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Manchester HMV Ritz, 23 November 2012
accounts, 'Bag Of Bones' is one of the best albums of 2012. Almost
universally it has garnered positive or more precisely - gushing -
critical reviews. So GRTR! followers may have been surprised to see my
own appraisal in less than gushing terms although still a four star
Prior to the
gig I revisited the album for the first time since that review and I
have to say I still have my reservations, but it's more about the band's
more recent riches-to-roots classic rock trajectory - bolstered by the trademark Kevin
at the set-list before the gig it became apparent that the new album
would be the primary focus, understandably, but it's still a bold move
for most established bands peddling new material. The argument must be
that 'Bag Of Bones' (released in April) has now been firmly etched in
the Europe fan consciousness.
round the venue tonight it seems that Europe fans probably fit into
three distinct camps: those who grew up with the late eighties version
and do not now have to hide a guilty pleasure any longer, those who
picked up on the millennium revival, and those who have latched on since
'Last Look At Eden' and the general media frenzy. The demographic was
also a bit older than you might expect.
more than anything reaffirmed my love of the previous albums. The new
songs came across as you would expect - economical and perfectly
executed - but for me it took the inclusion of 'Love Is Not The Enemy'
to revive the stabbing hunger pangs for 'Secret Society' and its
If this was
a great ensemble performance - just like the new album - it also allowed
Mic Michaeli more space and his keys were more prominent in the mix -
unlike the new album - especially on songs like 'No Stone Unturned'.
kicked off an excellent acoustic interlude taking lead vocals before the
rest of the band joined in on 'Drink And A Smile' and 'Open Your Heart'.
And, as we headed for "that song", the faithful were fully satiated with
'Girl From Lebanon', 'Carrie', 'Sign Of The Times' and 'Rock The Night'.
One of the
previous set highlights, Norum's extended introduction to 'Lebanon', was
sadly truncated perhaps reflecting the new spirit whilst in trawling their earlier albums like 'Final Countdown' and
'Wings Of Tomorrow' their two 'comeback' albums were only represented
by that one track.
And, for me,
it would be a great loss if they continue their headlong pursuit of the
blues in rock, perhaps now bolstered by Black Country Communion's
all, this merely boils down to taste and preference: most of the
audience tonight were witnessing one of their best gigs of the year.
Riches To Rags 2 Not Supposed To Sing The Blues 3 Firebox 4
Superstitious 5 Scream of Anger 6 No Stone Unturned 7 Demon Head 8
Acoustic Blues 9 Drink And A Smile 10 Open Your Heart 11 The Girl
From Lebanon 12 Love Is Not the Enemy 13 Carrie 14 Sign Of The Times15
The Beast 16 Doghouse 17 Rock The Night
Encore: 18 Last Look At Eden 19 Final Countdown
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Secret show (13.09.12)
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