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Distillers, Hammersmith, London 13 September 2012

John Norum and Joey Tempest

Europe, despite their name, have become Anglophiles with tours of the UK now an almost an annual event and singer Joey Tempest happily resident in London.

Nevertheless it was, to put it politely, a bit of a culture shock to see Joey and guitarist John Norum playing in the upstairs room of a traditional West London boozer before an invited audience of 60 or so competition winners from Planet Rock's VIP club and their guests.

Their relaxed good humour and swapping stories added to the intimate atmosphere and these laid-back Swedes appeared devoid of superstar pretensions.

Opening with an instrumental then the autobiographical 'Not Supposed To Sing The Blues' from their current 'Bag of Bones' release, it was then really interesting to hear old anthems 'Rock The Night', with fans spontaneously clapping along, and 'Superstitious' successfully re-imagined in acoustic format.

Joey Tempest

The raw, bluesy feel of both 'Demon Head' and 'Drink And A Smile' were suited to the stripped down format, while a cover of the Shadows 'Apache' saw Joey and John having fun swinging their guitars.

Indeed at that stage they appeared happy to go on all night, but sadly there was just one more song in a 40 minute set, and yes it was THAT song. But without the unmistakable keyboard intro, 'The Final Countdown' felt like a totally different song, standing on its own merits, though John played a great Spanish-style guitar solo.

Moments after they returned to pose for pictures and sign material with each of the guests. Not having brought any CD's I improvised by getting them to sign a flyer for November's UK tour that were scattered around the pub tables. A great souvenir for me from a night it was a privilege to be part of, and a timely reminder that their tour is not to be missed.

Review and photos by Andy Nathan

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