At The O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., February 27, 2010


A biting cold February evening with torrential rain wasn’t enough to keep the crowds away from tonight’s show at the O2 Academy. A very healthy sized crowd, including the Tyger’s Of Pan Tang’s Rob Weir, enthusiastically welcomed Diamond Head onto the stage.

Even though guitarist, Brian Tatler, remains the sole surviving original member, they performed an impressive set of classics including “Heat of the Night”, “Call Me” and “Sucking My Love” together with fine renditions of “To The Devil His Due”, from the criminally underrated Canterbury album, and more recent material such as “Mine All Mine”. Nick Tart did an admirable job replacing Sean Harris throughout and as they left the stage following a thunderous rendition of “Am I Evil”, Diamond Head received a well deserved cheer from the appreciative crowd.


EuropeMention the name “Europe” to most people and they spontaneously burst into the parping keyboard refrain to the mega hit “The Final Countdown”. Having such an era defining hit can prove to be a millstone to many bands yet Europe have been able to move forward and deliver what is arguably their finest release to date with Last Look At Eden. With a triumphant headlining slot at last summer’s UK extreme Metal festival Bloodstock under their belts, Europe are yet again riding the crest of a wave almost two decades after they first burst onto the scene.

EuropeOpening the show with the dramatic “Last Look At Eden” was a masterstroke with its brooding, grandiose riff followed immediately by “Love Is Not The Enemy”, from the excellent Secret Society album, showed that Europe were not intending on playing it safe and delivering only a greatest hits set.

Throughout the show, Europe found the perfect mix of new from the Deep Purple tinged “Gonna Get Ready”, to the classics like “Superstition”, “Sign of the Times” and “Let The Good Times Rock” even throwing in the odd vintage rarity for good measure with “Scream of Anger” from 1984’s Wings of Tomorrow album.

EuropeLead singer Joey Tempest exuded cool and charisma throughout, commanding the stage and crowd with ease and his microphone acrobatics was enough to make David Coverdale green with envy. This would have meant nothing if he couldn’t deliver vocally. There was no fear on that score as Tempest delivered a powerful, melodic performance throughout leaving many a contemporary standing in his shadow.

Europe aren’t all just about Joey Tempest. In John Norum, Europe have a bona fide guitar hero in their ranks. With the melodic tones and dextrous flourishes of Michael Schenker, Norum excels throughout and particularly on the instrumental prior to “Seventh Sign”.

EuropeRhythm section John Levin and Ian Haughland along with keyboardist Mic Michaeli are no slouches either with the likes of Glenn Hughes taking them lock, stock and barrel as his backing band during a hiatus in Europe activity.

Europe have been accused of being a little fluffy round the edges over the years and certainly in “Carrie” and “New Love In Town” they do have some fine ballads in their repertoire but this is a living, breathing Rock’n’Roll band and any doubters would be instantly silenced by the driving Rock of “The Beast” or the pumping riff of “Seventh Sign” and the grinding riff of the down tuned “Start From the Dark”

EuropeMany of their peers have been content to settle for the 80s nostalgia circuit, playing cruise ships or holiday camps but not Europe. Each of their three albums, since the classic line up returned to recording action with Start From The Dark in 2003, has shown a band relevant, evolving, and unafraid to take risks and that gives Europe a drive and energy that was so clear during their stunning performance.

EuropeOf course no Europe show would be complete without the hits. The buoyant “Cherokee segued, via snippets of “Another One Bites The Dust” and “All Right Now”, into a raucous “Rock The Night” before the inevitable “Final Countdown” had the whole floor shaking as people leapt and danced as if celebrating the New Year.

With tonight’s show Europe have set the standard for everyone else to match this year. A performance of such intense energy and musicianship combined with a superbly balanced set list has answered the critics in the best possible way as Europe confirmed their rightful position as one of Rock’s finest live acts.



  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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