Fireworks

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Added by James Gaden     February 17, 2010    
 
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Europe, live at Relentless Garage, London - 1st November 2009

This was my first night at the Garage since its refurbishment and I was delighted to see a modern venue that has hugely improved in ambience. There was also an added special feeling as the immensely popular Europe, a band that is accustomed to visiting considerably bigger venues, was playing here. The Swedes headlined to a full house on a one-off warm-up gig in advance of their European tour and their return to the UK in February (then at the much larger Shepherds Bush Empire in London and other venues across the country) to promote their newest release that is now gold in their native Sweden, ‘Last Look At Eden’.
The five original members took the stage by storm, starting with two tracks from this album: the powerful title track and ‘Gonna Get Ready’, overcoming some technical difficulties (very loud guitar and low keyboard sound, amongst others) with a brave face and an absolute confidence in their abilities, particularly singer Joey Tempest, who although I observed sang a lower tone on some tracks, still has an admirable set of pipes. Carrying on with the classic ‘Superstitious’, in which guitarist John Norum played that marvellous solo and the song was injected with a few lines of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’, they mixed old and new throughout their set. The other pair of new tracks were the grand ‘No Stone Unturned’, which they performed live for the first time, and the mid-tempo ‘New Love In Town’ with another amazing guitar solo.
From the old records they chose to present us with two other tracks from the ‘Out Of This World’ album from 1988: ‘Sign Of The Times’ and ‘Let The Good Times Rock’, and went as far back as 1984 with ‘Scream Of Anger’ from the ‘Wings Of Tomorrow’ album. After this piece, Joey left the stage so the guys could do the instrumental ‘Optimist’, a platform to further showcase guitar hero John Norum’s skills on the six strings. When Joey returned, he did so with a guitar in hand to perform the very heavy sounding ‘Seventh Sign’.
Inevitably, the anthem ‘Rock The Night’, my favourite, arrived sounding as powerful as ever and closed the main set. I would have loved to hear ‘Cherokee’ and ‘Carrie’, but I guess they have to leave room for the likes of ‘Start From The Dark’, the title track of the album that was the first after the reunion in the noughties with a much heavier sound that they were known for before, and also a couple of tracks from the follow-up ‘Secret Society’, released in 2006.
Coming back to a loud acclaim the band surprised the audience with an appropriate cover by a classic English band that inspired the five-piece back in the day, the great UFO’s ‘Only You Can Rock Me’. Last but not by no means least, the song that set them to stardom in 1986, the fantastic ‘The Final Countdown’, witnessed the crowd loudly sing to their top of their lungs.
All in all, this show was a precious treat for a privileged few as it was clear the stage was not big enough for the great musicians that are Tempest and Norum as well as drummer Ian Haugland, bassist John Leven and keyboardist Mic Michaeli. If you couldn’t get a ticket for this show, I’d recommend you go and get one for their February dates as Europe haven’t lost their magic and prove to still be a firmly tight group that can rock you out with their melodic and rocking tunes.
Mónica Castedo-López

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