|Le Baron Boys at Whisky A Go Go|
By: Anders Tengner
From: OKEJ - No.
24, 1989 Translated
The fact that EUROPE surprised everyone by doing a gig at the club The Whiskey in Hollywood, does not mean they are on a downward trend. Not at all, because the new songs are large-calibred. People who thought EUROPE is going down should think again!
I arrived at the rock club The Whisky on Sunset Boulevard on a warm September evening, less than twenty minutes before the gig. Twenty minutes, just about enough time to buy a beer in the bar, before those familiar faces enter the small stage. I sighed of relief. I made it! I went from a bleak Stockholm via New York to the metropolis Hollywood, to see EUROPE surprise the "local Mafia" at one of the more famous clubs. After traveling for almost twenty-four hours, I even had time to buy a ice-cold beer. Good timing, if I may say it myself. The sign outside says that Le Baron Boys are playing tonight, so the club is not sold-out. Who the heck rushes to buy a ticket to see them? Who are they anyway? The don't exist. It's just a name that EUROPE made up with short notice. First they went under their real name, until someone pointed out that it was very inappropriate for a band to play in the USA without a work permit. So they changed. Le Baron is the type of Chrysler cars that the band is cruising around in on their month-long stay in Hollywood.
So The Whiskey is not jam-packed but still crowded. The club audience here is loyal - and maybe a few people know that EUROPE is the band hiding behind that obscure name. I run into several Swedes on my way towards the stage. The first chord of "Ready Or Not" fills up the club and it is obvious that EUROPE is in top form.
"We have been here for several weeks now," John Levén says after the gig, "(We have) written songs and rehearsed. Then you are longing to get out and play. We acquired taste after Milton Keynes. This is just a fun thing though, we don't even use our own equipment." That becomes obvious after only a few minutes. Then the sound system cracks and it becomes silent. The singing disappears, the drums are slamming acoustically, and the instruments are only heard from their respective speakers. But EUROPE go on. After about a minute the sound is back, only to disappear again a few times. "It was my bass drum that was too loud," Ian laughs after the gig. "The P.A. couldn't take it!"
Apart from this blunder, which was out of EUROPE's control, it sounds good. Since I've heard the new songs before, at Milton Keynes, it feels exciting to make acquaintance with "Yesterday's News", "Seventh Sign", "Wild Child" and "Give A Little Bit Of Loving" again. They make a quartet of full-grown and well thought out songs, that will be very interesting to hear on the album. It's been long since EUROPE had the opportunity to try out new songs in front of an audience they recorded them. I would be surprised if one of them is excluded on the album.
"We have found the formula now," Joey thinks, "Today we have 8-9 songs finished, that the whole band have written. Now I will contribute with a few of my own songs. I think it can be really good. It feels good so far."
Right between well-known songs, like "Cherokee" and "Let the Good Times Rock", another new track is introduced. Perhaps the best of them all. It's called "Bad Blood" and with a little luck you have probably seen a sample of it on the TV show "Sputnik" that visited EUROPE during rehearsals in Los Angeles. The new songs are received surprisingly well by the audience that haven't had the chance to hear them before. The audience at The Whisky are usually regular visitors who have their own bands, or in another way are in the music business. There are, however, exceptions. The porn actor Ron Jeremy is passing by, and later comes down to the dressing-room to say "hi" to the guys. Ron enjoys seeing concerts when he's not "acting".
"He invited us to a shooting," Kee laughs, "We could have watched when..."
They never went there. The fact is that they did not have time to do so much more, before it was time for Ian to catch the next flight to Stockholm. Reason: Simon Haugland. Ian had become a father! But first they finished the gig at The Whisky in a grand way, with "The Final Countdown", which sounded very different without the characteristic keyboard fanfares. The speakers had cracked again, but not many seemed to care. The talk of the town the following week spoke about the EUROPE gig as a "killer". It's a good sign, isn't it?