“Live From The Dark” by Europe

Artist: Europe
Title: “Live From The Dark”
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release Date: 2/21/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

I admit that when I covered the Europe appearance in New York last year that I was not sure what to expect. It was a band that I knew of mainly based on the radio hits and constant video on the once music rich MTV. I arrived to a capacity filled venue and experienced an evening of kick ass Rock and Roll that night and it made me smile when I read that the band would be releasing a live DVD based on this tour. To many people of the world Europe was considered “Hair Metal” and with their signature track “Final Countdown” the band found a comfortable home on radio, in video and at large sporting events. 2005 would mark the first time the band had toured since 1992 and not only did this serve as a reunion tour but it would also provide support for the surprisingly effective album “Start From The Dark”. The album featured a Europe that would take the dismissive listener totally off guard with its rich hooks and powerful vocal numbers. If you expected a milquetoast, keyboard laden CD full of sappy music you would be wrong and cheating yourself by passing on it. Instead the album rocks solid from top to bottom. The DVD was filmed on the final night of the bands tour at a sold-out Hammersmith Apollo Theatre and features a great number of their classics as well as a nice amount of tracks from the new album. The band is in great shape and while it’s a straight concert shoot with limited special effects I think most fans of the band would enjoy it. As someone who caught this reunion show I was especially impressed and reminded of how good it actually was to see them. Joey Tempest does not seem to have aged much since I last remembered seeing his videos and guitarist John Norum (recently returning from a stint in Dokken) proves that he is one of the better players in Rock and Roll. Mic Michaeli performs his magic on keyboards and when he begins the signature track as a closer it’s a response from the audience that most bands only hope to receive. Ian Haugland and Jon Leven keep the rhythm section in check but showcase the level of talent they possess as well. My favorite tracks fall to the hits that I know from years ago to the new material on the highly recommended “Start From The Dark” CD that is reviewed elsewhere on the site. Overall I found little disappointment if any. Highlights are the opener as it brings you right into the concert head on, the acoustic version of “Carrie” sung by Joey and the few thousand audience members and of course the resounding “Final Countdown”.

Released as two DVD’s in the package, the second one is absolutely loaded with features. The first is a fine documentary from the “Start From The Dark” tour that takes you right up to the band hitting the stage for the concert segment. It shows the band meeting fans and giving some insight to the overall reunion and was quite effective. There are onstage interviews and discussions about the equipment as well as “Taxi cab Interviews” as the group travels about. Bonus videos include “Got To Have Faith” and “Hero” and bonus audio tracks include “Spirit Of The Underdog” and “Heart Of Stone”. No booklet is included, but the amount of features and clips surely make up for this. Some folks have been complaining about the visual quality of the release and I did not agree with them on this. It is shot during a live show and there are numerous lighting changes that don’t always give you a crystal clear image. What matters most is you see the show and are able to feel as if you partook in it as well. The music is top-notch and the bonus features interesting. Special editions of this release include the “Start From The Dark” CD which makes this a worthy purchase if you like the band and have not grabbed the CD as yet.

This is a highly recommended release that I think fans of the band from the old school days will enjoy and also those that are still following bands like Aerosmith, Dokken and Bon Jovi. Taking this and the latest CD Europe has proven that “The Final Countdown” is still very far away for them as a band.

Track Listing:
1. Got To Have Faith
2. Ready Or Not
3. Superstitious
4. America
5. Wings Of Tomorrow
6. Let The Good Times Rock
7. Animal Crossing
8. Seven Doors Hotel
9. Hero
10. Wake Up Call
11. Sign Of The Times
12. Milano
13. Girl From Lebanon
14. Carrie
15. Flames
16. Yesterdays News
17. Rock The Night
18. Start From The Dark
19. Cherokee
20. Final Countdown

Official Website: www.EuropeTheBand.com

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