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SOLD OUT! Europe in London at Shepherds Bush Empire

  03/19/11 18:29, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Moonshayde Photography, Bands, Review, Featured Artist , Tags: europe, gary moore, moonshayde photography, peter noble pr, shepherds bush empire, voodoo johnson

Review by Andy Rawll
Photos by Moonshayde

Standby for action…anything could happen in the next two hours. Troy Tempest’s rocker son and his band of Swedish rock’n'roll gypsies roll back into London for the fourth time in 12 months as part of their seemingly never-ending tour promoting their fine Last Look at Eden album. Europe’s third and strongest release since reuniting in 2003 after a 10-year hiatus is helping to propel their resurgent popularity to new levels.

With special thanks to Peter Noble, Moonshayde Photography presents a photo set from the sold-out Europe concert. Click Here! Don’t miss it!

This time round the tour is billed as the Balls’n'Banners tour, apparently in reference to the anatomical likeness of the album artwork and in tribute to the diversity of national flags unfurled by fans at their gigs. Judging by the way the show kicked-off, the band are in the mood to rock with down-tuned monster track The Beast following the frenetic title track of what is certainly one ballsy album. Their confidence in their latter day material is reflected in the fact that half the setlist is taken from their output after the Millennium countdown; not so final after all, was it ?

For well over 20 minutes there’s no let up in momentum, with Joey working the mike stand almost as hard as John Norum does his Les Paul. We then get a short respite from this melodic rock masterclass, with uber-ballad Carrie inspiring banners, lighters and a hearty singalong. Leading into the mid-paced The Getaway Plan, proceedings take a bittersweet twist as the band (Norum in particular) pays tribute to the great now-departed Gary Moore with a jaw-dropping and sublime version of The Loner featured on Gary’s Wild Frontier album. The sombre tone of the tribute passes as we enjoy an upbeat selection of songs old and new. Despite the variety of the source material, each subsequent track dovetails well with its predecessor, bearing testament to how the UK set-list has been fine-tuned to perfection since Europe last played Shepherds Bush (almost a year ago, to the day).

This being a rock show, a drum solo was almost inevitable, not least to give the front-men a chance to take a breather and grab a fine beverage of the medicinal kind. So it was that the man at the back got his chance to perform his paradiddles for this European intermission. Thankfully, it wasn’t one of those interminable and humourless tub-thumping workouts. Drummer Ian Haugland made a good effort to inject some fun into the exercise, playing along to Rossini’s William Tell Overture (the classical gallopy one, that Iron Maiden must surely add to their set-list).

The band returned to the stage duly refreshed and drove the set forward culminating in a supreme Superstitious, with John Norum nailing the deceptively tricky solo that his original replacement Kee Marcello contributed to the first post-Norum Europe album Out Of This World and has since become his calling card; probably as payback for being forced to master Norum’s classic solo in ‘that’ song.

There are certain inevitabilities in life, death and taxes for sure, but when it comes to a Europe gig, whether they like it or not, the final song is the one that needs no countdown. Yes, the keyboard riff is so cheesy and so-dated, but there is something strangely joyous about that song. It starts like the soundtrack to ‘Beverly Hills Cop goes to Miami’ but then it shifts gear as the vocal takes flight. Then just as you think so far so bland, you get the phenomenal instrumental break-down to Norum’s searing yet melodic solo and then it’s back to them parping keys. Maybe because the song has something for everyone, has it lingered so long in the public consciousness and is so widely appreciated. Tonight is of course no exception. Although hardly a surprise, the crowd goes suitably nuts and a mass singalong follows.

I almost forgot, prefacing ‘Countdown’ was a very UFO-like rocker called ‘Doghouse’, with Norum channeling his inner-Schenker through his trusty white Gibson Flying V. Joey indicated that this new song was planned for their next album later in the year. So the good news for us, but maybe not for Mrs Norum, is that Europe will be back on tour again in early 2012. Judging by the bluesy vibe of Doghouse, and the recent solo album from his Norumness, the new album and following tour could be very tasty indeed. See you back at the Empire, down the front. The Countdown has begun.

Andy Rawll

It was announced that the entire Shepherd’s Bush Empire concert by
Swedish hard rockers Europe on Saturday February 19th was filmed for release
on DVD and Blu-ray in October 2011; it will also include a bonus live CD.
Click Here for Moonshayde’s photo set from the sold-out concert!

 

 

Voodoo Johnson did a very able job supporting Europe at their sold-out London show.

CLICK HERE for a photo set of their performance by Moonshayde Photography.

 

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