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iTunes Festival (FOREIGNER/EUROPE)
The Roundhouse, London 25 July 2010

Europe, photo by Denis O'Regan
Photo: © Denis O'Regan

Having a good friend who won a pair of tickets to this gig it was too good a line-up to miss, even if the High Voltage festival was on at the same time.

Never been inside the Roundhouse before, but what a lovely venue and very good acoustics. The audience was very young, almost like the cast of 'Glee' had turned up to see two elder statesmen of rock.

There were a few rock t-shirts dotted around the crowd but I'd have to say the two bands were taking on an audience that would only know their hits at best.

Europe kept with their heavy setlist which they have been touring now for over a year. So you get 'Last Look At Eden', 'Gonna Get Ready' and 'Love Is Not The Enemy' making for a very heavy start.

'Superstitious' was the first older song out of the blocks but the crowd only really came alive when 'Rock The Night' was played as it was one of the songs the young 'uns must have known.

Europe, photo by Denis O'Regan
Photo: © Denis O'Regan

Vocalist Joey Tempest added in a brief snatch of Sabbath's 'Heaven And Hell' as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio (he was name checked as well by Mick Jones as current Foreigner bassist Jeff Pilson was a member of Dio), nice gesture by the band.

'New Love In Town' allowed a short breather in the set before 'The Beast' and yes that song, 'The Final Countdown' closed their set after just fifty minutes.

The crowd went wild at 'The Final Countdown' as you'd expect and considering most of the audience didn't know much of their set Europe still did the business. They could have dropped the mid set sing-a-long/instrumental break to get another song in. Their 80's hit 'Carrie' would have gone down well with the audience I am sure. They are back in the UK in February so go see them then.

Foreigner, photo by Noel Buckley

Foreigner have undergone a couple of line-up changes since I last saw them in 2007 with Jason Sutter (ex-Smash Mouth) joining on drums and Michael Bluestein occupying the keyboards stool.

What allowed Foreigner to steal the show was that they kept to the hits that people knew with only two songs off their excellent new album, the single 'When It Comes To Love' and a barnstorming version of the album's title track.

The band really have come alive again with Kelly Hansen and he is all over the stage working the crowd to a tee. Mind you those tight yellow trousers he was wearing must have helped him hit the high notes!

Vocally he does the Lou Gramm era tunes very well with the classics coming out tonight including 'Urgent', 'Feels Like The First Time', 'Cold As Ice' (that went down a treat with the crowd) and 'Double Vision'.

Highlight had to be 'Jukebox Hero', the band were rocking away on this one with bassist Jeff Pilson living up his beast nickname by playing the bass in all manner of ways.

Keeping the original band link is of course guitarist Mick Jones who took lead vocals on 'Star Rider' which he said was for the fans. With flute and synths it does live up to Mick Jones' 'spacey' description.

For encores we had 'I Want To Know What Love Is', complete with a big crowd sing-a-long and 'Hot Blooded', a suitable ending to a heavy set, both hits and music wise.

Do go and see Foreigner if you get a chance as they are one of the best live acts out there. Okay so there is no Lou Gramm but Kelly Hansen is a more than able replacement.

One of the most pleasing things about the night was the younger crowd who hopefully are now firm converts to the two bands' music. A great idea from iTunes and long may this festival continue. As for Europe and Foreigner these two should tour the UK together as a joint headliner

Review by Jason Ritchie

Photo by Noel Buckley (except where stated)


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