Scorpions _World Wide Live_ was the first album I ever purchased for myself, a monstrous, treasured double-vinyl artifact that I literally wore the grooves out on. Years later, having navigated through plenty of phases with my fickle musical tastes, I was turned on and totally blown away by the heretofore unexplored Uli Jon Roth era, of which this album, though probably not the best, is by far my personal favorite. You can almost smell the incense burning from the first chords. Although the songwriting is uneven, with Roth taking too many vocal turns, the textures and art-rock song structures are mezmerizing, especially on the title track, where Roth’s gorgeous, classically-informed technique leads into a track which is some kind of psychadelic metal masterpiece, the kind of track Hawkwind wishes they had the chops to play and Yngwie Malmsteen is still trying to write to this day. “Speedy’s Coming” is a great, racous opener and features the first really strong Klaus Meine vocal workout along with some great tongue-in-cheek lyrics (“Do you like Alice Cooper/Do you like Ringo Starr?”). The intricate, gorgeous intro to “They Need a Million” leads into a telltale flamenco-influenced chord progression and showcases Uli Jon Roth’s Hendrix-meets-Blackmore soloing (also, unfortunately, his singing). The keyboards on quasi-operatic background vocals are very strange things to find on a Scorpions record, and while many folks may deem them somewhat silly, I find them strangely intoxicating. If “This is My Song” seems somewhat redundant, the delicate, Floydian ballad “Far Away” should make it forgivable. If you approach this as more of a guitarist’s record (as it is easy to see Uli Jon Roth was in the spotlight here) the blueprints for the 80’s neoclassical shredder can be seen here. But its not a bad intro to the Scorps’ early output, either, and it definitely belongs in any hard rock afficianado’s collection.