Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW
May 22nd, 2018
To understate a phrase, “this has been a long time coming.” Europe has sold in excess of twenty five million albums world-wide and are an amazing live band but they have never graced our shores until now. Now obviously, as most morons know, the album that opened up the world to them was The Final Countdown, but for those who have spent some time and scratched below this surface, they have released some amazing material, and material that is much stronger and more timeless than their huge hit that was The Final Countdown. The last two album in particular, War of Kings (2015) and Walk the Earth (2017) are well worth the time!
So to tonight, 2018 in Sydney after a career spanning over thirty five years. The rock fraternity have turned out in full force and it is fantastic to see that the venue is full of punters. There is a nice feel about the crowd tonight and people have come out for a good time; despite it being a Tuesday night.
There is no opening act tonight, the band performing two sets with a small intermission. I am actually not too sure how this is going to pan out, but I am quietly confident about this model, and pumped to finally see the band live!
The lights come down as Europe hit the stage and they seemed to be just as excited as the audience; it has been a long time coming for the band as well remember, having tried to tour here a number of times. The band busted in to a number of tunes from the new album, Walk the Earth, and they come across so well live. The new album is really rooted within the late seventies and early eighties and the songs are so strong. Live they fit in so well and are testament, not only to the writing ability of the band, but the fact that they still have so much to offer the public. I can’t see them stopping any time soon. I hear Deep Purple in the album, Uriah Heep and even UFO; who were blasted through the P.A. at interval.
Joey Tempest was amazing tonight, his presence, his vocals and his sincerity. He had the place eating out of his hand and he really enjoyed being here. I think this is the difference between a frontman, and a frontman, sincerity and connectivity. He really connected with the audience, he brought everyone along with him for the ride, and he was poetry in motion.
John Norum was strong as always. I think he is quite an underrated musician and song writer; incidentally his solo albums are really worth the time and money. He has such a tone and feel that is distinctive, and I guess, like Joey, sincere. He had a blues interlude solo during the set and it was scintillating; but I would rather another song. Here is a man doing what he does best, and doing what he loves!
The rhythm section was super tight with John Leven (bass) and Ian Haugland (drums) locked together. Their performance tonight was testament to their musicianship, but also their knowledge of each other’s strengths and personal eccentricities. Lastly, Mic Michaeli (keyboards), danced his melodies over the music and he also provides a lot of backing to John, filling out some of the guitars and open spaces in some of the songs, as well as Joey, his backing vocals are paramount to the live sound.
Songs that stood out for me were the later material including Walk the Earth, Hole in My Pocket, and Days of Rock N Roll. As I stated earlier the songs are so strong and they have a great lease of life live. However, the classics, as to be expected, really stood strong, and the timeless nature of the early melodies and lyrics was very evident. From Out of this World they nearly fitted everything in including Let the Good Times Rock, More than Meets the Eye, and Sign of the Time. But what really stood out was the single from this album Superstitious, and not just because it is a strong track, but because they interspersed a medley of covers in the middle of it, Whitesnake Here I Go Again, and even Bob Marley, No Woman no Cry, and believe it or not it worked really well!! Other classics must be mentioned including Prisoners in Paradise and seven tracks from The Final Countdown, all were also amazing and still sounded fresh!!!! Now to the big one, The Final Countdown, it real was everything the audience expected it to be and following Cherokee at the end of the set it was perfect. The band played it as if it was 1986 and the audience reacted as if they were the age they were in 1986! The roof nearly came off the place.
The band left the stage leaving no one in the audience disappointed! The intermission did beak the intensity of the set, in my opinion, and I personally would have preferred a shorter set that didn’t stop, maybe without the drum solo and John’s blues lead; however, this my opinion and probably isn’t shared. Ultimately, the band were on top of their game for the whole evening and they didn’t disappoint. It has taken the band over thirty years to get here and they definitely didn’t let anyone down. This was a strong set that not only balanced out the classic and newer material, but was a set that delivered with the passion that the tracks deserved. Let’s just make sure that it doesn’t take Europe another thirty years to get back here!
Review by Mark Snedden
Revisit Joey Tempest co-hosting Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall right here
Photo Gallery courtesy of the legendary Mick Goddard (MickG Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Mick Goddard if you repost.
Europe – Debut Australian Tour
Wednesday, May 23: The Tivoli, Brisbane
Tickets via ticketmaster.com.au