Success at home for EUROPE
By: Tony Balogh            From: OKEJ - No. 4, 1989            Translated by: Louise

Now they're going to conquer the rest of Europe again!

No one in the band have seemed to get peace nor appreciation. And by this the necessary flow also disappeared. The last time the five were on stage in Sweden was in the beginning of November 1986. At that time the title track "The Final Countdown" had started its amazing victory run through the world. Like domino pieces, every country fell for the Swedish band. A lot has happened since then. They presented themselves as a live band to the European fans early in 1987, and in April the same year they started a tour in the USA and stated their success there. Wherever they went, they were greeted by an enthusiastic public.

The following album "Out of This World" would once and for all secure them a spot among the really big ones in the international rock community. Then when the second tour of Europe was presented late last year, it showed that they would start with six gigs in Sweden. A really nice, yet difficult choice. Nice of course for all the faithful Swedish fans. Difficult because now they could look forward to a time of almost unbearable expectations. And it seems to have both bothered and inspired them since they came home from the successful tour of Japan in December last year.

"It's been so long since we last played in Sweden, that we have almost forgotten what our Swedish public looks like. Maybe we have lost some, maybe we have gained some new," Joey wondered at the press conference they held for of a massive press show up a couple of hours before the premiere concert in Malmö.

"To be honest, it would have been cool to meet some fans - both before and after the concerts - to get to know their expectations. At least it would give me and the others involved a far more pleasant sleep at night," Joey said and laughed. And Joey did get to talk with the fans. After the band had celebrated Christmas and New Year's Eve with their families, they went down to Malmö for rehearsals on the new stage. Their crew had already arrived on January 3rd to start building in the big D hall of Malmömässen.
For the most hardcore EUROPE fans it didn't take long to figure out which hotel the crew were staying at and then of course which hotel the band were staying at.

A certain calmness must have struck EUROPE when they heard the reports from the ticket sales for the six concerts. Judging from those sales, it seems like the guys have not only kept, but also gotten more Swedish fans. Just look at the following numbers: Malmö (4200), Jonköping (6000), Umeå (4000), Karlskoga (4300), Gothenburg (10 300) and finally Stockholm (9800). Almost 45 000 people at six gigs is nothing other than a big step up. They got to see a very exciting concert where the light designer Anders "Q-Ian" Wallertz had succeeded in creating a harmony between the lights and the song lyrics.

In the last song "The Final Countdown" (what else?), there was even supposed to be lots of bombs and fireworks exploding. But because of the far too low roof of the ice stadium, that was cut from the show. That also happened in Umeå.

The set list was based on material from the last two albums, with songs like "Carrie", "Rock the Night", "Open Your Heart", "Just the Beginning", "Superstitious", the latest single "Let The Good Times Rock", and also older songs like "Seven Doors Hotel" and "Paradize Bay". For the concert in Gävle they had even rehearsed a small medley of Beatles songs.

But still something is wrong. Because it's not until the end of the concert that the 4200 fans in Malmö really start rocking. Maybe it's got something to do with the partially changed style of the latest album "Out of This World": From being a relatively heavy and tough rock band with light keyboard riffs, they have become a really ordinary hard rock band with clear roots back to the 70's. The audience, mostly young girls, don't really know what to think.

And it's probably here you can trace the somewhat small and tame response that the audience shows. The EUROPE guys are, as everybody probably knows, five very humble guys. Unfortunately it seems like they haven't lost this humbleness when it's time for the concert. An audience can never be expected to just like a band they see on stage automatically. In a concert a band has to win its audience and show how good they are. And it has to last during the whole concert.

Because when they believe in themselves and trust their own capacity, it leads to a feeling of security of their own music being of a certain quality and good entertainment. And that as a result of this, one can offer, in all ways, an exciting rock show. Neither the premiere gig in Malmö nor the concert the day after in Jonköping can be said to have been uplifting at all. But I believe that improvement will come along when they've given more concerts (like cutting down on the set list) so that it can be a really hot show for the rest of the European fans.

Also in the future, EUROPE won't have to experience the nerve pressure of having to prove to their homeland's own audience that they didn't just dance one summer, but that they are counting on to make people dance for a lot of summers to come. It's just a question of giving them time.

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