Scorpions - 'Forever And A Day'

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Scorpions - 'Forever And A Day'

A well-balanced and thought provoking retrospective of a (then) near fifty year career.

"You have to say goodbye to see how welcome you are" – Rudolf Schenker. A sentiment translated across the globe in hundreds of stadiums and arenas that have Rocked to Scorpions' sound. This is the fabled documentary charting the rise of five guys from Hannover to world superstardom via a number of line-up changes and controversial album covers.

Katja Von Garnier's documentary is a well-balanced and thought provoking retrospective of a (then) near fifty year career with archival footage interspersed with present day film that shouldn't work but does. It is, at times, touching but never too sentimental.

It would be very easy to criticise the lack of an interview with Francis Buchholz or Ralph Rieckermann for example, or understand why their controversial album covers weren't discussed, but that would be churlish compared to what Von Garnier has included. Comments from Uli Jon Roth, Herman Rarebell and Michael Schenker, alongside their peers such as Paul Stanley and Alex Skolnick and legendary producer Dieter Dirks, are both amusing and revealing. Added to the likes of former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Ukrainian heavyweight champion boxer Wladimir Klitschko, it's more than a glorification of the Scorpions.

We hear about their early days of being disqualified from winning a battle of the bands contest and therefore a record contract by being too loud, and take a step back to their days when they broke down barriers in pre-Perestroika and glasnost Russia to become huge megastars in a country deprived of Western culture and influence.

Bittersweet interviews with their long-time friend and lawyer/manager Peter Amend, who passed on after the documentary, add a touch of poignancy, likewise how Meine and bassist Pawel Maciwoda coped with the loss of their mothers whilst on tour. However, it's the eighties footage, in multi-coloured spandex when they were at the peak, that evokes the fondest memories from my time as a teenager growing up in Germany.

As a testament to the sheer determination of Schenker, Klaus Meine, Buchholz, Rarebell and Matthias Jabs to make it big as the eighties dawned, immortalised in their song 'Don't Stop At The Top', Von Garnier covers their career in a then and now, almost comparable fashion, whilst steering the momentum towards a more uplifting vibe rather than an expected solemn one. Even though Jabs ruefully wonders what's next when the touring stops, it doesn't feel like a goodbye but rather offers hope of a continuation of sorts – which is exactly what happened.

To accompany the documentary, the final show of the 2010-2012 farewell world tour was added. This is Scorpions, 2012 vintage, live in Munich from the gigantic Olympiahall with a huge stage and runway, three video screens and an array of lights capable of draining the power from the nearby neighbourhood. They perform fabulous oldies and a run-through of classic Scorpions like 'Make It Real', 'Is There Anybody There?', 'The Zoo', 'Blackout' and 'Rock You Like A Hurricane'

Closer 'When The Smoke Is Going Down' signified the entire sentiment of their mammoth three-year tour. Beautifully shot and edited by Dirk Grau, it captures the Scorpions still on top of the world but with just a hint of knowing that the lights will soon be extinguished on a German institution that, despite the odds and naysayers, conquered the world.

Carl Buxton

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