at The Utilita Arena, Newcastle, U.K., May 14, 2022

EUROPE (Live at The Utilita Arena, Newcastle, U.K., May 14, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

While half the country was at home urging on UK’s Eurovision entry to their best finish in years, the only Europe of concern to those in the Utilita Arena was a welcome return to the region by the Joey Tempest fronted band.

Opening a three-band bill featuring Whitesnake and Foreigner, at an alarmingly early hour was always a tough call but Europe are seasoned veterans and used their relatively short time on stage to devastating effect opening with “Walk The Earth” from their latest album. Kicking off a set with a new song could be the death knell to many bands but such is the quality oozing out of their post-Millennium reformation material, it leaves the ever-growing crowd stunned, showing there’s far more to Europe than THAT song.

Following with a big hitter,” Rock The Night” brought a touch of the familiar to the set while a barnstorming “Scream Of Anger” from 1984’s Wings Of Tomorrow showed Europe can Rock as hard as anyone.

“Carrie” had the crowd screaming in delight before “Days Of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Cherokee” mixed the new with the old.

Blessed with the same line-up that created many of these songs back in the ’80s, Europe were a revelation. Joey Tempest, the ever-youthful frontman, was in fine voice, oozing charisma while guitarist John Norum showed some serious class as a stomping “Superstition” and “The Final Countdown” brought the house down. Europe set the bar seriously high.

Foreigner have a catalogue of songs that are both a blessing and a curse. There’s so many songs that they simply have to play that they rarely get the opportunity to drop in any rarities for their long-standing fans and tonight, they played it pretty safe.

Who could complain though, with a set that included some serious bangers such as “Double Vision”, “Head Games” and “Feels Like The First Time”?

Although, for the main set, there wasn’t a single original member of Foreigner on stage but when lead singer Kelly Hansen has such a golden voice and a command of the stage and former Dokken and Dio bassist Jeff Pilson adding some thump to the lower end, such technicalities are easily forgotten.

The extended keyboard and drum solos disrupted the flow of the set somewhat in a set already tight for time but “Urgent” and “Juke Box Hero” soon got everything back on track in spectacular fashion.

With original guitarist and songwriter, Mick Jones, welcomed onto the stage for the encores, receiving one of the biggest cheers of the night, it was left to the Number One smash “I Want To Know What Love Is” and the rambunctious Rocker “Hot Blooded” to close a crowd-pleasing set.

David Coverdale has had an astonishing career. Plucked out of obscurity from a Redcar boutique by Deep Purple to replace Ian Gillan back in 1974, he has never looked back, becoming one of the great icons of Hard Rock in the process.

With a career nearing half a century, Coverdale has decided to call it a day with this tour being his send-off to life on the road.

With the Utilita Arena packed to bid their local hero a fond farewell, Coverdale came out all guns blazing with his latest incarnation of Whitesnake.

“Bad Boys”, “Slide It In” and “Love Ain’t No Stranger” came in rapid fire fashion with Coverdale giving his microphone stand some serious abuse. Guitarists Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach fired the riffs while new bassist Tanya O’Callaghan dazzled alongside her bandmates locking down the rhythm with veteran sticksman Tommy Aldridge, still an absolute powerhouse at 71 years old.

Coverdale’s vocals may not be what they were in his prime and at times he relied on the help of his band, including prodigy Dino Jelusick, who occasionally doubled up on Coverdale’s parts and the crowd frequently joined in to help out. Despite his vocal issues, Coverdale has earned the right for one last tour to say farewell. He remains a supreme frontman and one of the great showman, frequently jesting with the crowd.

Singing in a lower register seems to suit him more these days and “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” brought back memories of old, singing with the help of the legendary Whitesnake Choir.

The big hits “Fool For Your Lovin’” and “Here I Go Again” brought huge cheers from the crowd and “Is This Love” lit up the Arena like a Christmas tree.

The epic “Crying In The Rain” was monstrously heavy while “Still Of The Night’s” riffs rocked the Arena to the ground leaving a surprise romp through Deep Purple’s “Burn” to bring Coverdale’s career full circle in the best possible way. What a farewell from one of Rock’s great frontmen.

Review and Europe Photos by Mick Burgess [No Whitesnake or Foreigner photos I’m afraid]


  • 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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