Live at RockPerry 2004

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On a hot summer night me and Mira headed to Vaasa, which is located a few hundred kilometres north from our hometown Raisio. After a long day of driving, we were pleased that everything went really smoothly at the festival site, we didn't have to leave our car too far and we got our press passes quickly. The Rockperry Festival organisation kindly gave us VIP treatment with an access to the services of the VIP restaurant tent, which was nice. The drinks weren't free, but that didn't really bother us since we had a few hours of driving ahead us that night...all in all the athmosphere on the festival was quite mellow, and as we checked out the area, it seemed that the people were less drunk than on some other festivals. However, the running order of the bands was weird, to say the least: apart from Europe, there were several hard rock/metal-styled acts on the bill, but to our disappointment they all performed on friday. The only band we would have liked to see on Saturday was Nerdee, but they performed a bit too early for us to catch them. We did saw the set of YÖ, Finnish rock icons who actually played before Europe back in 1984 too. Never mind that from the current line-up, only vocalist Olli Lindholm was in the band back then...

30 minutes past midnight Europe were scheduled to start, and indeed they did, only a few minutes late I think. The press was allowed to take photos during the first three songs in front of the stage, and there I was shooting away with my funny little digital camera, next to the pro-photographers with their expensive lenses and gadgets...

The set was apparently almost the same as in SwedenRock and exactly same as in Budapest (both gigs covered elsewhere on these pages). It seems that "Open Your Heart" has been dropped from the set since SR, otherwise there hasn't been any changes. The set included a lot of early material from the Norum-era (first three albums), four songs off "Out Of This World" and nothing from "Prisoners In Paradise". The single B-side "Yesterday's News" is still in the set, a weird choice but probably pure heaven for some die-hard fans. I found it to be the weakest link in the set, and I would have rather heard a track off the aforementioned "Prisoners", but I guess Norum didn't feel like learning anything from it. Speaking of Norum, it was funny to notice that he didn't sing any back-ups for any of the "OOTW"-tunes...

The new song "Start From The Dark" suffered from some sound problems, but as far as I could tell, it was a good song. The Black Sabbath-like riff sounded a bit out of place, but the chorus was very melodic and catchy.

Other highlights for me were "Superstitious" (although I was still busy taking photos during it), "Heart Of Stone", "Stormwind", "Let The Good Times Roll" and the whole encore section, with "Cherokee", "Rock The Night", "Start From The Dark" and the inevitable "Final Countdown". There were several annoying teenagers and other non-fans who kept on shouting for the song during the set, and they finally got what they were waiting for...indeed the reception that the song got was something extra-ordinary - it actually looked like that even the ones who had passed out dragged themselves towards the stage and raised their fists and yelled along.

Both of us really enjoyed ourselves and this gig is to be rated among the best ones we've seen. The athmosphere of the festival was quite laidback and enjoyable too.

Photos and review by Kimmo Toivonen
Assistance by Mira Suutari-Toivonen

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