After having a 40 year long tenure as one of the worlds most esteemed rock acts, it was truly a memorable occasion witnessing the raw intensity of Europe whilst they performed their first ever Melbourne show.
The ‘Walk The Earth’ tour wasn’t what fans have come to expect from bands who have had a career as long as Europe. This wasn’t a half-hearted ‘best of’ set where the band shy away from hit songs because the vocalist can’t hit the high notes any more. Instead, this was Europe in their entirety, playing with sheer intensity as if the songs on their set list had just been released a week ago.
Opening with 2017’s visceral ‘Walk The Earth’ before going straight into ‘The Siege,’ Europe showed fans immediately that their new songs are just as deserving of praise as their older classics. Having no support act and instead performing two sets as a band, gave fans the chance to really enjoy what was happening in front of them, leaving the audience in awe, it was surprising to not hear at least one drunk punter yelling out in between songs for the band to play ‘the Final Countdown,’ instead, fans seemed happy to let the band do their thing and show the audience why they are deserving of being a top tier stadium rock act.
Quickly moving on to ‘Rock The Night’ which marked the first classic song of the set, fans where ecstatic, cheering and singing in a frenzy it was really made evident how much this band meant to some of the older fans.
During the intermission it seemed apparent that everyone was absolutely gobsmacked at just how much Europe rocked as a live act, a common conversational point that seemed to only enhance the hype for what was to come in the second set of the night.
Coming back on stage with ‘Ready Or Not,’ a hit single of 1988’s ‘Out Of This World,’ Europe played with the intensity as if they had never stopped for a break. With Joey Tempest commanding the crowds attention with his impressive mic-stand twirls and impeccable vocal range it appeared that punters where mesmerised.
Songs such as ‘Carrie’ proved the be a huge ‘sing-along’ favourite while the riff and synth combo from ‘Stormwind’ packed the punch that the 80’s powerhouse has built their craft off.
Returning for an encore, the band blasts into ‘Cherokee,’ which leaves every crowd members head banging in unison to the hard-hitting riff. By the time ‘Cherokee’ finishes both the energy from the crowd and the band couldn’t be beaten, the Palais was no longer a live music theatre but instead a stomping ground of punters who have waited 40 years for this night to come and now that it’s here their mindset couldn’t be broken. And then the opening synth of ‘The Final Countdown’ comes in… It was like a bomb went off, middle age punters began loosing their minds, running away from their wives so that they could dance freely, skulling drinks, singing along to the synth line as if it was a soccer chant, it was truly a unique live music experience. By the time the chorus set in and the crowd got the chance to sing back the words ‘IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOOOOOWNNNN’ there wasn’t a single person in the crowd left unsatisfied.
All in all Europe played two impeccable sets and solidified yet again why they are such a damn good band. Hopefully we don’t have to wait another 40 years for them to grace the shores of Australia again.
Where: Palais Theatre, Melbourne
When: May 19
Reviewed by Alex Callan
Photo by Gilles Simon