For most people there will one of two questions asked about this band. Either "who?" or "aren't they that cheesy eighties rock band who sang the Final Countdown?". Indeed, it's the very same Europe that sang ‘that song.'
Just like Motorhead with Ace Of Spades or Saxon with Wheels Of Steel, Europe will forever be associated from the mass public's viewpoint with one classic song whilst a number of other better songs remain shamefully hidden in the dark. So to call this DVD Live From The Dark is apt.
The problem with Europe is that they were held down by the enormous success of the Final Countdown and were consequently labelled a 'hair metal' band that were simply nothing more than Bon Jovi wannabes. In actual fact, they were more akin to classic '70s and '80s melodic rock bands such as Whitesnake and Rainbow.
This 2 disc DVD shows the reformed Swedish five piece in fine musical form. After watching such a terrific performance as the one on this DVD, you will be frustrated at how much the UK music press neglected the band's reunion both on stage and in the studio with their 2004 comeback album Start From The Dark.
The gig was recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2004, and they sound and look much darker than in their heyday. The entire show is rather sombre because the stage lighting is predominately black, dark blue, green and purple. With tracks like Got To Have Faith and America, Europe sound very heavy - much heavier in fact than you would expect from a band that is associated with such a soft rock image.
The entire gig is extremely professional but still performing with a sense of fun, nostalgia and passion for rock. Animal Crossing/Seven Doors Hotel is effective and the new track Wake Up Call is a solid slice of modern melodic rock.
The second disc is exhaustive on account of all the extra features. The interviews with each band member are long and detailed but highly entertaining as is the illuminating backstage footage. There are bonus tracks, music videos (Got To Have Faith and Hero), a discography, biography and videography. If all that's not enough, there's also a fun bit called Taxi Diaries: A Series Of Monologues With The band As They Ride Through London, which is pretty self-explanatory.
Live From The Dark captures Europe at the height of their powers as a live band. Brilliantly filmed from practically every conceivable angle and with 5.1 surround sound they sound and look great. Maybe it will take a little longer for Europe to catch on again but at last they're on the right track.