As I began this review I started to wonder if I should have my mail delivered to New York City's B.B. King Blues Club. Maybe I should at least set up a laptop in order to get these reviews done as they actually happen, because by my recollection in the space of 4 days I have been to the club 3 times. You really start to think og these things when the various shifts of employees all know and recognize you when you walk in. Each show thus far has been a lot of fun for me and this one was to be no different. I admit that when I was asked to cover the Europe show I did not expect that much, as the group was not a favorite of mine back in their heyday. While this was the case there still was no denying the appeal of tracks like "Cherokee" and "The Final Countdown". They were MTV staple videos and through those songs the bands domination of the airwaves at that time was reinforced. Even today the bars of "The Final Countdown" make people stop and enjoy the tune. Not bad for a band to have had that sort of impact on music.
Read on for Ken Pierce's full concert review!
As I approached the venue it became clear very quickly that more people were interested in this show than I had possibly imagined. I also discovered that this would be Europe's first return to the USA in 18 years (talk about a break in visits). For this show the venue had setup tables and I honestly felt that this was a bad idea. While it made it difficult for me to navigate and report on the performance and especially get some decent pictures for you to enjoy, it also limited more people from attending the show. As a result I think almost 200 tickets could not be sold. Many people who showed up were turned away at the door and that is disappointing to have happen to anyone. Folks who would not be disappointed were the fans inside the standing room only club and the band members themselves who I think were a little surprised to see the turnout.
Joey Tempest and John Norum
The band hit the stage after an intro tape announced them as the biggest band to come out of Scandinavia and there you had it the full original lineup of Europe rocking the way they do best with their brand of keyboard laden hard rock. I must admit they sounded really good and were a lot heavier than I expected them to be in the live sense. Guitarist John Norum is truly a kick ass player and his recent work with Dokken was exemplary. Lead Singer Joey Tempest did not look much older than he did back when they last played here and when we joked about that backstage he mentioned that there was a very old picture of him in Scandinavia. His voice was in top form as he belted out their existing hits and also played a good number of new tracks. John Leven on bass, Ian Haugland on drums and Mic Michaeli on keyboards were equally fun to listen to. The band will be releasing their new CD Start From The Dark in June on Reality Music in the USA and it is a very interesting record. Those that might downplay the band as "hair band" will be surprised at how much the release rocks. There is a lot more progressive stuff going on with it, and many of the tracks are catchy. Tempest and bandmates were very cool with the audience as he chatted between numbers about how happy they were to be playing for us again and how they felt like they were rediscovering America. That of course led into the tune from the new CD. "Carrie" was done half acoustically and the entire place was singing along with Joey. It was quite moving, and I can only imagine how good that felt to the band onstage. Of course "Cherokee" would be one of the final numbers of the night and this led right into the signature track "The Final Countdown". To say the room would explode for this number would be an understatement. Given the subject of the tune I also realize it is a bad pun.
The entire show was broadcast on Satellite Radio, and I am hoping to find someone who recorded it since it was that much fun. Not the heaviest show ever attended but yet a night of great new music and some fun nostalgia for everyone. Check out the new CD when it comes out, it won't disappoint you.
Got To Have Faith
Ready Of Not
Wings Of Tomorrow
Let The Good Times Rock
Seven Doors Hotel
Wake Up Call
Sign Of The Times
Girl From Lebanon
Rock The Night
Start From The Dark
Cherokee - encore
Final Countdown - encore
Official Web site: www.EuropeTheBand.com
Photos courtesy of the Europe Website