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Europe - Live At Sweden Rock (30th Anniversary Show)

Live At Sweden Rock (30th Anniversary Show)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 04 November 2013, 3:34 PM

Time flies and 30 years of career drifted by, assumingly as if the maiden voyage was yesterday. Truth be told, I have never been one of those folks that recognized the Swedish Hard N’ Heavy band EUROPE through their major 80’s hit “The Final Countdown”, probably their key to glory starting that same year. On the other hand, while listening to the band in the past, I tried to experience them in full, back from their early 80’s period manufacturing well blended Heavy Metal with blazes of catchy Hard Rock through their mid era 80’d success where the band began smothering itself with Pop Rock fumes and commercialized ethics up until their time off passé after the early 90’s. Sometimes I think that ordinary people forget that behind the entity called EUROPE there is a lot more to offer than just “The Final Countdown”, but I guess that sometimes you just can’t argue with reality that in a way that song, following that very album by the same name, was probably EUROPE strongest bargaining chip. Later on, after coming back with 2004’s “Start From The Dark” with a purpose to continue the hey days without looking too much backwards, EUROPE began releasing albums on a regular basis, sometimes revealing sides of theirs that haven’t been there before, biting Blues, enticing classic Rock and generally establishing a front with decent material, which ended up being darkened hazy on several occasions. 2013 is the breaking point, a time to celebrate a three decade anniversary and EUROPE issued a DVD, “Live At Sweden Rock”, via earMUSIC, performing with their best of the best along with promoting their latest “Bag Of Bones”.

Consisting of a setlist of 28 songs, including two cover performances with guest appearances and a duo of unplugged versions, over two and a half hours playing, that were fairy picked, scouring the band’s depthy career, indicating the changes, for a better or worse, which occurred down the road. I couldn’t really count the filming angles, yet I am positive that there were plenty of cameras out there actively documenting the event with tremendous HD quality. No too many close crowd shots, however, I might comment that it didn’t bother me that much as I wanted to experience more of EUROPE rather than the fine audience that attended the show. Furthermore, the cameras added a sort of a supplementary dimension to the band’s performance, making it larger than life, for that I was immensely pleased. The timing was nothing other than perfect, every powerful moment was acknowledged as should. Judging the sound, I didn’t expect anything less, creative engineering work that every now and then made me believe as if I was the only one there watching the band perform. In addition to the normal set, there are tasty additions such as “Behind The Scenes” and of course a gallery of high quality photography.

Diving to the performance itself, coming forward as an 80’s Metal / Hard Rock fan, I must imply that I naturally found myself relating to the band’s earlier catalog, at least at first. EUROPE, coming with a message of peace, profoundly let loose their Metal nostalgia with “Scream Of Anger”, “Sign Of The Times”, “Seven Doors Hotel” and “Paradize Bay”. Surely that Joey Tempest isn’t the same young vocalist that serviced these magical tunes back in the day, and his mid high register isn’t the same, but still the as a whole, EUROPE let the good times roll and Tempest in particular shared their memorandum with a staggering ability and a lot of heart. There were also the old rockers that enhanced the partying with “Superstitious”, where John Norum shined with his lead guitar playing matching the efforts of the studio version recorded by Kee Marcello, “Rock The Night”, “Let The Good Times Rock”, emotive “Prisoners In Paradise” and the unforgettable power ballad, possibly the bands’ finest ever, “Carrie”. I missed “Cherokee”, as I believe that it should have been an integral to the list, but it didn’t ruin anything. The newer material had me perplexed, yet following EUROPE’s impressive showmanship, I was satisfied, even pleased. Right before my very eyes I found out the Heavy Rock appetizer such “Always The Pretenders”, the atmospherically enhanced Rocker “No Stone Unturned” and the Blues Rock manifold of “Firebox”. “New Love In Town” and “Start From The Dark” were pretty nice, but as the record shows, EUROPE concentrated their efforts on their early days, and I was grateful for that. Finally, there were the pair of covers. I was somewhat stunned that in this kind of anniversary such an icon would perform covers songs. On the other hand, it shows humbleness and a fine tribute to one’s influences. Paying a tribute to UFO, with “Lights Out”, EUROPE featured Michael Schenker that demonstrated his guitaring mastery, taking on the entire lead guitar flares. The song appeared so natural for EUROPE to perform. Second, there was the old THIN LIZZY out of jail hymn, “Jailbreak”, performed with no other than LIZZY’s old Scott Gorham exchanging solos with John Norum, another excellent pick that spiced up the originals.

“Live At Sweden Rock” is a must DVD, a high importance memo of a legacy that is more than meets the eye. There is more to EUROPE that just “The Final Countdown”, and the people need to understand that. This DVD is the proof to that, indulge its contents.

4 Star Rating

1. Intro / Riches To Rags
2. Firebox
3. Not Supposed To Sing The Blues
4. Scream Of Anger
5. Superstitious
6. No Stone Unturned
7. New Love In Town
8. In The Future To Come
9. Paradize Bay
10. Girl From Lebanon
11. Prisoners In Paradise
12. Always The Pretenders
13. Drink And A Smile (Acoustic)
14. Open Your Heart  (Acoustic)
15. Love Is Not The Enemy
16. Sign Of The Times
17. Start From The Dark
18. Wings Of Tomorrow
19. Carrie
20. Jailbreak (featuring Scott Gorham) (Thin Lizzy Cover)
21. Seven Doors Hotel
22. Drum Solo
23. The Beast
24. Let The Good Times Rock
25. Lights Out (featuring Michael Schenker) (UFO Cover)
26. Rock The Night
27. Last Look At Eden
28. The Final Countdown
Mic Michaeli – Keys / Acoustic Guitars
John Levén – Bass / Acoustic Guitars
Joey Tempest – Vocals / Rhythm Guitars / Acoustic Guitars / Percussion
John Norum - Guitars
Ian Haugland - Drums
Record Label: earMUSIC


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