Europe – Thebarton Theatre Friday 18 May 2018.
Review – Geoff Jenke
It’s all a matter of timing. If Europe had toured Australia in the late 1980’s they would have sold out stadiums all around the country. Today they struggled to half fill Thebby Theatre. It’s not that the quality of the music has dropped away, in fact the opposite, they have better songs now than ever, no, it’s just in Australia they are unfairly labelled a “one hit wonder”. I rate their last 6 albums, all from 2004 onwards as better than anything they released previously. Personally, if they didn’t play anything from the 1980-90’s it wouldn’t have worried me, but of course they were always going to play the “hits”.
This was Europe’s first trip to Australia and the band still has the “classic original line-up” in Joey Tempest (Vocals), Mic Michaeli (Keyboards), John Leven (Bass), Ian Haugland (drums) and John Norum (guitar). The night was split into two sets with no support band. Right from the opening salvo of Walk the Earth and The Siege from their latest album, Europe had the crowd on their side. Any one not yet convinced how good a night this was going to be, certainly was after the third song, Rock the Night.
Joey asked the audience if they could “scream louder than Perth?”, which led into Scream in Anger from the 1984 Wings of Tomorrow album. It was surprising how many tracks came from the early albums considering they were here to promote their latest offering Walk the Earth. Maybe they were making up for not having been here before.
Firebox was certainly a highlight of the first set with guitarist John Norum switching to a “Flying V” guitar. By this time, it is obvious that Joey Tempest had read or even maybe wrote the book 1001 Lead Singer Poses as he utilised every one of them during the course of the evening.
War of Kings, Heart of Stone, Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll came and went in quick fire succession with little banter between songs. Superstitious ended the first set with Joey asking “We are going to need a hand with this one” as the song merged into Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry. Fourteen songs in and we were only half way there.
The second set started with Ready or Not, before what was the highlight of the entire evening, Last Look at Eden. Pure 80’s Hair Metal heaven, even though it was released in 2009. Carrie had the crowd singing along with the band for the entire song before what was the second highlight of the night, Turn to Dust from the new album. A slow burning song that could almost border on stoner rock with a beautiful guitar solo from Norum.
The drum solo was played alongside the William Tell Overture (with a little bit of Monty Python thrown in) and was short sharp and sweet. Normally during the drum solo, one heads to the bar for another drink. 70’s band have a lot to answer for in this form of entertainment, but tonight it was very enjoyable. Sormwind, Prisoners in Paradise, GTO and Let the Good times Rock rounded out the second set.
The encore started with a raging Cherokee from the Final Countdown album before THAT song is rolled out. At release it was a great song and yes, it is still enjoyable today although sounding a little dated. Not that the audience agreed as a sea of phones rolled out across the theater.
As the band left the stage Joey said they would be back soon. However, if they tour Australia again I doubt Adelaide will be on the itinerary. An extremely poor crowd and this is the reason Adelaide misses out on shows like this. And yes Adelaide, if you weren’t there you missed a great concert.
From a lady who attended with us, the talk in the lady’s restroom at half time was “He has such great hair and teeth and looks so young”. Yes, he may well do, but he has a great band behind him and a brilliant set of songs.
An early call but this may well be concert of the year. It was that good.