Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE)

EUROPE / TAX THE HEAT

Date: 08th November, 2016
Venue: Cirkus
Ticket: 475-525SEK (€45-50/$50-55)
Promoter: Live Nation
Photos: Erika Wallberg


EUROPE is Sweden’s pride and joy because there wasn’t anything bigger than EUROPE for a while in the mid '80s. All the music magazines featured articles about the band and individual reports on the members. They were on the centerfold, in additional posters, just about on everything. I still have a whole bunch of them piled up in my vault. Still, I wasn’t really a fan but it’s hard to deny that the songs were good and it’s just to admit that they’ve aged well and still hold today. And so does the band. It was a vital force taking on the Cirkus venue as it was the first show on this very special tour. When I first saw the announcement I immediately thought I had to see this and I wasn’t alone; the show sold out quickly and it was just thanks to Live Nation and a press ticket I got the opportunity to see it all.

As I don’t know how the band behaved back in the '80s, I can only refer to the few, much more recent times I’ve seen the band on stage. For sure, it is Joey Tempest who is catching most of the spotlight, whether he’s in it or not. His stage persona and energy are absolutely fantastic.

The first half of the set was tagged for “War Of Kings” in its entirety, start to end. I like the album but I don’t think all songs are the same hits as the ones on the '80s albums. Still, the first hour passed quickly and most of the crowd seemed to enjoy themselves very much, while others were just waiting for the trip down nostalgia lane that Joey announced in the beginning of the show. Tracks like “The Second Day” and “Praise You” sounded great and since many of the songs had never been played live before, “California 405”, “Angels (With Broken Hearts)” and absolutely fantastic “Children Of The Mind” plus a few more, the show surely was really special. Also, the instrumental track “Vasastan” sounded amazing. It’s easy to forget how damn skilled the musicians are in this band. John Norum shined in this track; his tone and sense of melody when playing are phenomenal and the clean solo sent shivers down my spine.

I actually expected more from the crowd though; the response was ok but not much more than that. The intensity and the screams of course increased when EUROPE moved over to the “The Final Countdown” songs, but again, not as much as I expected. But the ones who responded did it good though, and even I have to admit the songs from “The Final Countdown” brought some memories back. Not always the proudest moments of course but it still fun to think back and remember friends and foes I haven’t thought about in ages. That “Rock The Night” and especially “Carrie” would bring on some cheers wasn’t a surprise. I expected snippets of the video on the TV prompters used as a back-drop but instead it was a lot of meet-and-greet pictures from the original tour on display. Not that I recognized anyone, still it was fun to see.

The songs I appreciated the most of the second part of the set were definitely “Danger On The Tracks” and “Ninja”. None of them were radio hits but still are fantastic songs. Both brought on some god response and from a different part of the crowd as compared to the previous hit songs. It started to come around for “Cherokee” although this was never a favorite of mine but it works live and everyone else seems to love it. To see people go bananas for a song is cool and raises the experience. It was the same last time I saw EUROPE too, so give it a few more times and I’ll have it as a favorite. What really make these songs work is Joey’s performance; his boyish charm is still there, just a bit more depth and wisdom in his eyes. His moves are taken straight from the '80s and are very posy but all of it comes very natural and easy. Even though at this point it was beyond 90 minutes’ worth of music, he hardly looked warmed up, not a single drop of sweat.

The downside though with playing an entire album is that the intensity in the show can be somewhat odd. There are doubtless hits on the record but to end the show with “Time Has Come”, “Heart Of Stone”, “On The Loose” and “Love Chaser” wasn’t really the build up to the grand finale I had expected. Still, it was damn cool to hear those songs. But the contrast between the crowds' reaction to these songs and when the reprise of “The Final Countdown” showed up at the end of the last song was a little too big to ignore.

Still, I’m very happy with the show; EUROPE’s performance was fantastic, one step up from last time. But from a show perspective, I think it could have been better if the songs had been shuffled around a little, to have a real build-up towards the end of the show. Although it was a cool and special experience and I’m really happy I got to be there.

EUROPE setlist:

01. “Hole In My Pocket”
02. “The Second Day”
03. “Praise You”
04. “Nothin' To Ya”
05. “California 405”
06. “Angels (With Broken Hearts)”
07. “Days Of Rock 'N' Roll”
08. “Children Of The Mind”
09. “Rainbow Bridge”
10. “Vasastan”
11. “Light It Up”
12. “War Of Kings”
13. “The Final Countdown”
14. “Rock The Night”
15. “Carrie”
16. “Danger On The Track”
17. “Ninja”
18. “Cherokee”
19. “Time Has Come”
20. “Heart Of Stone”
21. “On The Loose”
22. “Love Chaser”

EUROPE

Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Europe @ Cirkus, Stockholm (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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