Europe

Live at Shepherd's Bush London

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Proving that their '80s poodle perms weren't a Samson-esque source of power, Euro hair metal pioneers Europe's fourth live album, recorded at the 2002 Shepherds Bush Empire in early 2011, shows they can still rawk with the best of them, as they tear through 16 anthemic tracks plucked from all but one of their eight studio albums (only 1984's self-titled debut is ignored). The Swedish five-piece may have flown under the radar ever since 2004's reunion, but with half of its set list comprised of material from their three subsequent LPs (including five from 2009's Last Look at Eden), the band appear to relish the opportunity to show those who only came along to hear "The Final Countdown" that they're not just a bunch of relics trading on former glories. Indeed, the more recent offerings show that Joey Tempest's impassioned vocals have lost none of their potency, as evident on the symphonic rock of "Last Look at Eden" and power ballad "New Love in Town," while John Norum justifies his axe-wielding virtuoso reputation on the blistering rendition of "The Beast" and the grungy "Always the Pretender." Of course, it's inevitable that their trio of 1986 singles receive the most rapturous response from the two-thousand capacity crowd, but the band show no sign of fatigue as they deliver rousing singalong performances of their signature hit and "Rock the Night," and provide a surprisingly emotive acoustic take on "Carrie." Those wanting to hear the gig in full will have to seek out the DVD, thanks to the omissions of new song, "Doghouse," the William Tell overture drum feature, and their tribute to the late guitarist Gary Moore ("The Loner"). But as a slightly condensed highlights package of a triumphant return to the London stage, Live! At Shepherds Bush is a tour de force in how to satisfy both casual and hardcore heavy metal audiences.

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