Words by: Robert Sutton
Images by: Robert Sutton Photography
Billed as ‘The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary Tour’, their sold out, London (and the only UK) date was at the Roundhouse on the 12th November. Europe from Stockholm Sweden rose to international fame in the 1980s with their third album, ‘The Final Countdown’ which has sold over three million copies in America alone and sold over 23 million albums worldwide. They originally formed in 1979 and have now kept the same line-up since reforming in 2003. Support for the evening was from ‘Electric Boys’ and ‘Dare’.
Electric Boys: a four-piece band, also from Stockholm, were originally formed in 1988, but reformed again, with their original members, in 2009. They play with a ‘funky retro-hard rock’ sound and Conny Bloom ( vocals and guitar) oozing his charm and charisma helped make this opening act one that kept my attention for the duration of their time on stage.
Dare: a five piece Rock band, who are now from Wales were originally formed back in 1985 by Thin Lizzy’s keyboard player Darren Wharton. Other notable facts about them is that they did have (Doctor) Brian Cox in the band’s line-up before he went on to play keyboards with D:Ream and then onto learn and teach about physics and other far more important stuff!!
Darren(vocals) gave a strong performance and his mastery of the stage certainly helped them, but for me, it just didn’t quite get going or have the punchy songs that Thin Lizzy had. Nonetheless, I did enjoy their set but they just needed a little something else to make it stand out from the crowd…
Europe, ‘War of Kings’ is the tenth studio album from the band and was released only in March last year, so really cannot be described as a ‘classic’ album just yet!!, but the band decided to play it in full to start the evening off.
Whilst it does contain some good tracks as well as the single ‘Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, playing the album in full I don’t think really worked for them. Unless you have a copy the album and have listened to it many times than as a general fan you may not have heard many of the songs before and this did show itself with the fact that the crowd, whilst showing their appreciation for each of the songs , really didn’t get too excited about them…
Not saying that it wasn’t good..but just think that a mix of their other more popular songs may have been a better bet to start the evening off. I did however really enjoy the ‘Vasastan’ instrumental performance and it made a nice change from the usual ‘solo’ performances that other bands play. So an OK, nothing too special, start from the band.
Once they had finished the album by playing the title song ‘War of Kings’ from it, we were then led into a countdown, shown on the two large screens at the rear of the stage, of their albums going back to 1986 to what can probably only be described as their classic smash hit album..’The Final Countdown’ with its self-titled single which became a worldwide success and peaking at number 1 in the charts in 25 countries.
So set two started off with the first track from the album..’The Final Countdown’ and then progressed onto the next hit and the next and the next. In fact, the next seven songs are regular features of a normal Europe gig…which really does show how great an album this is….
With the whole crowd singing and chanting to the tracks it made for a great atmosphere for tonight’s show and one that I was glad to be in the audience for. However, I have to say the last few tracks on the album are the weakest of the album, so again I just have to question if the band might not have been better off by playing the album in reverse order perhaps?? They did, however, finish with evening off with another snippet of ‘The Final Countdown’ before leaving the stage.
A great gig with a great audience, ( but I just wonder if they could have made it a bit more ‘special’ with a better arrangement of their set list??.. )
Set 1: War of Kings Album played in Full
1: Hole in my Pocket
2: The Second Day
3: Praise You
4: Nothin’ To Ya
5: California 405
6: Angels ( With Broken Hearts)
7: Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll
8: Children of the Mind
9: Rainbow Bridge
10: Vasastan ( instrumental)
11: Light it Up
12: War of Kings
Set 2: The Final Countdown Album played in Full
13: The Final Countdown
14: Rock The Night
16: Danger On The Track
19: Time Has Come
20: Heart Of Stone
21: On the Loose
22: Love Chaser…
(Followed by small snippet of ‘The Final Countdown’ to finish )