Right, from the start of this review, there’s one thing you need to know… I really like Europe. I know more than “that song”, I’ve seen them a few times and they have always impressed me. Hey, I even wrote about their tour last year. So, if all you want to know is, “did they play Final Countdown, and was it good?” Then, yes and yes, and we’ll give them a solid score out of ten for it… You lot can now move on and read something else.
Joey Tempest and gang didn’t make last year’s Download Festival, their kit did, but that wasn’t enough, so this year we really wanted them to blow the place apart with anthemic ’80’s tinged rock. A tall order for such a short set, and they gave it a damn good shot. They have seven songs to try and give us a performance to remember, to give us a performance that will show people they are more than “that song”. ‘Riches to Rags’ and ‘Firebox’ form the opening partnership, heads are nodding approvingly, as Tempest grins, beams and bounces all over, his mic stand flying and swinging mimicking his excitement.
Europe are chuffed to be here, and there is a reasonable smattering in front of the Zippo Encore stage that share that enthusiasm. I’m at the stage where I don’t care about people staring me bouncing about like a loon, whilst others foot tap and simply wait for “doodle do dooo….”
It’s a solid set, John Norum is a fantastic guitarist, criminally underrated, and Europe as a whole unit are damn infectious. After the double “Bag Of Bones” album openers, it’s time to reach back to classic times as ‘Superstitious’ is met with much more enthusiasm from us oldies, as gradually Europe start to win over the curious. “We can’t believe it, We’re just five punks from Sweden” yells Tempest, still totally incapable of hiding his excitement. But it’s infectious, and it’s so much easier to get pulled in to a band who are enjoying themselves. ‘Scream Of Anger’ and ‘Rock The Night’ port us all slap bang into retro, good time glam rock… brilliant stuff.
We’re expecting ‘Last Look At Eden’, and ‘The Final Countdown’ to round things off, and that’s exactly what we get. It’s a fitting finale, and anyone that hasn’t woken up to Europe definitely has, by the time the ‘Final Countdown’ kicks in. One of the hardest working, and most entertaining bands in rock. They may not have converted everyone watching today, but they gave it their all, they entertained, and they hit the nail on the head with their short and sweet set.