Europe / King King

Lon­don Royal Al­bert Hall

Classic Rock - - Live! - Mal­colm Dome

A mag­i­cal night of pow­er­house tunery.

Have you no­ticed how Amer­i­can bands not only tell au­di­ences which city they’re from, but also in what state it is? King King main­man Alan Nimmo fol­lows this ex­am­ple by an­nounc­ing that he’s from “Glas­gow. In Scot­land.” The fact that he’s wear­ing a kilt and has a broad Scot­tish ac­cent should be a hint to us that he’s not from Glas­gow in Tennessee…

But such is the en­cour­ag­ing crowd re­ac­tion to the band that, be­fore long, there will be no need for a ge­og­ra­phy les­son. King King have ma­tured into a high grade melodic hard rock four­some, rem­i­nis­cent of early-80s Whites­nake or Bad Com­pany from the pre­vi­ous decade. They per­form a slew of mem­o­rable songs like (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’, A Long His­tory Of Love and the stun­ning Stranger To Love. Nimmo is an emo­tional vo­cal­ist and a pas­sion­ate gui­tarist, and the whole band look to be on course for big­ger things.

Dur­ing King King’s Rush Hour, Joey Tem­pest can be seen kneel­ing at the side of the stage. Whether he’s check­ing out his sup­port band, or gaug­ing the fans and the at­mos­phere of this ven­er­a­ble venue is open to spec­u­la­tion. But from the mo­ment the vo­cal­ist and the rest of Europe step into Walk The Earth and The Siege, it’s clear that ev­ery­one is in their thrall.

The band’s clas­sic line-up is still in­tact, and while many oth­ers would use this as an ex­cuse to ped­dle nos­tal­gia, Europe avoid such a trap be­cause they’re de­ter­mined to cel­e­brate more re­cent ma­te­rial. This show­cases a tougher, edgier ap­proach, one re­flected in an im­age that has long since es­chewed the poo­dle perms and glam cloth­ing in favour of a more street­wise style.

Much of last year’s ex­cel­lent Walk The Earth al­bum is played, and this ap­peals to Europe’s younger fans. They are at­tract­ing a new gen­er­a­tion, clearly won over by re­cent, heav­ier al­bums which have taken the Swedes back to their Deep Pur­ple-es­que roots. But they don’t make the mis­take of ig­nor­ing the big songs from the 80s, through which the band were cat­a­pulted to fame. So while Pic­tures and Turn To Dust con­firm a rel­e­vance to 2018, th­ese are bal­anced by the ear­lier likes of Rock The Night and Car­rie.

Tem­pest him­self has a flow­ing, el­e­gant ease out front, even go­ing for a brief walk­a­bout into the crowd on either side of the stage, while gui­tarist John

No­rum gets the chance to show his vir­tu­oso chops on the in­stru­men­tal Vasas­tan, even if he nearly trips over his gui­tar lead. And drum­mer Ian Haug­land in­dulges in a highly en­ter­tain­ing solo spot, as he plays along to a record­ing of the Wil­liam Tell Over­ture (well, the Proms sea­son has only just fin­ished at the Royal

Al­bert Hall af­ter all).

Scream Of Anger takes us back to the band’s sec­ond al­bum, 1984’s Wings Of To­mor­row, while War Of Kings is a fi­nal nod to the con­tem­po­rary era, be­fore Su­per­sti­tious ends the set, and even in­cludes a brief snip­pet from Whites­nake’s Here I Go Again, which slots in smoothly.

Maybe it’s be­cause ev­ery­one knows they’ll be back for an en­core – and that song – but the crowd re­ac­tion is a lit­tle muted. How­ever, things are ramped up for Chero­kee, be­fore the open­ing chords to, you guessed it, The Fi­nal Count­down bring hys­te­ria. So much more fa­mous than the band, it’s now a main­stream main­stay, and Tem­pest re­ally doesn’t need to sing any­thing – the fans do it any­way. It’s the only way any Europe gig should con­clude. But this band are now bet­ter than ever, as they do not rely solely on the past.

Joey Tem­pest: a singer with “a flow­ing, el­e­gant ease out front”. Europe: at­tract­ing a new gen­er­a­tion, won over by re­cent, heav­ier al­bums. King King’s Alan Nimmo:“I’m from Scot­land!” We’d never have guessed.

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