Swedish rock legends ‘Europe’ recently visited Belfast’s famous Ulster Hall co-headlining with the brilliant ‘Black Star Riders’ who are fronted by Belfast’s very own Ricky Warwick. Playing to packed capacity the Belfast crowd were treated to a night of guitar fuelled rock.
Belfast was the second night of a European tour hot on the heels of Europe’s 10th studio album “War of Kings”. Europe’s place as a legendary classic rock band was platinum-stamped early in their career, having enjoyed an explosive period of worldwide success in the ‘80s, under-pinned by their hit album and single ‘The Final Countdown’, before going on hiatus between 1992 and 2003.
They re-united and quickly settled into a period of re-establishment which has seen them re-enforce their reputation worldwide as one of the premier purveyors of blues-tinged classic rock with an edge and some kick.
Europe guitarist John Norum (who previously enjoyed a stint in Dokken with Jeff Pilson) offered a unique treat for the Belfast audience in the form of very special white Fender Stratocaster. The guitar had a long history, honouring the memory of Belfast’s own Gary Moore who performed in the same venue 31 years ago.
In 2005, in the lead up to the “Secret Society” release Europe’s front man Joey Tempest contributed to ‘The first album I ever bought‘ I put together for a music magazine. A true gentleman his contribution came with a pre-release copy of the album and some signed postcards.
“It was probably the live album “Made in japan” with Deep purple. I was amazed how well all the bandmembers played their instruments. I think it came out 1973, but I got it a few years later. We used to play this record at parties and start planning how we also could be a successful touring rock band.”
Interestingly Joey described “War of Kings” as the album they always wanted to make since listening to bands like Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath.
Black Star Riders
Fronted by Belfast’s own Ricky Warwick Black Star Riders are touring with their latest album “The Killer Instinct” following the 2013, critically acclaimed debut album “All Hell Breaks Loose”.
Front man Ricky Warwick was born in the home of Avalon Guitars, Newtownards, County Down) is probably best known for his work with ‘The Almighty’ and ‘Thin Lizzy’ and Black Star Riders features a number other Thin Lizzy members Guitarists Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson (also former Alice Cooper guitarist).
It was a remarkable night in the Ulster Hall, almost 30 years since the release of the ‘Final Countdown’ Europe have proved their material is as relevant today as it was then.