LIVE: Europe – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 19/02/11

Almost a year to the day since they last played at Shepherd’s Bush,
Europe are back with the ‘Balls ‘N’ Banners’ tour, playing to a sold-out crowd.
They’ve had a busy couple of years, and a resurgence in popularity that shows no signs of fading following the success of 2009’s ‘Last Look at Eden’, an acclaimed 2010 tour and appearances at a plethora of summer festivals (including our very own Sonisphere and iTunes).

Smoke and lights filled the stage as the band launched straight into Last Look at Eden. Joey Tempest makes being a great frontman look absolutely effortless, giving the crowd (and photographers) what they want, working the stage, twirling the mic stand, drawing the whole venue in.

The set spanned 1984 (‘Scream of Anger’) to the present day, drawing on tracks from all studio albums with the exception of debut ‘Europe’. First ballad of the night
Carrie prompted venue-wide crowd participation, with plenty of cigarette lighters balancing out the sea of camera phones.

Later in the set, John Norum played The Loner as a beautiful tribute to Gary Moore, with Joey commenting on how widespread Moore’s influence on bands like Europe has been.

There was a welcome surprise in the form of ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ from ‘Out of This World’, introduced as “A song we haven’t played for a very long time (except for last night!)”. This was followed by a drum solo like no other – how many drummers can you think of that are introduced with a montage of Monty Python soundbytes before accompanying the William tell overture?

The band started the encore with a new song, “Doghouse”, which will be on the new album (due in 2012) – it sounded great, and if they continue along this path, I can’t wait to hear more!

For the closing number we were transported back in time for The Final Countdown – there’s no doubt about it, this was pure entertainment, and to their eternal credit, the band still deliver that song with as much energy and enthusiasm as the first time around.

Leaving the venue and walking back to the station I could hear the people around me still bubbling with enthusiasm, and from the bits of conversation I overheard it was clear that Last Look at Eden has definitely won the band new fans, people familiar with the earlier material but tempted by the latest album to check out the band live for the first time and coming away impressed.

Tonight’s show was being recorded for a DVD which will be out in October – one to watch out for!

Last Look at Eden
The Beast
Rock The Night
Scream of Anger
No Stone Unturned
The Getaway Plan
JN guitar feature – The Loner
Seventh Sign
New Love In Town
Love Is Not The Enemy
More than Meets the Eye
Drum Solo
Always The Pretenders
Start from the Dark

The Final Countdown

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