Scorpions set for first China gig after 50 years

BEIJING - Rock veterans Scorpions will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year and perform in China for the first time.

The German band will play on Friday at the Changjiang International Music Festival in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province.

There are no concerts listed for Singapore on the band's website for their 50th anniversary world tour. China is the only Asian country listed for now.

Scorpions' lead vocalist, Klaus Meine, says the band will perform a medley of songs they have not played for a long time, as well as their big hits, such as Big City Nights, The Zoo and Rock You Like A Hurricane. They will also play songs from their new album, Return To Forever.

"We know we have many fans in China. I am sure our Chinese fans will know some of our songs by heart and hopefully, they will sing along," says Meine, adding that there will not be many special effects in the show.

"It will be more about music, about the communication between the band on the stage and the audience."

In 2008, Meine travelled to Beijing for the opening ceremony of a Sino-German medical research programme.

"I was surprised there was such amazing interest in the band playing in China. We know there is a very strong music scene with many Chinese bands. We want to give the fans a taste of European music, of the Scorpions' music," the 66-year-old rocker says.

"This might be just the beginning, but that is up to our Chinese fans. We hope there will be another opportunity to come back and perform in Beijing, Shanghai and in many other cities," he adds.

Guitarist Rudolf Schenker founded the band in 1965, Meine joined in 1969, guitarist Matthias Jabs joined in 1978, and drummer James Kottak and bassist Pawel Maciwoda joined subsequently.

Meine says the band's longevity lies in the chemistry between the members, teamwork and their friendship.

"Since the beginning, the Scorpions were a live band. We always wanted to be onstage and share our emotions and music with our audience. We never lost the passion for rock music and for what we are doing, for being songwriters and creating new songs," he says.

Showing no sign of slowing down, the band released a documentary on themselves, Forever And A Day, in Europe, along with a new album, to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

"Back in the 60s and early 70s, five kids from Hannover from West Germany started singing in English and taking the music all over the world. English is not our mother language, so it was a very unique story of success," says Meine.

"Nevertheless, we have always believed in ourselves, in our talent. We wanted to live our dream. As you can see even after all those years, we are now celebrating 50 years of Scorpions."

He adds that the band still want to "live our dream and visit places where we have never been before".

"We still feel this excitement, but probably one of the best parts is that our music was reaching out to the young generation of rock fans as well in the last couple of years."