Seriously, I challenge anyone to go to a Europe gig and not come out grinning like a fat kid in a sweet shop. These guys really are far more than ‘The Final Countdown’, they have musicianship and presence in spades, and tonight at Rock City, Nottingham as part of the Bag Of Bones UK Tour, it is full on, high energy, feel good, 80’s tinged rock.

So, long gone are the 80’s perms, and Europe’s main man Joey Tempest now looks more like John Bishop than the blonde 80’s icon he once was, but he, and his band still more than delivers the goods. Heavily focusing on the solid “Bag Of Bones” record, the opening salvo is the first three tracks from the album. Tempest’s vocals are crystal, cutting through the mix as John Norum’s fretwork intertwines with John Leven‘s groove laden basslines. Driving and rhythmical, these boys really hit their stride with the second track “Not Supposed To Sing The Blues”.

You have to take your hat off to Joey Tempest too, as Europe really stood up above and beyond other visitors to Nottingham, with their “local knowledge”. There’s none of this “better/louder” than the last city kind of approach. Tempest goes straight in for the bulls eye, and there’s nothing that raises a smile more than a Swedish rocker shouting “Ay up, mi ducks” to a Nottingham crowd… and the sheer audacity of listing Nottingham legends, and including Dale Winton was a master stroke. Top work Mr Tempest.

‘Superstitious’ is the first up from the band’s golden era, and it’s here we see the older portion of the crowd really open up. Tempest and his crew have the Nottingham crowd in the palm of their hands. They’re enjoying themselves and so is Rock City. It’s a nice touch to slow proceedings down and go all out acoustic, and after rumbling through “One of their favourite tracks off Bag Of Bones”, Demon Head the guys head to the front of stage and pipe through a couple of unplugged numbers.

Of course, this is Europe, and everyone knows what’s coming. In all fairness, you probably have about 50% of the crowd there, purely for “that song”. They’re going to have to wait an entire set before they will hear that keyboard intro. It’s a set that is enjoyable to the core, it’s tongue in cheek, audacious and even over the top at times, most of all it’s fun. You’re definitely going to fire up a room of rockers when you launch into the opening of Iron Maiden’s ‘Run To The Hill’s… Tempest proves he’s more than man enough for the vocals.

‘The Final Countdown’ lays waste to the place. The ultimate finale, Europe have won. Everyone leaves that venue grinning from ear to ear. Talking to an old fella afterwards, he said he’d seen Elvis live, and he claimed Europe were much better. He was 71, and that’s some accolade.

Top Bombing from the Swedes.

Europe Setlist:
Riches To Rags, Not Supposed To Sing The Blues, Firebox, Superstitious, Scream Of Anger, No Stone Unturned, New Love In Town, Demon Head, (Acoustic) Have A Drink And A Smile, (Acoustic) Open Your Heart,
Girl From Lebanon, Love Is Not The Enemy, Carrie, Sign Of The Times, The Beast, Doghouse, Rock The Night, (Encore) Last Look At Eden, Final Countdown

Europe – Facebook Page

Photographs taken by Sabrina Ramdoyal.