Having just released their comeback album ”Start from the Dark” Europe played in Helsinki, Finland in the Culture house. As expected they played quite many new songs but the old classics were not forgotten either.
The band opened with “Got to have faith” which is also the first track of the new album. The first impressions that I got were pretty positive, the guys were in good shape and seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage. Their sound was tight and dark, some might even call it a bit aggressive. The older material was also played with a heavy hand. I don’t mean to say that they totally changed their music, the familiar Europe-sound was there, but the direction towards heavier delivery was certainly there.
I probably had too high expectations for the show because in the beginning of the show I wasn’t too impressed. After the excitement of the first few songs also the crowd settled down a bit probably because some of them weren’t too familiar with the new material. As the show progressed and some of the old hits got the crowd going a bit better the atmosphere improved a lot. It seemed that the turning point of the show was “Carrie” which was performed acoustically by Joey. During the refrain the crowd sang their heart out and from then on Europe had everyone at the palm of their hand. Even the new material sank in a lot better and the interaction between the audience and the band was good.
It’s not often that I look back after the show and think: “Hmm, what a nice drum solo”. But this time was different. Instead of a boring drum solo they had two songs playing from the tape without the drums. Ian stepped in and played the drums for those songs and it was a nice idea and people seemed to appreciate it.
“Start from the Dark” and “Flames” were my favourites of the new songs. “Hero” sounded also good live, maybe even a tad better than on the album. All in all their playing was good. I enjoyed Norum’s guitar and Tempest was in brilliant form thou he had some trouble hitting the high notes on one or two occasions. I liked that they didn’t prolong the compulsory audience participation part. For example during “Rock the Night” the crowd got to sing the chorus a few times but that was it, it didn’t steal big part of the show. I find it annoying when some bands extend songs for about 10 minutes by making the crowd sing “oh yeah” for thousand times.
Europe came back for three encores and ended their 1 h 45 min show with “Final Countdown”. The show was enjoyable but I think that the band is still looking for the perfect set list, especially considering the new material. They could have left some new songs, like “Wake Up Call” out and I’m sure people wouldn’t have missed them. Nevertheless it was a fun night and Europe showed that the band is in good shape and they can deliver an energetic live show.
by Petri Kautto
to have faith