Line Up: Europe / Black Star Riders / Tax The Heat
Co-headline tours are becoming more common in rock circles. They work well. Half the cost for the artists, double the fan base and twice the value for the fans...all in the name of good music. Despite the advantages, a double header from Europe and Black Star Riders seemed strange on paper. Two bands with two very different backgrounds. Tour reports had been good though and both bands have excellent new albums to promote. Ticket bought.
First up was an energetic eight song set from Tax The Heat who impressed with a catchy set and trendy haircuts. No such haircuts on show for the rest of the evening (on stage or in the crowd) but plenty of good rock music in its place.
I have huge respect for the Black Star Riders. A group who didn't want to trade on the Lizzy name and instead have recorded new material under the BSR moniker. There is a good balance in their set between songs from their first and second albums as well as the Lizzy classics. Jailbreak, Boys Are Back In Town and, the sublime last song, Whiskey In The Jar are of course highlights however songs such as Bound for Glory and Finest Hour fit in well alongside.
It's twenty four years since I saw first saw Ricky Warwick as lead singer with the Almighty. He always sings with passion and he needs to here to make himself heard over the wall of noise led by the guitars of Damon Johnson and the legendary Scott Gorham. Excellent set from an excellent band.
Europe are a group that were never on my radar in the '80s. I loved Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Poison and more but I always thought of the Swedish band as a one hit wonder. Since they got back together in the early 2000's though they have produced some quality rock albums...unfortunately it has taken me until this year to actually listen to any of them. Their brand new long player War Of Kings may sound like Whitesnake but that is no bad thing at all. It is a top class rock album from a group who proved here that they are a top class live group. The set list is a well balanced mix of old and new, sung by a very good front man in Tempest who knows all the rock star moves, but then you should expect nothing else from a group together 30+ years. As good as it was hearing Rock The Night, Carrie and Superstitious the more guitar heavy latter day songs impress equally as well. Praise You, Second Day and the new album title track are particular stand outs.
As good as the newer material may be there was only one way to finish and The Final Countdown was no let down. No matter how many times I have heard that song I have never stopped singing along. Tonight was the first time seeing it live and I went home a happy rock and roll fan.
Ticket: March 20th 2015
Ticket Price: £28.50