Review: Europe/Black Star Riders

Europe

Europe - Credit: Archant

Europe perhaps unfairly stigmatised as shallow pop-rock, but the band gets the balance between the classic hits, such as Rock the Night and The Final Countdown, and their newer material just right.

Europe, Black Star Riders

UEA, Norwich

Black Star Riders – the latest incarnation of what was Thin Lizzy – could easily headline this sort of venue but tonight they play an extended supporting role.

Befitting a group that has done it all before, the setlist management is spot-on. As far as the Lizzy classics are concerned, Jailbreak is near the start of the set, The Boys Are Back in Town comes halfway through, and the last song is a rousing Whiskey in the Jar.

This is by no means just a tribute act, however, and the more recent stuff sits alongside the old gems perfectly.

Kingdom of the Lost has a superbly heavy riff while Bloodshot gives more than a nod to the Gaelic influence that was always so evident with Lizzy.

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New song Soldierstown, meanwhile, is another heavy one, with the twin guitars reminiscent of the Phil Lynott years.

All in all, it's a sterling set from a group that has all the freshness of a band enjoying things as if it's their first time round.

Europe are another outfit more famous for songs that first hit the airwaves decades ago. However, although perhaps unfairly stigmatised as shallow pop-rock, this is another band that gets the balance between the classic hits, such as Rock the Night, and their newer material just right.

Lead singer Joey Tempest's references to Delia Smith and Sale of the Century may be unoriginal, but it does at least indicate that the Swede has done a little bit of homework about his audience rather than simply doing it all on autopilot.

Recent releases Bag of Bones and War of Kings have been well received by the critics, and songs from both these albums do far more than just pad the set out.

Playing air guitar or singing into a hairbrush is perhaps the usual way that teenage wannabe rock stars try to emulate their heroes. Fantasising about playing keyboards is less common – but if it were, The Final Countdown would surely be up there as a dream song to play.

Right on cue, it's the song that brings the night to a triumphant close, with one of the most famous 'riffs' of all time leading to a singalong frenzy.

All in all, it's a treat to see two great bands on top of their game and showing that the oldies can still be the goodies.

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