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Music

High security and emotion at Scorpions concert in Paris

The terrorist attacks in Paris changed the meaning of going to a concert. But despite the tragedy, nearly 20,000 fans overcame fears and decided to celebrate with Scorpions. A DW film premiere on the band was cancelled.

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The Scorpions live in Paris

The German hard rock band Scorpions decided to perform, as planned, at a concert in Paris on Tuesday (24.11.2015), making them among the first international bands to play there after the November 13 terrorist attacks. Other renowned musicians - among them U2, Marilyn Manson, Motörhead, Prince and José Gonzalez - had cancelled their scheduled stops in the French capital.

"When the tragedy happened, it was clear that we would stick together as a band and show solidarity with our French friends and fans by saying: 'We are stronger [than the terrorists], and we are giving you the power of music," guitarist Rudolf Schenker, who founded the band 50 years ago, told DW shortly before the concert. "We are five friends who go around the world to build bridges, and here we were called to build another bridge," he added.

Scorpions concert in Paris, Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa/N. C. Ochoa

The tragic Bataclan concert was obviously on everybody's mind

Despite mixed feelings affecting all, the 67-year-old singer Klaus Meine reminded the crowd, in English and in French, that the gig was "a celebration of peace and hope." By the second song of the evening, the Tricolore filled the giant screen behind the band. Meine also decked his shoulders with the French flag while singing "Wind of Change."

DW reporter Friedel Taube attended the concert. "There was a whole range of emotions, he said. "It rocked, there were moments of silence, and a few tears came when they played 'Send Me An Angel'." Played in an accoustic version, the song was dedicated to the memory of all the victims of the attacks, with the symbolic Eiffel Tower peace sign projected onto the giant screen. Taube described it as "a very special moment for everyone."

Intense emotions - and security

Another emotionally charged highlight of the evening occurred when the drummer James Kottak started beating the rhythm of the French national anthem, which led the whole crowd to sing "La Marseillaise" a cappella.

Scorpions concert in Paris, Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa/N. C. Ochoa

James Kottak drummed to a huge crowd singing "La Marseillaise"

The show at Bercy Arena was sold out, yet not completely packed. The organizers estimated that about 10 percent of the 20,000 ticket holders did not show up because of the tragic events.

As part of the extreme security precautions, countless guards lined up the big arena. The singer of the band explained that "they took every possible security measure."

"We overcame our fears together," Klaus Meine told DW after the concert. "It's just about humanity, that's the only thing that matters," added Rudolf Schenker.

The concert on Tuesday was the second in the band's French tour, having played in Lille last Saturday.

Scorpions Film in French theaters

A DW documentary celebrating the band, "Scorpions - Forever and a Day," was scheduled for its Parisian premiere on November 25, but this event was cancelled. The film will nevertheless be released in French theaters this week.

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