O2 Academy, Bournemouth


Tonight we have a mouth-watering pairing of Europe and the Black Star Riders, who roll into town for a gig at the O2 Academy as part of a 14 date UK tour. Swedish band Europe have just released their 10th studio album “War of Kings” and have previously sold more than 10 million albums worldwide while their 2nd album The Final Countdown was number one in 25 countries in 1986. The Black Star Riders released the 2nd album “The Killer Instinct” in February, which has received a mass of extremely positive reviews in the press. The band originally got together to celebrate the music of “Thin Lizzy” and toured extensively with some of the original members. While on tour the creative juices started to flow and new material just started to flow.

The opening act for the evening are The Amorettes, a three piece all female Rock outfit from Scotland. In the Rock ‘n Roll world which is mostly dominated by men, this feisty trio of Gill – guitar/vocals, Hannah- drums/vocals and Heather – bass/vocals provide a most welcome change. The band waste no time in getting the audience on their side with a setlist full of highlights. Their no nonsense hard and heavy rhythm, combined with the addictive guitar riffs show these girls are more than up to the job. They perform songs including “Bull by the Horns”, “Son Of a Gun” and the raucous “Hot and heavy” from their debut album “Game On”. The crowd show their loud appreciation after The Amorettes finish their gutsy 30 minute set.

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The “Black Star Riders” arrive onstage to a hugely warm welcome from the excited Bournemouth crowd, from their 1st note to the last these guys are on fire! They literally run from one top tune to the next with twin guitars blazing, with frontman Ricky doing everything to get the audience fully involved. The band’s bonding chemistry, despite the recent changes to the line-up is still strong and each song is performed as if it was an encore. The new tracks such as the melodically Irish “Soldiertown” and the Radio 2 play-listed “Finest Hour” stand up really well against the more established songs.

The “Thin Lizzy” classics like “The Boys Are Back in Town” and “Rosalie” are still in the set, along with the epic “Emerald”; where Scott Gorham excelled himself with a stunning performance on guitar. The set ended with a rousing version of the classic “Whiskey in the Jar” with every person in the place singing along at the tops of their voices “Whack for my daddy-o”. The calls for an encore were sadly ignored as they had the matter of the next band to consider.

Black Star Riders
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Europe arrive on stage, shrouded amongst a huge curtain of smoke with fans struggling to see them for the first few minutes. Kicking off with the powerful title track of the new album the band look fresh and are in a playful mood. The lively frontman Joey Tempest comes to the front of the stage to pull a few “Rock Star” poses for the waiting photographers in the pit. Joey asks the crowd “What is a grockle”? As he’d just been called one backstage! He gets lots of varied hilarious answers from the eager crowd.

Europe are certainly quite a different band now than they were back in the 1980’s. They have matured well and create a sound that takes influence from many of their contemporaries. Tonight’s set contains a good mixture of tunes old and new including “Last Look at Eden”, “Superstitious” and the more recent forthcoming single “Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. They of course end predictably with their biggest hit “The Final Countdown” and the big keyboard intro signals the start of a mass Bournemouth sing-a-long. Once again with the curfew reached sadly there is no time for an encore, but surely no-one can complain about getting value for money here tonight.

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Black Star Riders
Bound for Glory
Kingdom of the Lost
Charlie I Gotta Go
Are You Ready
The Boys Are Back in Town
Through the Motions
All Hell Breaks Loose
Finest Hour
The Killer Instinct
Whiskey in the Jar

War of Kings
Hole in My Pocket
Last Look at Eden
Girl From Lebanon
The Second Day
Praise You
Sign of the Times
Riches to Rags
Rock the Night
Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll
The Final Countdown

The Amorettes
Fire At Will
Get What’s Coming
Bull By The Horns
Give ‘Em Hell
Son of a Gun
Shoot From The Hip
Hot & Heavy



Words By Dave Chinery (Chinners).
Pictures by Jon Musselwhite.

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