30 years ago Europe announced a tour of Australia, and never actually made it happen. After lots of discussions, it finally came to fruition, with a five-date run covering all of the major cities.
I have been raving for the past few years that the show I witnessed in London at the start of the War Of Kings tour was one of the most complete rock shows I had seen. Not much has changed in the past three years, and tonight we just got an hour more of the band which could only be seen as a good thing.
Given the tour is at least in name supporting the latest album, “Walk The Earth” opened the set with Tempest, Norum and Leven all delivering out front, and the ever solid Haugland behind the kit, with Michaeli on both keys and guitar for a few numbers. Joey Tempest’s voice has if anything got better over the years, and his showmanship is out of this world, while John Norum sticks close to his monitors and pedals while absolutely blitzing the lead guitar work on every track.
The set is a mix of newer songs, the real classics and some hidden gems, delivered in a fashion that demonstrates how timeless the majority of their music remains. “Rock The Night” includes a chunk of AC/DCs “Whole Lotta Rosie” as a nod to Australia.
Norum plays a Flying V the way it should be, tucked behind one knee and belted mercilessly, which he does during “Firebox” and “Out of This World”. We are also treated to a huge-sounding rendition of “Girl from Lebanon”, and “War of Kings”, and then the real rocker from the aforementioned album with “Days of Rock and Roll” whereby Joey plays rhythm guitar as well.
“Superstitious” features a medley of similar sounding melodies with “So Lonely”, “Here I Go Again” and “No Woman No Cry” blended seamlessly together before closing out the song and first set.
During the second set, Europe rolls out one monster after another, with “Ready or Not” followed by “Last Look At Eden” and the forgotten brilliance of “Seven Doors Hotel” with some faultless keyboard and guitar harmonies throughout.
“Carrie” may be one of the ultimate AOR ballads and gets the crowd really involved in the singalong chorus – grown men howling the words with a passion rarely seen in Sydney concert halls. “Turn To Dust” has Joey spinning and twirling the mic stand to great effect. A drum solo to the 1812 overture makes it way more entertaining than is often the case.
“Stormwind” and “Prisoners in Paradise” give a slight break from the sheer heaviness of the set to this point. Not for long though as the band launch into “GTO” and “Let The Good Times Rock” in all their glory bringing the second set to a climax.
Everyone in the crowd knows what the last song will be – after all there has only been one gig where they didn’t play it, and that didn’t go so well…..but before the obvious, we get the kicking drumbeat opening to what may be their best song, “Cherokee” which gets a massive response from the crowd. This was then topped as they crack into “The Final Countdown” during which the Enmore erupted.
Europe barely stopped smiling all night, clearly having a ball onstage. The band’s live performance tonight absolutely confirms their credibility as a heavy rock band, utterly tight and totally in sync on stage, with songs that have clearly stood the test of time. Let’s hope it isn’t quite as long a wait for the next visit Down Under.
Words & Photos: Peter Coates
Event Date: 22-May-2018