Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesday Review: Europe--Live at Mohegan Sun 5/3/15

When Swedish rockers Europe dropped their new album War of Kings in March, it blew me away (you can read my review here). Ten studio albums in, and the band continues to produce fantastic music. Their sound has evolved, but in the best possible ways. They bring a heavy, melodic, mufti-layered sound that befits their thirty-plus years in the industry.

Sadly, until this past weekend, I had never seen Europe play live. I've seen almost every band they've toured with in the '80s and '90s, but never managed to see them. So when I found out they were playing a free show at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut, I jumped at the chance to see them. Man, am I glad I did. The iconic lineup of Joey Tempest (vocals), John Norum (guitar), John Leven (bass), Mic Michaeli (keyboards) and Ian Haugland (drums) offered up a great performance to end the North American leg of their world tour.

The 90-minute set consisted of a handful of songs off the new album, their biggest hits from 1986's The Final Countdown, and a good mix of tunes from their other eight studio albums. Here's the setlist:

They opened big with the title track from War of Kings, a song that I absolutely love. It was a great wake up call for those in the audience who might only have been familiar with their '80s hits. They followed that up with another song off the new album, and then gave old school fans a classic, "Rock The Night."

Form there it was a very balanced set, mixing in old, new and everything in between. Singer Joey Tempest was constantly bantering with the crowd between songs, keeping the energy up and making sure everyone was having fun.

And Joey still sounds great, but what stood out to me the most was how fantastic Mic Michaeli and Ian Haugland's backing vocals still are. Both sounded amazing, and they really drove home the choruses of Europe's biggest hits.

My favorite part of the night was when Joey opened up the floor to requests, and someone yelled out "Cherokee," which is one of my all time favorites. His response: "Cherokee? Oh, man. We haven't played that song since...last week." And then they absolutely killed it.

As you might imagine, Europe closed out the show with their most recognizable song, "The Final Countdown," and the crowd ate it up. It was a fantastic end to a fantastic performance.

I may have had to wait a couple of decades to see Europe live, but they still brought it like it was 1988. What a show.

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