In Helsinki, Finland, October 14, 2004

Europe (the band) is still very much alive and kicking at the moment and demanding to be noticed. The more accurate question is does anyone still care? The quite surprising answer to that question was given a loud and clear answer at the show in Helsinki. There is a new generation developing that Europe has managed to reach with their greatest hits collections. Judging by the age of the audience, Europe’s core market is not the old Retro-Metal geezers, but the young Nü-metal audience, which was seen at the show taking over the front rows and singing passionately along the old hits.

There has always been something superficial about Europe, and not many Metal fans will openly admit to actually liking them. As the band was about to come on stage, they were introduced as being the biggest rock band ever to come out of Scandinavia, and the glow-in-the-dark huge Europe back banner was revealed. The unintentional cheesy aspects were still pretty much in evidence if one wanted to look hard enough. Luckily no one did. Instead, the genuine enjoyment of the music shared by both the band and the audience seemed to be the thing of this evening.

The band was sending a clear message of their desire to be in the game again and not just take the easy way of riding the nostalgia wave. The set list was carefully drafted and well thought out. T hey started with the latest single from their new album, followed by another new song before they shifted into playing most of the songs from their latest “best of” collection. The middle of the set saw some more new songs thrown into the mix before returning to the hits again.

The focus point of Europe is obviously the energetic front man Joey Tempest, who seems to have stolen Paul McCartney’s trademark thumbs up sign, which he was putting into heavy use. Another cheesy element, for sure… although it didn’t seem to matter since the kids appeared happy to receive every ounce of attention Joey gave them and just kept cheering him on. The rest of the band held back and concentrated more on the playing, but even they couldn’t resist Joey’s contagious positive energy… they could be seen breaking into smiles every once in a while too.

The guitarist, John Norum, shared a solo spot with Mic Michaeli, the keyboardist, while Joey took his jacket backstage. Later on, drummer Ian Haugland got his own solo spot, after which the band broke into the song “Cherokee,” and the audience went crazy. There was no holding them back when this song was followed by “Rock The Night,” but then at this point, the band chose to leave the stage.

Another surprise of the night was that for the encore they did not go straight to “Final Countdown,” but opened the encore with “Yesterday’s News,” and at the same time proved once and for all that they clearly were very far away from being just that. They stuck to their guns and played another new song before they played the song that started it all. The sight was somewhat unbelievable, and even Joey and John broke into huge grins when the audience went completely bananas and started jumping up and down when the famous keyboard intro of “Final Countdown” finally started. So yes, there still evidently seems to be an audience for these Swedish rockers and deservingly so.

There were so many highlights in this set that it’s hard to recount them all. One of the highlights of the show was the acoustic version of “Carrie,” during which the audience brought out their lighters and sang the chorus. Another highlight for the band, as well, seemed to be during “Yesterday’s News” when a flag of Finland was thrown on stage. Joey wore the flag on his shoulders for a while before setting it up carefully on the drum riser. Another touching moment was during Norum’s introduction when Joey introduced him as being the guitar player in Europe back when they were just sixteen and dreaming of starting a rock band, and now still being the guitar player in Europe today. Of course, too, there were the songs. If you want to see a good rock show and thoroughly enjoy yourself, why not make this the one!?


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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