DVD Review: Scorpions – Forever And A Day

DVD Review: Scorpions – Forever And A Day
Specticast and Tempest Films
All Access Rating: B+

The Scorpions - Forever
And A Day 2015
All that retirement talk was a bit premature. Billed as their farewell tour, 2011-2012's "Final Sting" was going to close the book on the Scorpions, one of metal's most enduring outfits. That final chapter has yet to be written.

Eons ago – actually 50 years – in their hometown of Hanover, Germany, the fun-loving Scorpions came to life, and they are still going strong, having given no indication that the end is nigh. Things looked very different, however, a few years ago when renowned director Katja Von Garnier signed on to document their last days on the road. Part free-flowing tour diary, part stodgy history lesson, "Forever And A Day" soon to be available in DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats as its theatrical run comes to an end, is ultimately an engrossing study of a band trying to come to grips with its own mortality, only to find themselves reinvigorated by the experience.

The elephant in the room in the well-paced, good-natured "Forever And A Day," it's the overriding issue that drives a story with many sub-plots, as The Scorpions discover the fountain of youth in the form of infectiously enthusiastic crowds greeting them as conquering heroes. Performing a complicated balancing act, Von Garnier deftly intersperses rousing, arena-rock concert clips of the Scorpions performing songs like "Crazy World," "The Zoo" and "Big City Nights" with loads of intimate, behind-the-scenes footage from the "Final Sting" tour in taking viewers on a whirlwind journey across the world. At the same time, a makeshift video scrapbook emerges from candid, vintage still photos and home-movie footage of their formative years that leads to warm reminiscing about The Scorpions' past.

There were gigs at Liverpool's famed Cavern Club, and the story of how finishing second at a "battle of the bands" contest actually resulted in a record contract, while the documentary also touches on why it was so important for them to sing lyrics in English, rather than their native tongue. What makes "Forever And A Day" more compelling, though, is its examination of the relationship between Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker, as talk about their shared ambitions, their artistry and Schenker's visionary leadership. Disappointingly, "Forever And A Day" glosses over the crucial contributions of guitar masters Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker. On the other hand, it redeems itself with a deeply insightful look at The Scorpions' historic 1991 meeting at the Kremlin with Mikhail Gorbachev, who appears in the movie, and the socio-political impact of their hit single "Winds Of Change," as well as providing a detailed explanation of why the transition to Matthias Jabs made perfect sense for a band that made no secret of its commercial aspirations.

For the most part, the film transitions seamlessly from curating an informative biography to hurriedly catching up with the Scorpions wherever their victory lap happens to take them. Given seemingly unlimited access, Von Garnier unveils both the good and the bad of their trip, including how Klaus Meine's vocal troubles momentarily jeopardized the whole enterprise. How long The Scorpions continue will depend greatly on the most fragile of instruments, the human voice. Meine and company aren't naive enough to think this will last forever, but it's clear from "Forever And A Day" that they and their fans are going to enjoy the ride until the very end.
– Peter Lindblad

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