As an autumnal breeze gallops it’s way down Digbeth High Street the queues form outside the Birmingham Institute and the sun dips below the city’s skyline. Winter is coming! But it’s not here yet!
Despite the full on coverage in the press, there is no talk of Brexit this evening. Everyone in this queue is here for one thing only, EUROPE! We’re talking of the band, obviously, not the union of 27 countries. Europe have had a long and storied musical career from the highs of 1986’s Final Countdown through decades of hard rocking musical excellence. Joey Tempest and his brethren bring the Tour The Earth jaunt to Birmingham with King King in tow.
Scottish warriors King King are the only support act of the evening, and are making waves round the country at the moment. The blues fuelled rockers fronted by the giant of a kilted Scotsman in Alan Nimmo enter stage to an AC/DC intro. As much as Nimmo cuts the figure of the mighty clansman, the band deliver rock with a soft touch, focused on the blues riff rather than raucous vocals. Heart warming rock anthems with a hint of Fleetwood Mac’s expansive style and delivered with a subtle energy that hooks and reels you in.
Headliners Europe should need no introduction, on top of the chart topping 80’s hit I mentioned earlier the Swedes will celebrate 40 years of music next year and show no signs of slowing down.
As the lights dim on the wonderful Institute auditorium, a tribal, almost Celtic beat rings out; from the shadows Joey Tempest appears. Walk The Earth, the title track from the band’s latest album opens the show, to the delight of many a fan. However, its Rock The Night, the age old classic, that gets the fans moving. Mid song the band break into a medley of Black Sabbath numbers an ode to the local heroes and founding fathers of the heavy metal genre.
Despite a thirteen-year hiatus in the middle of their career the band have a vast back catalogue to select from throughout the evening, from 1986’s Carrie to 2015’s War of the Kings the songs meld together perfectly, lead by the exceptional voice of Tempest.
John Norum’s exquisite riffing through Nothin to Ya leads us into Ian Haugland’s drum solo, both delivering technically perfect performances throughout the evening. As the set draws on the 80’s come into focus through Superstitious and fan favourite Cherokee. Alas we mustn’t forget there is really one song everyone is waiting for and when the opening notes of Final Countdown ring out the roof is blown off the arena.
Whether you are a fan of their music or not, one thing is for sure, Europe never fail to disappoint and this tour shows the band are going from strength to strength as they prepare to enter their forth decade on the scene.