Stockholm, it has been a really interesting trip for me, full of surprises, emotions, good times and some "reality check". My expectations regarding what I was going to see at the anniversary concerts have been improved, it seems to me that the band has taken very good care of the production of the staging as a band, about the image that they want to project, something that nothing has to do with the music but that is also important for a band of this level. The two giant screens give emotion I have loved. And about the music, I returned to find Joey in a state of outstanding form that goes beyond that his physical is in form is his attitude, always gives everything, always shows to be happy on stage and that is so important. He has the ability to infect good roll, he is awesome. I die with John Norum playing VASASTAN, ... and I die with the whole TFC, ... the songs like HEART OF STONE, NINJA make me feel in the past when I listened to for the first time that álbum, all the emotions, ... and sounds to me really good, I don't know if the band has rehearsed a lot or a little but it was really great.
And my favourite moment, the precious LOVE CHASER with the second Mic voice ... I die again ... OMG ! What a wonderful moment, I would like that in the next albums Mic sing more.
Happy for the meeting with the people of the forum, it was a very beautiful moment to me ... I was able to greet Tone Norum through the streets of Stockholm, and then also in the concert I saw her in the family area very close to where I sit, but there I did not say anything anymore, it was not the moment. And I could to say hello Ian before the concert and taken a photo with him (the photo of my profile). And the icing on the cake was going with Joey from Stockholm to London on the same plane. The people on the plane did not know that they all are traveling with the best rock frontman of the moment, a shame for them
I have many photos, that I'll upload in the next days, at least some of them ...
"The final countdown anniversary show in Stockholm - The actual review pt.1
The venue “Cirkus på Kungliga Djurgården” is a beautiful theatre that can host a crowd of 1700 people. Europe’s show had been sold out for a month before the concert, so 1700 excited people were gathering excitedly in front of the stage or in the seats at the surrounding gallery. I was one of the 20 or so people that had a number on the back of their hands due to excessive queuing since early that morning, and were walking calmly into the venue to get to the front row. I was joined by my norwegian friend Atle, who placed himself behind me, and would keep me safe from the potential mosh pit. I was standing Norum-side (that is right side of the stage to those who don’t know Europe very well), almost directly in front of this eminent guitar player.
Up in the vaulted circular ceiling above, there was a spectacular chandelier (or so it said in the swedish review I’ve read) used for the production of Phantom of the Opera that was also running in this theatre. Not tonight though; tonight was a premiére night for a concert special that has been planned for over a year.
Back in 1998/1999, as the internet came into people’s everyday lives; through a mix-tape, Europe came into mine. Through signing the guestbook of an online Europe fan page, I got in touch with Stein-Vidar, the webmaster of said fan page. As we were both from Norway - nearly 2000 km from each other, but still - we got talking. Stein, as a devote collector for many years, owned a lot of Europe stuff. Like music videos, live shows etc. Lucky as I had been to find this friend, I felt even luckier when he sent me two whole VHS tapes filled with Europe. So then I got to see the band as well as listen to them; music videos; the Hammersmith show from ‘87; the Viña del Mar show from 1990 and so on and so forth. And so, through Europe, I became a fan of the 80s. I have now watched the shows countless times, and through the ages, I can say that I have always dreamed of being at one of their concerts from the 80s. So naturally, I was very eager to know how they were gonna take us back to the year it all began...
The stage wasn’t the biggest one, but it had room for all of our guys; the walls on the back of the stage had two big screens, one on each side. There were no other on-stage decorations; normally Europe has decorations from the album they’re touring for. However; in the upper left and right corners “outside” the stage, there were some theatre decór; a sort of figurehead used on a ship (read; naked woman with curves), and a winged, bare-cheasted man beside her. It was all very theathrical, and didn’t really give the vibe of a sold-out ice-hockey stadium from 1986. But standing here, knowing that Europe filmed the music video for their “Prisoners in Paradise”-single “I’ll cry for you” on these very premises, certainly gave me a feeling of experiencing some ancient Europe history, both from 1991 and 2016.
After 29 gigs, I have seen some very good support bands, some less worthwhile, and some forgettable ones. Warming up for Europe tonight was ‘Tax the heat’. They were really great, and I couldn’t help but dance, smile and shake, but that is all I’m going to say about them, ‘cause Europe deserve undivided attention for this particular show.
The time was nearly 9, the stage was set up for our kings, and something was happening on the screens: Text announced that this night, Europe would take us back to where it all began, to experience the emotions and the songs. “... But first .... Only for you ... The whole experience of War of Kings” I remember being shocked. Neither in a positive nor in a negative way, just shocked. Truth be told; it was a bit anticlimactic; the way Europe had done it. By building up hopes and building up emotions, and *bam*, suddenly slamming this new information in our faces. I could already feel tension within at those two first words “...But first...” I had of course known before the concert that Europe had some surprises for us; they had promised to play some never-played songs from their recent albums ... But it wasn’t albumS. It was one album.... The setlist was already there: First “War of Kings”, THEN the full “Final Countdown”. After the intial shock settled, my mind got to work. “I’m gonna hear ‘Angels with broken hearts’! And... oh... ‘Light it up’....” So, my confusion and, let’s face it, a little sense of betrayal, had to make way for a growing sense of excitement and joy! Two whole albums live! Wow!
And “wow” it was. From the first song, an album track I really enjoyed from the first time I heard it; “Hole in my pocket” took it away. It became apparent at the very first notes that the screens had not been there for simple announcement; they were now showing a city from a helicopters point of view. The next song was “Second Day”, and the lights on the stage just worked so brilliantly with the images shown up on the screens.
I think I wasn’t the only one marvelling at how this was an entirely new Europe concert experience. I had maybe half a minute here and there where I forgot to pay attention to the musicians on the stage, because I was following the brilliant screenplay and the fantastic lights. “Praise you” (fantastic imagery on the screens) and “Nothing to ya” (brilliant livesong!) then followed; both of which I have heard live before.
Then there was a keyboard intermezzo. A nice solo from our man on the keyboard, Mic. It wasn’t long however, before the intro melted into the first never-before-played song “California 405”. It was as good hearing it live as I imagined back in the spring of 2015! The vibe of the song is so chill, it makes you want to grove.
The band members onstage this night was hard at work, presenting to the audience song they had never before performed live. They spent nearly all their energy and stage presence on playing the songs correctly, following each other through the verses, bridges and choruses. There wasn’t much energy left to simply let go and flirt with the audience. And I simply loved them even more for it. These guys are so serious about their work! Still, even though they spent a lot of energy trying (and pretty much succeeding) to get it perfect, they managed to look towards the crowd now and then.
When “Angels with broken hearts” came, I stood mesmerized, just enjoying the mellow men onstage performing the song ever so soulfully. I know this song like the back of my own hand, so I noticed some less-than-perfect passages in the beginning, but they all came back to perfection in the next verse, so I was over the moon. Again, the screens were complementing the stage performance very nicely.
What they did during “Days of Rock’n’Roll” was the first of many tributes to their fans. They were performing the song onstage, while the screens showed the music video of that song; filmed in Manchester and Wolverhampton during their War of Kings UK-tour in March 2015. I could just imagine the joy of those in tonight’s crowd who had been there on those shows. It was fun seeing them up on the screens, knowing they were somewhere in the front row this night as well! I was also paying close attention while John Norum performed his guitar solo perfectly, in perfect sync with his music video self. Absolutely iron-clad genious!
I had not thought that this show would give me new favourite songs; certainly not from “War of Kings”! But that’s exactly what happened when Mic introduced the next song. I go to a different, happier place whenever he starts flirting with those oriental scales; the minor fall; the major lift. I almost expected No Stone Unturned. The same materials are used in that song. But no, this was proving to be "Children of the mind". With fantastic lights as always, this was yet an out-of-this-worldly music experience like “Angels” had been.
John Norum took very good care of my “happy place”-feeling when he took it all the way down on “Vasastan”. He never ceases to amaze me; the way he can stand in front of a sold-out crowd of 2000 or 5000 people, and caress his strings so tenderly that his notes hits each heartstring soft and contently. My only wish is that he stops using this particular song to beckon the audience for the roaring approval that we so willingly give.
When the next song came, I was sure it was another song that I had heard them play live many times before. It took me quite a while to realise the reason this song was so familiar to me, is because I had played it so many times at home. So my joy of hearing “Light it up” came a little slower than the other people in the crowd; I was too busy having a really good time. After the first full verse and chorus, I started getting psyched to hear the bridge. It’s the bridge of all bridges; when Mic reigns for a couple of bars with a little input from Norum, before Norum delves into his solo. Those few bars, with Mic on the keys and Ian beating the rhythm; that is a proper build-up to ecstacy! It is as musically sexy as it gets! However; John was a little premature in his solo in Stockholm, and Joey took some of the magic away by choosing that time to announce “Go Johnnie!”. Luckily, I got to experience the show in London as well, a few and here is a little video from that magic happening:
Anyway; back to the Cirkus: They rounded of the “War of Kings” set with the majestic title track; the screens once again showing the accompanying music video. The crowd was happy, the band was happy, and then it was all set for the second act; “The final countdown”.
To be continued. I normally don’t spend so much time doing reviews... but this was a once in a lifetime experience, and I want to do it justice
Last Edit: Nov 23, 2016 12:29:32 GMT 2 by Tone Irene