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Blu-ray Review: Scorpions “Forever and a Day” Documentary
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Scorpions – Forever and a Day
Featuring the Scorpions
Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Katja Von Garnier
Release Date: November 27, 2015

Like any long-running rock band, there comes a time when the group must decide how long they should keep it going. Are they too old for this? Should they go out while they’re still ahead?

German heavy metal band Scorpions, who’ve been in action for over 50 years, had to make that decision in recent years, which led to a farewell world tour that lasted three years. Scorpions – Forever and a Day, an authorized documentary from director Katja Von Garnier, gives the history of the band while also documenting their farewell tour, a lengthy outing that proved that the Teutonic titans are, in fact, not ready to pack it all in.

The documentary tells the 50-year story of the Scorpions with rare footage and old photos, along with interviews with past and present band members and crew, and others, all interspersed with live concert clips.

Guitarist Rudolf Schenker formed Scorpions in Hanover, Germany, in 1965, and its been his baby ever since. Like their European brethren Judas Priest, the Scorpions’ sound began as blues-based hard rock before morphing into heavy metal in the early 80s, a sound which took the group right to the top of the charts with their break-out hit “Rock You Like A Hurricane.”

Is there anyone who doesn’t know the song “Rock You Like A Hurricane”? It’s the track that became the Scorpions’ signature song, and earned the band a spot in the pantheon of heavy metal greats (and on heavy metal compilations the world over).

While everyone knows the 1980’s incarnation of the band — the 1978–1992 line-up of singer Klaus Meine, guitarist Rudolf Schenker, lead guitarist Matthias Jabs, bassist Francis Buchholz, and drummer Herman Rarebell — their origins are lesser known to the general public. In Scorpions – Forever and a Day, Meine recalls being asked to join the band, which meant deciding whether to spend his money on a motorcycle or music equipment, and also convincing his parents to help him out financially.

A touching part of their story shown here is how a young Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker met and realized instantly that they had the same vision, one that has kept them together for over 50 years and bonded them as brothers for life. Understandably, they are still young at heart and the music is still in their soul.

But Scorpions has also seen some great musicians come and go, including guitar greats Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker, the latter of whom is Rudolf’s younger brother. These two former members, along with several others like Herman Rarebell, make their appearance in some way in this documentary (there’s plenty of old footage and new interviews with Michael Schenker). There’s also accolades given by their colleagues in the rock world, like KISS’s Paul Stanley.

The 100-minute film is presented in German with English subtitles (French subtitles are also an option), which is something I’m not used to, but I did find it nice to hear the musicians speak in their native language. Unfortunately for me, sometimes they spoke so fast that it was hard to read the subtitles while also trying to view the rare footage and photos presented. In those instances, I found I needed to pause the disc and go back; this was also necessary to do when the white subtitles appeared against a light background. All of this is a minor inconvenience to get such an in-depth documentary out of it, especially if you’re a long-time fan of the Scorpions like I am. Also, a lot of the old interview footage is in English, as is newer material with native English-speakers.

Not surprisingly, right after watching Scorpions – Forever and a Day, I had to go through my Scorpions music catalog and blast some of my favorite tunes, mostly from the 80s era, like “Blackout,” “Bad Boys Running Wild,” and “No One Like You.” Note, their 1985 live album World Wide Live is one of the best heavy metal live albums ever.

Along with their spotlight years and older material, including their humble beginnings and humorous anecdotes like the time they tried playing their Lonesome Crow material to an upper-class tennis club who wanted some old-time standards, there’s the farewell concert snippets and behind-the-scenes looks. The final tour line-up consists of original members Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker together with long-time lead guitarist Matthias Jabs — a phenomenon in his own right — along with Kentucky-born James Kottak drummer, who’s now been in the band over 20 years, and Polish bassist Pawel MÄ…ciwoda, who joined in 2003. Hearing snippets of the group do classics like “The Zoo,” “Big City Nights,” “Still Loving You,” and “Make It Real” during their recent concerts show that the Scorpions can still, if I may say so, rock you like a hurricane!

There’s not too many bonus features on this Blu-ray and DVD release, considering the whole film is one big awesome “bonus.” But there’s the trailer for this release, as well as a 10-minute interview with Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker from “Night Flight” from June 1985 right after the aforementioned World Wide Live live album’s release.

After 50 years on stages all around the world, Germany’s Scorpions decided in 2010, it was time to embark on one last tour. The tour would last for three years and span the globe. This fully authorized documentary follows the hard rockers from their beginnings as young music fans to the present day. The band reflects on their fans, their long-time crew and each other. FOREVER AND A DAY is the portrait of a life long journey in rock. In German with English subtitles.

Scorpions Forever and a Day Documentary Blu-ray cover

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