Europe and King King at Academy 1: Live Review
Having seen the gig of the year precisely a week ago (HYOM), it clouded my judgement for another gig I attended in the middle of last week. Consequently there is a certain trepidation as I approach this show; will a night of 80’s style classic and blues rock shake me out of my malaise?
I’ve seen King King several times before so I know they can put on an outstanding show. It is obvious they have some fans in the audience too and there is a good crowd already in attendance for them but opening tonight they have a lot to prove to potentially new punters. And with that kilt bound Alan Nimmo and his band hit the stage firing straight into (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’. They are doing good from the off with their quality classic blues rock which they deliver over the next 50 minutes. The band are clearly enjoying themselves, slowing things down for A Long History Of Love and You Stopped The Rain as well as getting some audience participation. There is a welcome return to their first album for Lose Control before closing out with the excellent Free influenced Stranger To Love.
The years spent in small venues have allowed the band to develop their stage craft and tonight they have shown how well they can come across in a larger hall, it bodes well for the future. It is also great to see an opening band treated well, getting decent lighting and given a long set too.
It would be easy to be dismissive of Europe; to the man in the street they are one-hit wonder Eurovision Song Contest winners that your uncle air-guitars to whilst drunk on New Years Eve. But they had already been going for six years and released two albums before that fateful song was unleashed to the world.
Having reformed 15 years ago they have gone on to re-establish and re-invent themselves as a more serious rock band. And with six solid albums released since this re-emergence, their cans of hairspray have been left behind at the back end of the 80’s along with their piles of spandex.
Opening with a new song doesn’t always work for bands but Europe are out to deliver a sucker punch of a gig and choose to start with Walk The Earth – it is inspired and it works – before the band hit familiar territory with the crowd engaging Rock The Night. Singer Joey Tempest looks cool, calm and in control. With the mic stand twirling moves of David Coverdale and his voice in fine form, the band launch into the anthemic Last Look At Eden which is as powerful as it is impressive.
With 11 albums to choose material from we get a great spread of songs such as Sign Of The Times, solid rockers like Turn To Dust and the fast paced GTO. Predictably the arms are up and waving to Carrie which has the crowd singing along before returning to the quick fire Rags To Riches.
We also get a drum solo… why? It is so 1980’s and so unnecessary and even though it is only a few minutes of our lives spent suffering it, it is still waaaaaay too long. Fortunately we are relieved when they return to their pre-hit days with the appropriately titled Scream Of Anger.
The audience barely deserve an encore, they certainly aren’t calling for one knowing that it is inevitable. And when the band dutifully return, they certainly couldn’t get away with not playing THAT song and they do play THAT song. Yep, The Final Countdown has the crowd going bananas along with those drunk uncles playing their air guitars.