German rock band Scorpions over the course of their six decade career has become one of the most successful and longest lasting musical acts ever. When they announced in 2010 that their 17th studio album, Sting in the Tail, would be their last as would be the supporting world tour the music world was stunned. It seemed like these guys would just keep going forever with only death stopping them from recording and touring.
Later the band amended that statement to say that they would keep recording, but that it would truly be their last tour. It made sense then that a documentary would be made to record the last live moments of this historic band. Over the course of their 50 years together the band has played over 5,000 live shows in 80 different countries.
From guitarist Rudolf Schenker forming the band in 1965 in Hanover until present day there has been many a milestone the Scorpions have achieved. During their Farewell Tour director Katja von Garnier (Blood and Chocolate, Iron Jawed Angels) followed the members of the band around the world from Germany to Lebanon to Russia to France and then on to the United States. Through archival footage, present day live on stage footage and interviews with the band, other musicians (there is Canadian content courtesy of rocker Danko Jones), music journalists and their crew or management we gain insight into what makes the band tick and how they survived the many changes over time to endure so long in the tough music industry.
The tour began in 2011 and was supposed to last 18 months taking the band around the globe playing in full arenas; it is still going on with the last date being in Germany in the spring of 2016. Each stop they make is an opportunity for the band members (Schenker – guitar, Klaus Meine – vocals, Matthias Jabs – guitar, James Kottak – drums, Pawel Maciwoda – bass) to reflect back on their careers and how each city they arrive in brings back memories.
Despite the length of the documentary I feel like I did not learn that much about the band. Or at least things I wanted to learn. Though each of the band members has some time on camera alone they are not afforded the opportunity to reveal who they really are. No personal information is gone into. Maybe the director is not interested in educating those of us who are not super fans of the band? We spend over three years with these guys and I don’t feel I know them any better after watching Forever and a Day.
The past is delved into showing how the band became what they are, but there is a feeling that it is all rather superficial. If we are to believe what happens during the 1 hour and 40 minute documentary then the band does not really have any conflicts. The only trying moment is when lead singer Klaus Meine has some voice problems. It seems to me that any group of people who have been together for any amount of time are going to fight, but none of that makes it into the film leaving me feel a little underwhelmed. The underbelly of the band is never revealed.
Though they have been around since the mid 60s the Scorpions’ most successful period was the 80s. They had a string of hits like “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, “Still Loving You”, “Wind of Change”, and “Big City Nights”. The band tried to be as universal as possible in that they sang their songs mostly in English. This is another omission in that there is not investigation of any substance as to why they chose to do that. Maybe that is why they were not as popular in Germany as they were in other countries.
So far this film is not getting a release in Quebec, but keep your eyes open for it or wait for its blu-ray release at the end of November.