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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Special: Blu-Ray Review - EUROPE live at Sweden Rock / 30th Anniversary Show

In 1983 a young band from Sweden got out to conquer the world. Only three years later they should write one of the biggest rock classics of all time: with "The Final Countdown" Europe were at the top of their game. After the big break in 1992 they did the comeback of the year in 2004. But the sound had changed. Today Europe are a more harder rockin' band with lots of bluesy elements (especially on their latest album "Bag Of Bones"). So, this year the guys celebrated and recorded their 30th Anniversary show at one of the biggest Rock festivals: Sweden Rock! A concert, 30 years in the making - let's see if it's so bombastic like it sounds.

To be honest, I was a bit surprised when I heared of another live CD/DVD/Blu-Ray comin' up from these guys, because not long ago they already released their live-package "Shepard Bush". So, who needs a live recording every second year? After a look at the setlist my worries were washed away. Europe present a huge show with 29 songs! I've never seen such a big setlist from these guys and it's packed with all the big classics like "Rock The Night", "Superstitious", "Carrie" and "The Final Countdown". Beside them you'll get to hear/see some more new stuff from their latest albums, mixed up with live-rarities like "Prisoners In Paradise" or "In The Future To Come". And if that wasn't enough Europe come along with two cover songs with the help of their friends Scott Gorham and Michael Schenker.
I always love it when bands put some special songs in the setlist, songs they didn't play for years. So I was really satisfied with this setlist and also every Europe fan should be pleased with it. It is a very good selection of songs from each record Europe did, so you get a pretty good impression of their work over the last 30 years. As bonus you get some behind-the-scenes-footage and an Interview with the band.

Most important to me is the question if it's possible that the material captures the live-feeling very well and if it's transported right into my living room. Here I can say everyone who was involved in recording this show has done a great job. Due to a crystal clear and punchy surround sound, a brilliant sharp picture and an amazing crowd it pulls you right into the live atmosphere and you feel like you belong to one of those 30.000 Rock fans in the audience.

Speaking about the band performance I'm not so satisfied. Europe are still a great live band, they are all gifted musicians, but when it comes to the show aspect it's only singer Joey Tempest who makes an impressive figure on stage. All the other guys remain somewhat pale. You don't see them smile very often and they also rarely move. Especially guitar player John Norum stands most of the time at one place and seems to be very focused and concentrated on his guitar play. But from a guitarist of his class I expect a little bit more. I want to see him move a bit, I want to see emotions in his face, while he is playing his solos, so the entertainment note is missing here. It's the same with the other band members.
Any way, Joey Tempest is the born band leader. He really rocks and he knows how to handle the crowd. When I saw Europe live back in 2009 it was also him, who animates me to rock out. The good thing is: Joey has still a very charismatic and unique voice and even after 2 hours and 20 minutes he still sounds like at the beginning of the show. Thumbs up!

Although this was a perfect and big show, someone was hardly missed in my opinion ... and that's former guitar player Kee Marcello. I know there is a lot of trouble between him and Joey, but I think if this show is a celebration of 30 years of Europe - he definitely should have been part of it. At least for a couple of songs. Because it was Kee, who refined some of the hits with his terrific solos. Just think at the legendary solo in "Superstitious". Personally my heart was bleeding each time I saw Norum play one of Kee's solos. Like I said he is a first class musician, but it isn't the same compared to Kee's kind of play. So in my opinion they should have put their tensions aside for this one show.

Finally, I can recommend this Blu-Ray to each Europe fan as well as every Hard Rock lover out there. If you haven't seen this band live before you should check them out on their next tour. Oh and please don't reduce them to one song only - Europe have much more to offer than "The Final Countdown". This Anniversary show proofs it. Enjoy 30 years of quality Hard Rock music!



01. Intro
02. Riches To Rags
03. Firebox
04. Not Supposed To Sing The Blues
05. Scream Of Anger
06. Superstitious
07. No Stone Unturned
08. New Love In Town
09. In The Future To Come
10. Paradize Bay
11. Girl From Lebanon
12. Prisoners In Paradise
13. Always The Pretenders
14. Drink And A Smile
15. Open Your Heart
16. Love Is Not The Enemy
17. Sign Of The Times
18. Start From The Dark
19. Wings Of Tomorrow
20. Carrie
21. Jailbreak (special guest: Scott Gorham)
22. Seven Doors Hotel
23. Drum solo
24. The Beast
25. Let The Good Times Rock
26. Lights Out (special guest: Michael Schenker)
27. Rock The Night
28. Last Look At Eden
29. The Final Countdown 

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