Tour diary: From a hailstorm at Pedreira to the ecstasy of Rock in Rio (Part 2)

Klaus Meine erguendo os Braços no palco em Porto Alegre
Klaus Meine in Porto Alegre
The passage of Scorpions through Brazil was, literally, a hurricane. Those were some unforgettable days, from the hailstorm that hit us in Curitiba to the ecstasy of the historical return of the band to Rock in Rio 34 years after the first edition in 1985. And our review will not be only about concerts, but also about the great adventure it was to follow these guys around Brazil. Take a seat and read on!

Leia em português aqui.

Part 2
(read part 1 here)

September 28th - The best of rock in the island of magic
(Florianópolis - Helloween and Scorpions)

I had arrived in Florianópolis before David, on September 26th, a Thursday. I checked in at the hotel and enjoyed the view from the pool when from up there, I saw the band pulling over in front of the hotel. It’s so good to know they’re around. 

After that, without much to do and very hungry, I had lunch, went for a walk, enjoyed the pool, did some food shopping for the minibar (because we might stay at a five-stars hotel, but we won’t pay the absurd prices there 😅). 

David would only arrive on the 28th, the day of the concert, and I was already bored. I realized that getting around Florianópolis by Uber was very expensive and the public transport impractical. No Joaquina beach, no Conceição Lagoon, no Jurerê beach. Walking around the hotel, going for a walk at the mall and by the sea was all I had. The night comes, sleepless, I take a walk in the hotel. I get on the elevator, it goes down and suddenly the door opens, nobody else but Klaus Meine was in front of me. He walked in the elevator, greeting me and suddenly, the night began to make more sense. But I was going down, he was going up, so he stepped out of the elevator (Come on Klaus, come back, let’s have a chat! 😅).

On the next day, I met two Chilean friends, Jorge and his son, Rodrigo, who invited me for lunch. Right away we ran into Rudolf at the self-service buffet, and obviously we wouldn’t bother him during his lunchtime. But it seems the security guards had to be sure Rudolf wouldn’t be bothered so they decided to bother me instead: “Roberta, Roberta!”, they shouted my name while I was serving my plate. I went over to them. “Don’t bother them during lunch, don’t take pictures, if you get your phone we will be forced to get you out of here”, They said. I stared at them like “hu?”, and so I replied. “I’m just having lunch with my friends, you’ve seen me several times, you know I don’t do that”. “I know, we’re just doing our job”, one of them answered. Ok, and I was just trying to have lunch, really, is that ok? I went back to the buffet to get some more food and saw all of them having lunch, and I kept on serving my plate. That was when Klaus came over to the buffet for some food and said hi to me, we exchanged a few words and went back to our tables, and the precinct became more pleasant and the day more beautiful. After some time, the security guard was more relaxed and we even exchanged some friendly words. From the swimming pool to the seashore and a walk around the mall, the day went on without any other surprises. 

It was the 28th of September, David arrived in the morning. I met Regina and Rodrigo, friends of David (and now my friends as well, Scorpions always bringing me new friends), for breakfast, where Rudolf was just a few meters away. On the way out, he took pictures with the fans waiting for him, greeted us and complimented my red boots. Later, we had lunch at the mall with Regina and Rodrigo. After lunch, David and I went back to the hotel. While David just spread himself on a chair in the lobby, I went upstairs to brush my teeth and get my phone charger. When I get back, the elevator door opens and I see Klaus sitting next to David, who points at me and Klaus looks at me and sais “Hi, Roberta!” Surprised, I answered, sat near them and we had a quick chat. Oh, he also complimented my red boots. 

Matthias Jabs tocando guitarra no palco em Florianóplis
Matthias Jabs in Florianópolis
Time to leave for the show, we got out tickets, my photographer pass and got in the venue. Somehow, we managed to get really close to the stage before Helloween’s concert. Regina and Rodrigo were going crazy with the band, but I realized they don’t excite me, even live. Time for the Scorpions show, and I get in to photograph during the first three songs. With one lens down (Because I forgot it at home while packing 🤦🏻‍), I missed the opportunity for a wider angle, having to use my cell phone in certain moments and losing a bit of control over the photos. 

Regina, Rodrigo, and David could get to the stage’s fence, as soon as some Helloween fans gave them some space, and after shooting, I forced my way to them, and I could finally see the show for this tour from way up close to the stage. And the show was perfect, no changes in the setlist, as expected, Klaus’ voice was impeccable as usual, drawing sighs from the fans on the first row as he blew kisses and winked during the show. Rudolf was impressive with so much energy on stage, his unforgettable riffs echoed inside the Petry Arena completely packed, and it was a memorable show for no one to complain. End of the show, time to get back to the hotel, pass out in our bed and wake up because on the next day we had to leave to Porto Alegre.

Rudolf Schenker abrindo os braços e erguendo a guitarra no palco em Florianópolis
Rudolf Schenker in Florianópolis
But we couldn’t end this without a little surprise, right? When we were checking out and waiting for the time to go to the airport, Klaus Meine comes downstairs with his manager for a little walk on the beach, just a quick goodbye to meet again in Porto Alegre. And we almost missed our flight because of the absurd traffic in Florianópolis. And while waiting to board, there was the whole band, Helloween, waiting to board on the same flight. First Joey Tempest in Curitiba, then Helloween in Florianópolis! If we were die-hard fans, we would be over the moon.

Check here the photo gallery of the show in Florianópolis

October 1st: unexpected events
(Porto Alegre: Helloween, Whitesnake and Scorpions)

The arrival in Porto Alegre on the 29th was pretty easygoing. As we landed, I pulled a paparazzi and took some pictures of Helloween to send to Mailson, since he’s a great fan of the band. Curiously, Mailson founded Scorpions Brazil, but left the team some time ago and never managed to go to any Scorpions (or Helloween) concerts. Life stuff. 

Scorpions were still in Florianópolis and we were enjoying the night in Porto Alegre with David, Bela, and her family at a hamburger place. After that, the rest of the night was meant for sleeping, because that was all we needed. 

September 30th, the plans for the day were to relax under a tree at Usina do Gasômetro, and a lot of talk for 3 years without seeing Pati, who’s also a part of the site’s team and who, at first, would only go to the concert in Porto Alegre, but some unexpected events changed the rest of the story completely. 

Pati heard us talking about Rock in Rio and she was itching herself trying to go to the show, but she didn’t have any plane or concert tickets. There was no time left to get her a concert ticket and the flights to Rio de Janeiro were extremely overpriced because of the festival. At the moment, she was already convinced she wouldn’t go to Rio de Janeiro. 

It was then the 1st of October, the day of the show. We weren’t staying at the hotel (no more money, right? This five-stars hotel life can’t last forever 💔) but we decided to stop by, the idea of seeing any Scorpion around was always welcome, furthermore, to see Mikkey Dee walking around hotel was almost always sure to happen, and he usually stops for a chat and pictures, very charismatic. What happened was that the security guards were not the same anymore and had never seen us before. So then the surrounding began, hotel employees telling us that if we didn’t have an order worth of fifty reais at the bar, we would have to leave, and after doing a little bit of math, Pati and I decided to check in (what credit card installments for? 😁). After getting to our last penny, there we were, hotel guests again. 💸💸💸.

We got ready for the concert. Got our tickets and guess what! This time with a meet and greet pass in the backstage! That was glory (but not really…)! We arrived almost in the end of Helloween’s concert (I didn’t want to see it, neither Bela nor David), but Pati was like a child jumping up and down trying to get to see at least one song since she had never seen them live. Ok, the show was over, now can we go backstage? small problem: the security guard couldn’t let us in. “Someone has to come to get you”. And he passes the radio around, and nobody showed up to pick us up. The Whitesnake concert started, and since I had a photographer’s credential, they let me take some pictures of them as well.

David Coverdale segurando o pedestal do microfone no palco em Porto Alegre
David Coverdale (Whitesnake) in Porto Alegre
David Coverdale may have lost a good deal of his voice, but the band was fantastic, and by far, the best frontman to be photographed! The best photos of the night were from Whitesnake’s concert. Coverdale is very performatic, he won’t leave the front of the stage, which makes a photo much easier, especially with people with limited equipment, like me, missing one of my lenses, And the stage lights seemed to have been made especially for photographers. Perfect!

After the first three songs, we went back to regular programming. Backstage! Can someone get us inside, please? “I still haven’t got an answer”, said the security guard. We had nothing to do: we enjoyed Whitesnake’s concert. Between one song and another, we tried to get to the backstage. Until they sent us to another gate. “Someone will pick you up there”. No one came. And suddenly, it wasn’t possible anymore. Whitesnake’s concert was over. “No more meet and greet, the band is getting ready to get on stage”. That was when I recognized someone from the local production and I asked the woman what had happened, and she said “The meet and greet was for some contest winners who had a golden pass and…” she stopped and saw the pass on my wrist. “Hu? You have the golden pass”. I sighed “Yeah, the four of us do, but no one came to get us.” Her reply wasn’t exactly what we needed: “It was me who had to get you, but no one told me anything on the radio”. Another sigh. What could we do: It was done. And because we missed the meet and greet, we could watch Whiteskane’s fantastic concert, which we had missed in São Paulo because of the problems with my camera.

Klaus Meine sorrindo e segurando baquetas para jogar ao público em Porto Alegre
Klaus Meine in Porto Alegre
Scorpions took the stage at 21h50 and there I went to photograph them. It was frustrating, I couldn’t get a good shot of the concert. The position of the band on the stage didn’t allow me to get a good angle for the photos, unlike Coverdale, the band, and especially Klaus Meine, wouldn’t come to the front of the stage, and when they did, all the light cannons came straight to my direction, and I couldn’t find any angle with good lighting. After the three songs, I went back to the crowd and we all enjoyed the concert to the last minute, despite the heat it was inside Gigantinho Gym, almost 40ºC. There was no water available, and the sellers were abusing the prices and if I didn’t have 10 reais in my pocket for a bottle of water (from unsure precedence, we might say), I probably would have passed out from dehydration. I drank the whole bottle in one sip and when I was thirsty again, I had no money left for water. Around halfway into the show, I met Pati again, since we had all lost each other among the crowd. We both enjoyed the show together as we’ve done many times, a companion for the band’s tours since 2008. After the show, at least our backstage passes were good to let us leave through the stage’s back door. As soon as the band had left the venue, we managed to get out without having to face the crowd at the main exits of the venue (and we also got more water).

At the hotel, we met Markus Grosskopf from Helloween, Pati soon stopped to chat with him, and he offered her a beer, but all he could find was water, until someone put a bottle in his hand and he handed it over to Pati, affected by the alcohol, he wasn’t making much sense, when we said our names, he said “Isn’t Roberta a guy’s name?”, I rolled my eyes, “No, you’re mistaking it with Roberto”. He was nuts. Suddenly, we were near Kai Hansen, Pati wanted to talk, take a picture, and I was tagging along, he seemed not to like taking pictures, he prefers to talk to the fans, but he took a picture with Pati and then turned to me and asked “Do you want a picture too? You look like you want a picture”. Why not? I wasn’t going to ask, but since we were there… and that’s how I got a picture with the guy from Helloween, even though I’m not a fan. 

Nothing more to do there. The Scorpions had long gone to bed, and we had to rest. Pati and I went to our room, David and Bela went home. 

On the next morning, David was already at the hotel at 8.30 am, Bela had gone to work. After having something to eat in our room, we went downstairs. We met David in the lobby and stuck around, just talking until it was time for the band to leave the hotel and travel to Rio de Janeiro. Rock in Rio was coming, and Pati was upset she wouldn’t be there for the Scorpions historical come back to the festival. 

We saw the Scorpions coming downstair at around noon, everything was ready for their departure. We gave Klaus the newspaper of the day that had an article about the spiders named after rock stars, once he was one of the rock stars honored by the discovery of the species. David got some autographs, we took pictures. We said goodbye. See you at Rock in Rio!

The hotel was empty. At least it seemed like it, the Scorpions were not around anymore. But for Pati, the excitement kept on going. Besides being a Scorpions fan, she’s a big fan of Helloween as well, and she talked and took pictures with the band members at the hotel. We had already checked out and we were exhausted, sitting in the lobby, David and I wanted to leave, but Pati went outside to say hi to someone she knew in Porto Alegre. Fifteen minutes had gone by and Pati wasn’t back yet, “Damn, I wanna go”. I decide to go after her, but I come back right away. “David, get ready to wait some more, Pati is chatting with Michael Kiske”. They talked about a bunch of things such as the concert in Porto Alegre, the current metal scene, the heat in the city… Another 15 minutes or so went by and Pati comes back with a smile from ear to ear “I need to go to Rio, Michael Kiske put me on the guestlist for Rock in Rio”.

Check here the photo gallery of the show in Porto Alegre!
To be continued… Part 3 (final) here!

Written by Roberta Forster, translated to English by Patrícia Camara.

Setlist of the shows in Florianópolis and Porto Alegre

00. Intro
01. Going Out With a Bang
02. Make It real
03. The Zoo
04. Coast To Coast
05. Top of the Bill / Steamrock Fever / Speedy's Coming / Catch Your Train
(70's medley)
06. We Built This House
07. Delicate Dance
08. Send Me An Angel
09. Wind Of Change
10. Tease Me Please Me
11. Drum Solo Mikkey Dee
12. Blackout
13. Big City Nights

14. Still Loving You
15. Rock You Like a Hurricane