was the best one, and was not recorded!"
Fast-forward 37 years, and Roth says the pressure was on as his solo band set up for a multi-night stand in Japan.
"I was very fortunate that when we returned to Sun Plaza Hall last year we had a strong night," he admits. "Almost everything went according to plan. I am happy with the results. We had a lot of magic on the stage last year, by way of the sound and general feeling between the audience and ourselves – and I think a lot of it was captured by the TV cameras that were there. It’s a typical Japanese audience: very quiet and subdued. Not anything like North America, South America or Europe. The Japanese listen very intently to the music, and have a completely different approach. I’m happy to release it. We were lucky that the spark came across on all three nights again."
Tokyo Tapes Revisited: Live in Japan will be released tomorrow in several formats: two-CD/Blu-ray, two-CD/DVD, digital audio and a limited-edition super-deluxe box set. You can order the standard editions via Amazon, and watch a trailer above.
The box, which is limited to 800 copies, includes several pieces of Roth-related memorabilia, a never-before-released vinyl edition of 2015's Scorpions Revisited, a hardcover book that includes a two-CD edition and Blu-ray of Tokyo Tapes Revisited, a bonus Blu-ray featuring Super 8 footage Roth showed during the Scorpions first Japanese tour in 1978 and four discs focusing on Roth's dates in Osaka and Nagoya. This deluxe edition is only available via the UDR Merchstore.
"All three shows were quite different in terms of feelings and approach, although we did play a lot of the same songs on each night," Roth notes. "But I think for real aficionados or collectors who follow my meanderings through the world of music, it’s a very worthwhile release and we are very proud of it. I hope people will enjoy it."
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