02 Academy, Bournemouth

Swedish Rockers Europe return to Bournemouth once again after their successful show here last year (also in February). The band are making the stop as part of the 2011 nine date ‘Ball & Banners’ tour of the UK. There is probably very few music fans on the planet that have not heard the band’s biggest hit ‘The Final Countdown’, as well as this the band have created eight studio albums and have sold over 20 million albums worldwide.

The opening band are ‘Voodoo Johnson’ from Birmingham who were specifically requested by ‘Europe’ to open for them after catching the band’s attention. Their hard and heavy rock sound radiates across the old opera house with vocalist Nik Taylor-Stoakes doing his best to warm up the Bournemouth crowd who seem to need little encouragement. The band perform songs such as ‘Black Skies Mist’ and ‘Seven Years’ which includes some impressive guitar work along with some excellently delivered vocals proving that the rock press have got their reports just right in saying what a great live band they are. The band leave the stage after a storming 30 minute set with a great reception form the obviously impressed Bournemouth crowd.

As the lights go down, rows of strobe lights pierce the dry ice and reach over the heads of the audience. Europe appear and launch into the title track from their most recent album ‘Last Look at Eden’. The atmosphere in this old building is just awesome with a complete mixture of locals and with some Scandinavian fans making up the near capacity crowd. Front man Joey Tempest seems excited to back in this town, welcoming the audience once again with open arms, genuinely impressed with their reaction.

The evening steps up a pace with ‘Rock the Night’ and the band don’t need to encourage the audience to sing along to the chorus it just happens spontaneously with virtually everyone in the place singing the well known lyrics at the tops of their voices. A tribute to the late great Gary Moore in the form of his song ‘The Loner’ is played with Joey stating that Gary Moore is one of the reasons that the band were together such was the influence of his music, with guitarist John Norum does Gary proud with some Stirling guitar work. The band leave the stage briefly while drummer Ian Haugland plays an unusual drum solo to a speeded up version of the ‘William Tell Overture’, which sees lots of the audience trying to keep up with him with fast hand clapping with hilarious consequences.

The band continue with a really mixed set from much of their back catalogue with old favourites such ‘Superstitious’ along with a brand new track called ‘Doghouse’ which is the position most of us men find ourselves in when we have upset our wives and girlfriends. The night had the inevitable end, as the keyboards started to the ‘Final Countdown’ everyone has excited looks on their faces with most playing air keyboards and air guitar. Joey charged around the stage doing some impressive aeronautics with his microphone and microphone stand seemingly really enjoying every moment of the amazing reaction from the audience during their final number. The band leave the stage to thunderous applause with loads to shouts and cheers for more, sadly that was the final number, however after an reaction like this I am sure that the band will return to Bournemouth at some stage in the future, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Set List
Last Look at Eden
The Beast
Rock the Night
Scream of Anger
No Stone Unturned
The Getaway Plan
The Loner
Seventh Sign
New Love In Town
Love is Not the Enemy
More Than Meets the Eye
William Tell Overture(Drum Solo)
We Are Gonna Get Ready
Start From the Dark

The Final Countdown



Words and pictures by;

Dave Chinery (Chinners)


Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace