Perth Concert Hall, Perth WA
May 16th 2018
Perth Concert Hall was the first place in Australia to ever see Europe live! But I’m gonna be honest here, this venue does not suit rock shows at all, ever. The problem isn’t the sound system or acoustics, both are world class. The issue is it’s all seating, right up to the front of the stage. Each to their own but for me sitting down at a high energy rock show is like taking a shower fully clothed. Promoters stop booking it, just stop it!
Shit venue aside, Perth turned out in surprising numbers to see the five Swedes. And most of them were queued up for the bar along with me with only half an hour to show time. A glass of 2016 cab merlot was skolled like it was 1986 and into the hall we went.
Minutes later the lights went out, there they were, the band some of us had waited more than half a lifetime to see. With lashings of reverb on his vocals, Joey Tempest sounded as good as he ever belting out the title track from ‘Walk The Earth’. It’s a huge anthemic number and the perfect way to kick off the show.
Hit song (no not that one another one) ‘Rock The Night’ had punters leaping to their feet in the all seating venue fist pumping in the air. This is what we came for! But wait there’s more, throw in a bit of ‘Whole Lot Of Rosie’ mid-song interlude and punters were lapping it up.
Speaking of punters there were plenty of warriors holding the banner for metal. To steal a line from NWOBHM legends Saxon “denim and leather brought us all together” and there was plenty of both. Sewn on patches adorned more than a few denim covered torsos. It’s a metalhead’s safe space, a place we’re we know there’s no judgement and we’re amongst our people. Who doesn’t love a battle jacket?
Fashion commentary aside Europe put on a hell of a show. Tight as you would expect from a band who have been constantly recording and touring since their reformation in 2004. Guitarist John Norum threatened to outshine them all with a haunting bluesy solo spot reminiscent of the late great Gary Moore.
Songs old and new rolled out with fans eating it all up, then in a move that dumbfounded not only me but everyone around me an intermission was called. No seriously! I was out of my seat rocking the fuck out and everything came to a screeching halt! The last time I was at a show that had an intermission was 1977 on a primary school trip to see the movie Storm Boy (ask your parents kids). What to do now? Well I, could join the throngs who headed to the bar, stand in the queue for 20 minutes only to neck another South West cab merlot. But it’s a school night and I’m driving so best make myself comfortable and write this review. Hey, they might be onto something here! No more late nights tapping away or getting up at sparrows-fart bleary-eyed to hit the deadline. Hmm, the writing is going well maybe I should hit the bar after all.. Nah, the intermission music rocks – a bit of Dio, some Motley Crüe and a good dash of Whitesnake.
But wait folks we’re back. “Thanks for coming back!” Joey Tempest greets us from the stage. No worries old mate, but the two ladies sat in front of me and a couple behind me haven’t reappeared. A quick sniff tells me my personal hygiene is at its usual high standard so it’s not me. I guess they got lost during intermission. Anyway, the boys redeem themselves by ripping out a deep cut in the guise of ‘Seven Doors Hotel’. Fuck the seats it’s time to jump in the air like you just don’t care! The good just gets better with another hit (no not that one, soon I promise) ‘Carrie’. This also gives the crowd a chance to take over vocal duties with a rather impressive sing-a-long. What is an old school rock show without a drum solo? We got that covered as well. Just as everyone is suitably impressed and distracted by Ian Haugland’s mad pounding of the skins, frontman Tempest decides to take a wander through the crowd sans security. With plenty of hugs and high fives on offer, he decides to have a little rest and sit himself next to one lucky punter. After a few hundered selfies Tempest was safely back on stage and the show continued.
But all good things must come to an end so as the first notes of ‘Cherokee’ sounded I knew the end was nigh. As the song faded there only one thing left… Cue Perth losing their collective shit! Mic Michaeli’s mixed back keyboards were now blasting out front and center with possibly the most recognisable keyboard riff in rock music. ‘The Final Countdown’ had begun, not a punter was left sitting. The five Swedes tore the roof off ye olde Perth Concert Hall. As we filed out into the night overhearing comments around me I wasn’t the only one who thoroughly enjoyed it.
Here’s a thought – Eurovision can keep our daggy Aussie exports and we’ll keep Europe.
Reviewed by Gareth Williams
Revisit Europe‘s Joey Tempest co-hosting Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall here
Europe – Debut Australian Tour
Friday, May 18: Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Saturday, May 19: Palais Theatre, Melbourne
Tuesday, May 22: Enmore Theatre, Sydney **
Wednesday, May 23: The Tivoli, Brisbane