the Scorpions were almost as skeptical as everyone else when they announced
their “farewell” tour. Of course, with each extension, the question looked
increasingly moot. Nevertheless, the tour finally ended, but Katja von Garnier
was there to document their relentless string of stadium concerts in Scorpions: Forever and a Day (trailer here), which is now
available on DVD from MVD.
Scorpions were the original road warriors, so all the current members are
unsure how they will keep themselves once they retire from active touring.
Right from the start, they granted themselves a loophole for special one-off
gigs. They just wanted to avoid looking ridiculous by staying too long at the Headbangers’
Ball. After all, the band has recently joined the Rolling Stones in the
exclusive ranks of rock band still active after their fiftieth anniversary.
Garnier also chronicles the creation story, growing pains, and international
success of the band. Founding guitarist Rudolf Schenker has been the only
constant since they formed in 1965, but for many fans, the Scorpions’ history really
starts four years later when lead vocalist Klaus Meine joined. Even if you are
not a metalhead, the two veteran band-members are surprisingly interesting and
engaging to meet on screen. For instance, despite the decades of touring (and
everything that implies) Meine remains happily married to his longtime wife
(although the doc rather implies there is more to the story than they care to
contrast, Schenker is sort of the bad genius guru of the band. He had the
vision to drag the Scorpions to Russia in 1988 when the Communist government
was still giving rock music the bureaucratic stink eye. They lost money on that
initial show, but when they came back one year later, they found the seeds they
had sown had sprouted a large popular following during the Glasnost thaw. Their
Russian experiences inspired “Winds of Change,” which became the power ballad
anthem of Glasnost and the Fall of the Berlin Wall (recorded by a German band,
singing English lyrics, the band duly notes). Mikhail Gorbachev does not appear
in many rock docs, but he turns up here (and he’s still a fan).
have to give any band credit when they hit the fifty year mark, no matter how
many personnel changes they have had. Although following the tour is repetitive
by its nature, von Garnier does her best to exploit drama when it arises. Will
Meine get voice back in time for the concert at Paris’s Bercy Arena? No
In any event, Forever is a solidly entertaining, highly accessible rock
documentary. For perspective, it is on par with The Other One: the Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir and considerably
superior to Janis: Little Girl Blue.
Highly recommended for Scorpions fans and worth checking if you are somewhat
intrigued or baffled by the band’s longevity, Scorpions: Forever and a Day is now available on DVD and BluRay
Labels: Documentary, DVD, Scorpions