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    EUROPE, 40th Anniversary ‘Time Capsule’ Tour, London Palladium, October 25, 2023-UK

    Photos and review by Adrian Hextall

     

    Approximately halfway through the second set, in a show of two halves, Europe played ‘Prisoners in Paradise’. If you’re a fan of the band, you’ll appreciate this more than anything else and hearing that song performed live for the first time in [forever] was all I needed. If it had been the opening song of the night, I might have stood up five minutes later and headed home as happy as the person who stayed for the full 26-song experience. For the stats fans, the song hasn’t been played in the UK since 1992 except, oddly for one show in Newcastle in 2011.

    This tour however, dubbed ‘Time Capsule’ is a celebration of all eras of Europe and thankfully, we are treated to a smorgasbord of songs encapsulating the band’s career, Phase 1 from the band’s 1983 debut to 1991’s ‘Prisoners in Paradise’ to Phase 2 showcasing their reformation with ‘Start from the Dark’ in 2004 through to 2017’s ‘Walk the Earth’. That they have released more albums since reforming is testament to the enjoyment the band have for their work and the ever-supportive global fan base. There were clearly fans from around the world present at the first of two nights at the Palladium and more than a handful of the truly faithful at the front of the venue, a point not missed by Joey Tempest as he regularly made the effort to let them join in on choruses.

    If we rewind a moment to the start of the evening, the show opened at 7:30pm with a packed house and a documentary, interviewing all members of the band about how they came together, how they were members of different acts, entering battle of the band competitions and over the course of a short space of time, came together to form Force. Force of course isn’t the name we know them by and without spoiling the documentary for those who have yet to see it, they of course became Europe, and the rest is history.

    With the curtain dropping, the band launched into ‘On Broken Wings’ followed by ‘Seven Doors Hotel’ and ‘Rock The Night’. It’s the sort of trio that would sit at home in an encore let alone the opening salvo of the night. That, is the strength of Europe’s back catalogue. They truly are the ultimate “I didn’t realise I knew so many songs” band and at the Palladium, we got to hear all of them and more.

    With ‘Start From The Dark’, ‘Walk The Earth’ and new single ‘Hold Your Head Up’ proving that the new material sat perfectly alongside the old, the time capsule spat forth everything we could want from a Europe show, Joey with his everlasting smile and the voice of a 25 year old, John Norum with beautiful blues tinged guitar solos, birthday boy John Levin giving the sound some real beef alongside drummer Ian Haugland and the keys of Mic Michaeli without whom, “that” song would never have the timeless appeal that it does.

    Aside from the hits (all of which seemed to get an airing), highlights of the show included an acoustic break during the second set, which again was preceded by more documentary footage, where Joey and John Norum sat down on stools with acoustic guitars, delivered a few stories and then played the most emotive cover of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’. It was one of the best renditions I’ve ever heard and makes me hope that at some point these shows will be compiled into a concert movie along with the documentary footage.

    After playing ‘Memories’ and John Levin performing a bass solo, manager Adam Parsons appeared on stage with a trolley containing champagne and cake for John who was celebrating his 60th birthday. With one lucky fan getting a slice of the cake to enjoy, and a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ sung by all present, it was then time to bring the show to a conclusion.

    Ian Haugland’s famous ‘William Tell Overture’ always resets my dislike of drum solos because he and only he manages to make a solo fun, lively and worth listening to. It was followed by personal favourites ‘Ready Or Not’ and ‘Superstitious’ before a quick pause and an encore of ‘Cherokee’ and of course ‘that song’. When 2,300 people all come together to sing along on one song, well it’s just the best way to end a show.

    EUROPE

    With a new album due out soon and if the lead single is anything to go by, a return to the phase 1 sound of the band, I simply cannot wait. A stunning performance.

    SETLIST

    Intro (Europe documentary)

    On Broken Wings

    Seven Doors Hotel

    Rock the Night

    Start from the Dark

    Walk The Earth

    Hold Your Head Up

    Dreamer

    War of Kings

    Vasastan

    Girl From Lebanon

    Carrie (Mic Michaeli introduction)

    Stormwind

    Interlude (Greeting from drummer Ian Haugland, stating that there would be a 20 minute break between sets)

    Set 2

    Interlude (Europe documentary)

    Always the Pretenders

    Ninja

    Prisoners in Paradise

    Sign of the Times

    Space Oddity (David Bowie cover) (acoustic)

    Last Look at Eden

    Open Your Heart

    Memories (John Levén bass solo and spoken interlude – John’s 60th Birthday!)

    More Than Meets the Eye

    Drum Solo (William Tell Overture with Ian Haugland introduction)

    Ready or Not

    Superstitious

    Encore:

    Cherokee

    The Final Countdown

    Bring It All Home (Tape)

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