google5fdb2843fc4f1b5b.html Rock Chic: Europe live at Bristol O2 Academy review, Feb 23rd 2011

Friday, 4 March 2011

Europe live at Bristol O2 Academy review, Feb 23rd 2011

Europe ‘Balls ‘n’ Banners’ tour
Bristol O2 Academy
Wednesday 23rd Feb 2011
Alaina Henderson

There are moments in life when things will bore you. Watching a dull movie, being at an uneventful gig, sitting at a relative’s 60th. Attend a Europe live show and you won’t even know the meaning of the word. The Swedish rock band is back with full force to show off their latest album ‘Last look at Eden’, as well as a whole lot more.
Watching the show at Bristol’s O2 academy, Joey Tempest bounds across the stage, swinging his white mic stand like a windmill, running and jumping like a guy in his 20’s. Every song keeps the crowd engaged, and it really is every song. There is not one instance where you would think it’s time for a loo break, or a trip to the bar, you just wanted to catch every moment. It’s like the best party you’ve ever been to, an all night long, no stopping, hardcore rock ‘n’ roll journey.

The show starts with a prelude that’s the intro to the new album, then the thunderously chunky guitar riff kicks off the show with enough energy and power to blast off the roof. ‘Last look at Eden’ leads into ‘The Beast’, both rock classics in the making which the album seems to be packed with. The heavy, sexy, serious feel of the new stuff exudes confidence in what they do, and shouts here is a band who still knows how to rock, really rock.
Joey’s vocal talents are still strong and very impressive, especially after being in the game for so long where some lead singers lose out. The equally thrilling guitar genius of John Norum is allowed to shine during a touching Gary Moore tribute rendition of ‘The Loner’. It’s easy to see that John is a huge talent of his own right, having released a solo album and playing his own shows is proof of that.
It’s actually his birthday tonight, so the first few rows get a nice spraying of champagne after he’s serenaded with ‘happy birthday to you’, which John then proceeds to neck the rest of before the next bought of guitar glory.

With songs ranging from the latest ‘New love in town’ and ‘Leave no Stone unturned’, to the sturdy classics such as ‘Rock the Night’ and ‘Carrie’, it’s the perfect mix of old and new. Included in this the audience get the treat of ‘Superstitious’, which was the first single to be released from the album ‘Out of this World’, their follow up to ‘The Final Countdown’. Watching the crowd sing along to every word is like a glimpse of history in the now. It makes you want to belt out the words yourself, only louder and better than anyone else. You just know this is what it must have been like to watch Europe in their prime, and it’s an absolute delight that we still get to see it today.
Talking of the crowd, they seem to be a widespread mix, ranging from fans just finding out about Europe through their new releases, to the die-hards that have always been loyal. Whoever they are, they will all be given a pure and undiluted taste of what an 80’s stadium rock show would be like tonight, brought right up to date. Who would have thought we would still be able to hear and see ‘The Final Countdown’ played live and with as much passion and intensity as when it was first released 25 years ago? Makes you wonder what the power of Europe will bring next.

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