EUROPE are ready for the countdown

By: Dan Panas            From: Aftonbladet - December 30, 1999            Translated by: Louise

After the first rehearsal: You can feel that there is something magical in the band.

First there was the tax problems. Later they were hit by a hard, well-aimed Krook. But EUROPE are not down within the first countdown. "It feels fantastic to play together again," Joey Tempest says.

If their most well known song had kept its original title - "The Final Breakdown" - this article would never have been written.
But now you're reading it. It's been 13 years since EUROPE's original lineup was on stage. Then the place was Munich, Germany. This New Year's Eve it's time again.

The hard rock stars have to make sure that a big crowd gets to count down the last couple of minutes of the millennium to the sounds of the mega hit "The Final Countdown" in Gamla Stan, Stockholm. This Monday it was time for the first attempt in the rehearsal room. An almost shocking flawless story.

Childhood friends
"It worked out so great, like putting on an old shoe. It clicked right away and it sounded terrific," guitarist John Norum says.

Joey Tempest: "Yes, it was unbelievably good. Afterwards we felt that it hadn't been difficult at all. There is something magical in this band, a chemistry which rises when we start playing together."

Aftonbladet meets some really cheery guys. Just like old childhood friends from Upplands Väsby can get when they meet again. And also, they have just been told that EUROPE's last album, "Prisoners in Paradise", finally has sold to platinum. The nostalgic look back in time is almost touching. The memories come bubbling up in Jacuzzi-pace.

Like the story of the German athlete who broke a world record to the sounds of "The Final Countdown" and sent a telegram to thank EUROPE.

Or the one about when the band was on stage in front of 25 000 Chinese people, they were suddenly hit by a power failure and the crowd went wild over the amazing special effect.

Conflict with Norum
But there are also less pleasant memories. EUROPE are today all together bothered by a tax debt of more than 20 million Swedish Kronor (2 500 000 US Dollars). "Enough has been said about that. Good stuff happens and bad stuff happens, it's the curse, but also the blessing, of the development. But now the music is the most important thing," Joey says.

Another old skeleton in the closet is the conflict with the guitarist John Norum, who left the band in 1986. A storm which now is only a light breeze. "When you are young, you easily blow things out of proportion so that they seem worse than they are," John Norum says today.

Joey Tempest: "A love-hate relationship between the singer and the guitarist is normal. That's the way it is. John has drive and a big ego. It is the charm of great guitarists."

21 millions?
It sounds like the reunion could be permanent?

"This is a one off event. But maybe we'll play for the next millennium change too," Joey says and laughs.

Is it true that you're being paid 21 million Kronor
(2 700 000 US Dollars) for the New Year's Eve concert?

"No. The negotiations aren't actually finished yet."

How does it feel when the concert was moved to an earlier time to not disturb Margaretha Krook at Skansen?

"That isn't something we think about. We believe that things are going to work out about the time."

Are you going to party after the concert?

"Yes, now we know that we can still play together, the question is whether we still can party together (laughs)."

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