By Roberta Forster
Never before has the expression "German hurricane" made so much sense to describe the Scorpions' passage through Brazil. They shook the structures, left fans perplexed and ecstatic, and left as quickly as they arrived.
For fans, the saga begins long before the start of the tour. The shows are announced and, after the surprise and euphoria, all the planning and speculating begin, checking things here and there... Help! How am I going to get the money? However, we know that somehow we have to be at one of the shows. And this was no different for the Scorpions Brazil team. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky. There are fans who depend on their parents, unemployed fans, or are simply financially broke and emotionally broken after a devastating pandemic, trying to recover from the social and political chaos that the country plunged into. That is why we are increasingly trying to bring the shows and the band a little closer to each of the fans spread throughout Brazil. And here we go with another tour diary!
This particular tour was a bit messy in geographical terms. Going up and down the country made it difficult for fans who depend on sales and low-cost air or bus tickets, which resulted in difficult choices: which shows to leave behind? The Scorpions Brazil team is spread across three of the country's five regions: South, Southeast, and Northeast, which allowed us to have at least two members present at four of the five shows, only leaving out Manaus, which was completely out of the way and beyond the financial possibilities for all of us.
However, it was not just about traveling and enjoying the shows. How could we include fans on this journey? We began an intense search for partnerships with the local producers for ticket promotions and, above all, meet and greets, to provide fans with the possibility of getting closer to the band, even if for a brief moment during the flash of a photo. We contacted all the producers and most were helpful. Opus Entretenimento granted a pair of tickets for Florianópolis and another for Porto Alegre, and, to make everyone happy, access to a meet and greet for each of the two shows that we could make give away to one fan in each city. Then we started studying ways to make these promotions happen: A raffle? The most creative phrase? We decided to raffle the tickets and leave the meet and greets for the sentences with the most likes on Instagram. And then BConcerts provided TEN pairs of tickets for the show in Ribeirão Preto for us to raffle. It was a giveaway party for the fans! There were 24 fans awarded with tickets in three shows and two fans with access to Meet and Greets.
We did all the giveaways, the fans got their prizes, and there was much more to come. It was, indeed, time to start our tour. Initially, it was decided that I would go to Ribeirão Preto to meet David and some friends. I almost gave up because of some personal problems, but everything turned out fine in the end, and I traveled all night by bus to arrive in Ribeirão on the morning of the show. I arrived in the city at 5 am and went straight to the hotel where Larissa was staying. We were going to share the room to cut expenses. The hotel had a Stephen King's vibe, as if adapted for a movie, and the service was terrible. So as soon as Lari woke up, I told her that we should go to the hotel where I stayed in 2008 when Scorpions played in Ribeirão Preto on the electro-acoustic tour.
|Scorpions em Ribeirão | Por David Araújo|
As I suspected, the band was staying there too. When we arrived at the hotel, we met our friends Cauê and Ana and talked a bit, but all I wanted was to have our room ready so that I could jump into bed and sleep for at least three hours. We waited for the room to be ready while lying on the couch, and saw the band's tour manager and Mikkey Dee pass by the lobby, but we didn't leave our place. I think I didn't even have the strength. Lari was feeling like there was a samba parade inside her heart. The room was ready, and I went to sleep while Lari went to socialize and even gave an interview to a local newspaper! I woke up around 1 pm, and Lari was there, with all her energy of a 25-year-old, and eager to go to the pool since the daily rate was expensive, and we had to make the most of our stay in a five-star hotel.
The problem was that neither she nor I were prepared for this hotel upgrade, so we jumped into the pool with our clothes on. There was one Scorpion in the pool, and then two, three of them... suddenly, almost everyone was there. I didn't know where to hide my face, so I turned my back, trying to pretend to be normal and ignore that I was diving with pants and a shirt and interacting with the guineafowls passing by. After a while, I got out of the pool and went to take a shower, and Rudolf was in the middle of the way, he laughed, greeted me, and asked if I had been thrown into the pool. An embarrassment that was worth it.
I took a shower, started getting ready for the show, and had to give back Lari's towel. Then I discovered that the security guard had approached her rudely and roughly, demanding that she stopped filming and invading his client’s privacy, which surprised her. She just told the truth: she was taking pictures of the place to send to her parents. After all, it's not every day that you stay at a hotel that has a bar in the middle of the pool. In fact, it wasn’t possible to see any of the members in any of her pictures and videos. We are fans, but we are not crazy. Fortunately, I was not there at the time because I would not have been so polite in response to the brutality of such rude men. Before being fans, we are people, and at that moment, paying guests of a very expensive hotel that we had the right to enjoy.
The stress was quickly left behind, and we sarcastically said goodbye to our new "meathead" friends as we left the pool. After all, within a few hours, we would be enjoying a Scorpions show after a long hiatus from the German hurricane due to the exhausting pandemic. Next, ready for the big night, we met David, Bela and Rosalva, who came from Campinas, and headed to the venue. As always, it was an adventure to discover where our tickets were, as it is common for people at the event to never know anything: they don't know where the list is, they don't know where the meet and greet is, and they never believe that we are guests of the band. Larissa was thrilled to find out she was on the list. We decided to include her because we were already thinking about inviting her to the Scorpions Brazil team: she’s a young journalist with experience in major rock media outlets like Rolling Stone and Wikimetal, excited and full of ideas; she would have a lot to contribute to the site and our social networks, she just didn't know it yet.
Relieved, with our tickets and VIP passes in hand, there we went. Meet and Greet – or Meet without Greet, because it's all very quick, there’s barely enough time to say hi to the band and we are already escorted out by the “friendly” security guards. They wouldn't even have let us in if the tour manager, Alex, hadn't come to our rescue to say, "Hey, they're with me!" and prevent us from being kicked out. I mean, they don't even respect the VIP card provided by the band itself. But everything finally pays off when the five of them smile at us in clear recognition of who we are, and then we leave there with a warm heart and an incredible show ahead.
After a nice snack at Hard Rock with beer and friends, it's showtime. Heart racing and expectations high (all exceeded) with a spectacular show. David and Bela had already seen the shows from the new tour before, but for me, Lari, Rosalva, and Marcus, it was a completely new show, and we were eager to break that long Scorpions drought.
The stage was very high and the floor uneven, but all the infrastructure, which seemed improvised after the change of venue, seemed irrelevant in the face of the spectacle that followed. The setlist, as expected, was the same performed since the beginning of the Rock Believer world tour and satisfied everyone's hunger for good old rock and roll, with new and classic songs. Scorpions managed to leave Ribeirão in pure ecstasy.
They hit the stage at 9:15 pm. "Gas in the Tank" gave that boost to the crowd, and from there on it was only rock and roll. "Make It Real," "The Zoo," the traditional "Coast to Coast" that takes the four to the front of the runway, driving the crowd crazy. The audience cheered so much for "Seventh Sun" and "Peacemaker" that the songs seemed to be old classics of the band. The show wasn't especially crowded, it was possible to keep a comfortable distance from people in the audience, and this way, it wasn't hard to get to the front row.
Larissa was the most excited person in the audience, and I think I've never screamed so much at a show, releasing all that pent-up tension from being confined in the home office routine for so long (and Bela in the back having fun filming our excitement). And so we kept enjoying "Bad Boys Running Wild," "Delicate Dance," and "Send Me an Angel" (which made Lari burst into tears). "Wind of Change," as we have known since the beginning of the world tour, changed its lyrics to pay tribute to Ukraine. It was easy to follow the new version, since the new lyrics were displayed on the screen, and unison during the chorus was unique, as it should be. And then came "Rock Believer." Seriously, how can new songs be so exciting? It was really amazing. Mikkey Dee's solo drove everyone crazy, followed by "Blackout" and "Big City Nights." Then came that "peek a boo" for adults where the band pretends to leave the stage, we pretend to believe they're gone, and then they come back, leaving the audience thrilled to sing the classics "Still Loving You" and "Rock You Like a Hurricane." In short, it was a show that made us hoarse!
End of the show, back to the hotel, shower and bed. The next day is a day of road trip back home to recharge, while I will sleep the whole day to prepare for Monsters of Rock, David, Bela, and Rosalva will meet Patrícia in Florianópolis.