It’s a warm autumn night at the concrete bunker that is the Perth Concert Hall in Perth, Western Australia. The hall itself is intended for use by the local orchestra, but has seen a string of live gigs over the years by bands like R.E.M. and more recently Glenn Hughes on his Deep Purple outing. It’s a bit like watching a concert in your local cinema, but tonight I didn’t really care because tonight was the night I crossed off the list one of the few bands that still eluded me until this very night.
As the lights faded and the intro music began, the small but highly enthusiastic audience roared their approval as the band took to the stage in silhouette and then began the first strains of “Walk The Earth.” It’s a new track, but already a classic in my books, with its Led Zeppelin influences stamped all over it.
Once the lights reveal the figures that stood in darkness, I’m in awe by how good front man Joey Tempest still looks at 54 years old. Goddamn, that son of a bitch still has the chicks swooning in his twilight years.
Next up is “The Siege“, followed by the all time Europe classic “Rock The Night,” which has everyone in attendance catapulted back to 1986 instantly, even if they are a bit grey in the hairline and slightly wobbly on their feet. Add to that, a nice snippet of AC/DC‘s “Whole Lotta Rosie“, which was always going to swoon the masses in Bon Scott‘s home town.
To be fair, there are a good range of ages in attendance tonight and it’s good to see. Next is “Scream Of Anger” and the other classic “Danger On The Track“, which again sees people reliving their hairspray years. The band rip through “Firebox” and then launch straight into “Sign Of The Times.” Next up are “Vasaston” and “Girl From Lebanon” before the final onslaught of classic Europe begins.
After a short interaction with the audience, which has been kept to minimal up to now, the band launch into “Open Your Heart”, “War Of Kings” and “Heart Of Soul” in rapid succession, followed by future classic “Days Of Rock n’ Roll“, which has the coolest bouncing riff I’ve heard in a while. Then the first set comes to an end with “Superstition.”
The show set (in two tonight) kicks off the second half with “Ready Or Not”, “Last Look At Eden”, “Hole In My Pocket” and “Seven Doors Hotel“, which is rarely played. Then it’s uber ballad time, where couples get arm in arm, as do the drunks in the audience, to belt out mega hit “Carrie.” After “Turn To Dust“, comes one of the coolest drum solos, ever witnessed by myself as drummer Ian Haugland plays along to the theme of the Lone Ranger.
Following that, we get “Stormwind”, “Prisoners In Paradise”, “G.T.O.” and the awesome “Let The Good Times Rock.” Then the band leave the stage one more time, before returning to thank the crowd for coming and promise to return soon before creating hysteria with “Cherokee” and the world’s best known rock song “The Final Countdown.” As the first strains of keyboard hit with these well known chords, the crowd went nuclear.
This show was everything I hoped it would be. The band sounded amazing, Joey‘s voice was in top form and his warm friendly nature embraced the crowd throughout. John Norum is one of the finest guitar players out there and showed it tonight. That strat he plays just sounds so good with his set up. The set list couldn’t have been any better for me personally and I’m so glad I finally got to see the band live. Thanks guys come again soon!
With thanx to Desert heart for the video.