Bag of Bones Scandinavian Tour 2012
Mustasch – special guest
Baltic Hall, Malmoe Sweden 14/12 – 2012
Review and live pictures by Anders Sandvall
Europe is considered as being the biggest hard rock band out from Sweden ever. The band went into a coma after the release and the tour in 1991 for the album PRISONERS IN PARADISE. The official explanation was that the band was on a break and the break lasted until 2004 when it was time for the band to unveil the new studio album START FROM THE DARK. The band has been active since 2004 and released the album BAG OF BONES in April 2012. Along with the release of the new album, the band also revealed plans on going out on tour in South America as well as in Europe. Another Swedish act that tagged along as special guest on the Scandinavian leg of the tour was the well known Mustasch with the crazy lead singer Ralf Gyllenhammar as front man. I thought Europe also was about to add an opening act but they seemed to be happy with having only one act as special guest. The tour touched down in Malmo on a cold and harsh snowy Friday in December about one week before Christmas.
I showed up to the Baltic Hall when the doors opened and there were no line at all that led up to the doors. The venue has a capacity for hosting 4000 people but the organizers had put the stage in the middle of the center court which meant that they didn’t count for the band to sell 4000 tickets. The Baltic Hall is a sports arena and when I came into the hall I saw that a lot of people had already seated at the stands but not many people were on the floor. Judging by the look and age of the fans many of the ones there was obviously around at the time when Europe began to play. I heard from security and from fellow photographers that about 1000-1500 tickets was sold. The stage which was placed in the middle of the floor was huge and a backdrop hung behind the drums with the band name on it. Most fans chose to sit on the stand that faced the stage and not many wanted to stand on the floor during the show. Finally the clock turned 7.30 and it was time for Mustasch to kick of the evening.
As the stage filled up with smoke, the band came on stage and were met with a warm welcome from the fans. They kicked off the show with the excellent song “Heresy Blasphemy”. “Deep In The Woods” followed after which Gyllenhammer thanked the fans and said that it was fun to once again be back in Malmo. The band consists of:
Ralf Gyllenhammar – lead vocals, guitar
Mats Stam Johansson – bass
David Johannesson – guitar
Jejo Perkovich – drums
“The Challenge” followed and Gyllenhammar, who spoke in German, explained why he spoke in German with that the band had toured there so much that he for some reason had been stuck with talking that way. Of course he joked and then announced the next song “Bring Me Everyone”. As always was Gyllenhammar in a great mood and joked around with both band members as well as with the audience. He joked and said that it now was time for the bands fastest song and that’s why they named it “Speed Metal”. Then followed the bands big break through hit “Down In Black” and the fans clapped their hands and sang a long with the band in the song. As soon as that song ended began the intro to the next song play and it was the huge crowd pleaser “Double Nature” and Gyllenhammar let the audience sing the chorus.
Even though I have seen Mustasch perform live numerous times before I’m always amazed with how tight the band is. There’s not many acts that can beat Mustasch when it comes to a live appearance. “I Hunt Alone” followed and Gyllenhammar took off his guitar and took a few cans of beer and jumped down in the photo pit and heaved away the cans to the audience in the front. That was a success amongst the fans but not amongst security. Before he headed back up on stage he took his time hugging a few girls who was standing in front of the stage. As soon as the band had finished “I Hunt Alone” was the show also over and the guys walked off the stage to the tones of the Whitney Houston song “I Will Always Love You”. The show lasted for 45 minutes which felt a little too short for a special guest band.
Deep In The Woods
Bring Me Everyone
Down In Black
I Hunt Alone
There were nothing to complain about when it came to the Mustasch show other than it was too short. I also missed a few of my personal favorite songs on the set list but besides that it was a spotless show staged by one of the best live acts in Sweden today.
On stage hung a backdrop with the cover of the new Europe album on it and right before the show started had more fans entered the venue in order to see their 80’s idols.
The stage once again filled up with smoke and the band came on and began the show with a song from the new album called “Riches To Rags” which was followed by “Not Supposed To Sing The Blues” complete with Tempest on bongo drums. Tempest thanked the fans for being there and the show continued with “Firebox” and the old classical song “Superstitious” which made the fans go crazy. The Europe of today consist of:
Joey Tempest – lead vocals
John Norum – guitar
Jon Levén – bass
Mic Michaeli – keyboards
Ian Haugland – drums
The song “Scream Of Anger” is taken from the second album WINGS OF TOMORROW and Tempest said it was nice to see that the song is remembered even though it’s quite old. Needles to say was it the old songs that made the fans wake up and sing a long with the band. I think it’s time for the band to realize that they can record however many new albums they want – it’s still the old classic songs that fans want to hear and to dance to. It was also those songs that made it fun to see Europe again because if I’m honest their later albums aren’t so fun to listen to at all. It was Tempest who worked the hardest with connecting to the fans and both Levén and Norum stood solid on their spot during major part of the show. “No Stone Unturned” and “New Love In Town” followed and the fans stood still listening to the music and clapped their hands after the songs. Norum stood positioned way back on stage almost right beside Haugland on drums.
The sound system worked perfect and the sounds were crystal clear. However, the lights were crap and then especially on the members in the back of the stage. The crazy smoke machine that was on stage made the members disappear in all the smoke from time to time. The same thing happened during the Mustasch show.
Tempest said that it was fun being in Malmo this Friday night and thanked the fans once again for coming to the show and Tempest wanted the audience to give it up for the song “Girl From Lebanon”. Tempest played guitar during the two former songs which made they full more edgy and gave the songs more depth. The sound picture sounded a lot more thin with only Norum on guitar. Tempest began a sentence in Swedish when a guy in the crowd shouted something and Tempest changed to English and said there were fans from Poland in the venue tonight. He said that it now was time for another mighty song from the brand new album and the song were “Demon Head”. Tempest worked really hard to get the crowd going but he had a hard job at least during the more current songs. At the end of the song disappeared Tempest from the stage leaving it for Michaeli doing a keyboard solo. While he did that the crew prepared the stage with putting out chairs. A few minutes after the solo had ended showed Norum up with an acoustical guitar and I guess that everyone now knew that it was time for some unplugged business. Norum performed “The World Keep On Turning” by Fleetwood Mac on his own and besides being a great guitarist he’s also a capable singer. After the song came the rest of the band out and Tempest asked us to give a warm hand for Norum. It was now time to slow down things a bit with “Drink And A Smile” in an acoustical version. When the fans heard the first notes of “Open Your Heart” they woke up and gave the band the support they needed. That song ended the unplugged section of the show and now was it time for plugged in versions of “Love Is Not The Enemy” and “Sign Of the Times”. There are no doubts that all of the musicians in the band is skilled and Tempest has still got his voice intact. However, the current songs are not much to cheer for and I wonder if its necessary for Europe to record any new material when it’s obvious that the fans only come to hear the old classic Europe standards?
The fans came alive when they heard “Carrie” and everyone sang along with Tempest. It was in moments like these when the show worked the best and everyone, both band and fans seemed to be having a great time together. It felt like the band had woken up during the third part of the show but it was also in this part the band played the major part of their classic tunes. Tempest continued with thanking so much for the support and said that for some reason it doesn’t matter how good your intention of doing things are sometimes you’re (meaning all the guys) still ending up in the “Doghouse”. And because this was a more current song the show stopped and the fans went back to standing still nodding their heads instead of going crazy with supporting the band. Luckily the last song for the night was an old goodie and you can believe the happiness amongst the fans when they heard the first notes of “Rock The Night”. Tempest invited everyone to sing along in the middle of the song and the roof was about to cave in when everyone sang at the top of their lungs. The song transcended for a short while into “Another One’s Bite The Dust” with Queen before it went back to the original song. Levén contributed with a shorter bass solo at the end of the song before it ended. That song was the last one for the ordinary show but the fans wanted to hear more and shouted for Europe to come back to do encores. After a short while the band turned up again and kicked off “Last Look At Eden” as the first encore. Not what you wanted to hear. Tempest thanked everyone again for all the support and said that the following song was going to end the show. Of course the last song was the bands monumental hit “The Final Countdown”. Tempest let the crowd sing on their own and as soon as the song was over went the band of the stage and the show was really over. By then the band had been on stage for about 1 hour and 50 minutes.
I guess that I had made my opinion clear when it comes to what I think of Europe and their music earlier in the text. The first and second part of the show felt lazy and uninspired and it took until the third and final part until the band showed some kind of energy and vitality. The unplugged part of the show was OK and it was nice to hear Norum on lead vocals. I had definitely wished for more classic tunes and nostalgic songs. 6 new songs taken from BAG OF BONES was just way too many since the album had only recently been released. They didn’t play any songs from the reunited album START FROM THE DARK at all. Europe of 2012 is not what they have been and I wonder who is buying their albums today?
Riches To Rags
Not Supposed To Sing The Blues
Scream of Anger
No Stone Unturned
New Love In Town
Girl From Lebanon
The World Keep On Turning – unplugged – (Cover Fleetwood Mac)
Drink And A Smile – unplugged
Open Your Heart – unplugged
Love Is Not the Enemy
Sign Of The Times
Rock The Night
Last Look At Eden
The Final Countdown
Thanks to Totte Lundgren, head of Kulturbolaget for help with press/photo pass to the show.
Thanks to Totte Lundgren, Kristian Kornhage – head of press, and to the staff at Kulturbolaget for a great 2012.
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