House of Culture
Review and pictures by Marko Syrj?l?
It?s been 11 years since Europe last played in Finland. Actually, it was the same venue (House of Culture) but the size of the crowd was hardly more than 250 people. That happened in the early nineties when grunge ruled the music markets and most hard rock bands slowly but surely disappeared…as did Europe. Tonight shows that things are getting better and hard rock is doing fine again. Record sales have picked up, and what?s most important, people are coming to see the shows again.
Europe are back and now they are here to bring some true 80?s feeling back to the hard rock genre. They just released a brilliant comeback album called ?Start from the Dark? which is a really strong evidence that this band still has something to say in today?s music area. About 1000 people showed up for tonight?s concert which was the opening night of their new tour, a tour which will go on across Europe before they hit Japan early next year.
As audience screams continued to fill the house, the band took to the stage. The lights were faded at this point. Boom!! Show kicked off with the new album opening track ?Got To Have Faith?. It?s was a surprisingly heavy cut that really showed what the band presents today. People in the crowd seemed to be quite confused in the beginning. Maybe it was because of the strong ?low key? sound or just because they didn?t recognize new tracks too well? Another newbie called ?America? came next and people were even more surprised. Could this be the same band who are famous only because they did ?Final Countdown? in the golden eighties and who looked even cuter than some girls then? Instead of those ?beautiful boys? we now have five quite serious looking men dressed in black, playing a kind of music which could easily be called metal!
Fortunately the next song saved the day for the most of the crowd. It was ?Superstitious? from their last big album in the 80?s OUT OF THIS WORLD and people started to wake from their slumber. Another crowd favourite ?Ready Or Not? followed before the band hit briefly back to really old stuff with ?Wings Of Tomorrow?. Suddenly the atmosphere changed from curious waiting to real ?concert feel?.
Singer Joey Tempest was running constantly across the stage doing jumps and swinging his head like any ?hard rock band? front man, while both John?s were mostly standing on their own side and just played their hearts out. One of the bands biggest hits in the eighties was definitely a ballad called ?Carrie? from their breakthrough album FINAL COUNTDOWN. This time Joey played it as a solo. It was just him and acoustic guitar. That worked really well and the chorus was mostly sung by the audience and was really loud. That was definitely one of the highlights of the show. Another highlight was ?Flames?, which in my opinion is the best track from START FROM THE DARK. Some great looking ?flames? were used during the choruses.
A drum solo by Ian Haughland was very fun and funny. He was playing drums above guitar riff loops which came out of the PA. First riff was ?You Really Got Me? by Van Halen and then came the opening riff of legendary ?Ace Of Spades? and everybody was having real fun, even Ian himself. What a nice idea!
?Cherokee? and ?Rock the Night? closed the main set. The atmosphere was brilliant and now it was time to wait THAT song.
After a short break band returned (as bands usually do) and did two more new songs, including a title track of the new album, before the legendary keyboard riff started to hum from the speakers and ?The Final Countdown? was finally played. And everybody seemed to have fun then..
Even though singer Joey Tempest was the main interest, as well as a target for the female fans of course, but however the rest of the band can?t be ignored. John Norum?s guitar playing was brilliant. He?s definitely one of the most underrated players of our time and he should be respected a lot more. Originally he left from Europe right after the FINAL COUNTDOWN and since then he has released a bunch of solo albums and he also worked with Dokken and did two albums with them. In my opinion, the guitar sound of the new album is quite similar to Dokken?s “Long Way Home…”!? Bassist John Leven and keyboardist Mic Michael were doing their jobs very professionally and the latter was also doing a lot of backing vocals. Both of them plus Ian have played mostly together in different bands since Europe split and perhaps because of that reason they are now playing together very strongly and sounded very tight.
People seemed to be quite satisfied with the gig, I know I was! Right from the beginning the sound was really loud, but very clear. There was no big stage show, but the music did the talking. The set list included a lot of classic Europe tunes mixed up with many new tunes. Of course the guys have become a little bit older and the look had also been updated to modern times as the old hair style doesn?t look that modern in 2004… but the band still looked damn good it?s very hard to believe that the first Europe album really came out back in 1983!!!
Only time will tell how successful this reunion will really be, but so far everything looks good.
Welcome back !!!
1. Got To Have Faith
4. Ready Or Not
5. Wings Of Tomorrow
6. Let The Good Times Rock
7. Seven Doors Hotel
9. Wake Up Call
10. Sign Of The Times
– gt solo – John Norum (instrumental)
11. Girl From Lebanon
12. Scream Of Anger
13. Carrie (acoustic, Joey Tempest)
– dr solo – Ian Haugland (You Really Got Me, Ace Of Spades)
16. Rock The Night
17. Yesterday’s News
18. Start From The Dark
19. The Final Countdown
Continue on to page 2 for more exclusive EUROPE photos from House of Culture