It seems to be a case of quality, not quantity, in regards to the crowd who have turned out to see Swedish metal band Europe. Although not very impressive in number, the fans certainly look the part, and walking into Bournemouth’s O2 Academy is like travelling back to the 80’s - and there isn’t a flux capacitor in sight.
Support act Diamond Head provide an impressive opening to the show, proving just why metal Gods Metallica count them as one of their influences. The band, who supported the likes of Iron Maiden and AC/DC back in the day, play to arena standard with their Bon Jovi-esque glam metal. Front man Nick Tart, is definitely a housewives favourite. Kitted out in his tight t-shirt and jeans he manages to get the small percentage of females in the audience moving with an erotically-charged cover of Fever. He has the Steve Tyler strut down to a fine art and, despite his slightly cringe-worthy ‘dad-at-a-wedding’ air guitar, manages to leave the crowd chanting for more. It’s hard to see why this band hasn’t been more successful.
Europe’s set also showcases some of that good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll with tracks from their surprisingly extensive back-catalogue. Considered by many to be a ‘one-hit wonder’, the band has in fact released eight studio albums, with the most recent - Last Look At Eden - hitting the shops in September last year. The band are clearly very experienced and put on a polished performance, enjoying every minute of their return to the spotlight. Lead singer, Joey Tempest’s enthusiasm appears to rub off on the audience, sparking mass swaying and a sing-a-long to classic power ballad ‘Carrie’. But of course, it is that iconic synth intro that the majority of the crowd have been waiting for. The huge international success of The Final Countdown has been both a blessing and a curse for the band, but they appear to appreciate its reception in the encore all the same.
Unfortunately Europe’s retro 80’s sound only seems to appeal to a niche market and their failure to attract younger fans means that the band is unlikely to relive their past success. But if some classic, and slightly cheesy, metal is what you’re after, then this is the show for you.