Time Capsule: An Evening With Europe – The De Montfort Hall, Leicester on 24th October 2023


Outside an autumnal chill starts to bite, but inside the genteel surroundings of the De Montfort Hall things heat up as a selection of classic rock tracks welcomes us on what promises to be a magical evening. For those of us whose memories are now longer than our hair, it’s hard to believe that Europe are now celebrating 40 years since the release of their debut album, yet here they are and unscrewing their Time Capsule to reveal some of their, and rock’s, biggest anthems.

I’m a big fan of these “An Evening With…” type of events, no support act means more from the headliners, and Europe have a hefty discography into which to dip. The air of expectation which permeates hangs heavy, but is lightened somewhat by a video montage during which the band members candidly talk about the band’s history. It raises more than a few chuckles from the crowd, meaning that when the curtain drops and the band appear in person, the audience are primed and ready to go. With its thunderous drum roll and muscular riff, ‘On Broken Wings’ makes the perfect set opener and proves the spark that lights the flame. It evidences a band at the top of their game and you can almost feel the waves of affection that radiate between crowd and stage. ‘On Broken Wings’ perfectly encapsulates the Europe experience; it’s anthemic, with classic rock overtones, but most importantly accessible. This is the type of music that’s made for everybody, there’s no affectation and no one is excluded from the party, and it’s heartening to see that Europe continue to attract a younger following amongst the older stalwarts.

Many bands would save a song the calibre of ‘Rock The Night’ for an encore, yet Europe are confident in their own prowess to throw it in early in their set. It certainly serves its purpose and gets all but the frail and infirm on their feet and grooving as guitarist John Norum sends sonic shards flying in all directions. The band turn in a good natured performance, this is a celebration in its purest definition and all the stops are pulled out to ensure the songs are delivered as such. Bassist John Levén proves himself unflappable, even when vocalist Joey Tempest is screaming in his ear, while drummer Ian Haugland becomes a human Swatch and keeps impeccable time. Throughout the gig each band member takes time to engage with the crowd, but its keyboardist Mic Michaeli whose preamble into ‘Carrie’ that’s most entertaining before the band return to their genesis to unleash a swirling ‘Stormwind’ to take us into the interval.

Suitably refreshed, Europe and crowd return for the second half of tonight’s show and the band pick up right where they left off with ‘Always The Pretenders’ and a stealthy ‘Ninja’, before Joey picks up a guitar to add depth to a lighters-in-the-air rendition of ‘Prisoners In Paradise’. However, the real piece de resistance to this second half is the acoustic interlude with Joey and John Norum. Teasing us with a few bars of The Dave Burbeck Quartet’s ‘Take Five’ preludes some fun with Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ before they get serious with Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’. This section injects a nice change of pace and ensures the set ebbs and flows as we return to the rock action with ‘Last look At Eden’. Drum solos are usually a cue for the masses to head to the bar, but Haugland holds the crowd’s rapt attention with a thunderous display. On an evening that’s full of surprises, the band throw some of Whitesnake’s ‘Here I Go Again’ into their own ‘Superstitious’. However, one thing we can be certain of is the appearance of ‘The Final Countdown’ (how could they not play it?) and as final encore, it sends all home happy.

Here’s to the next 40 years!

Set List:

  1. On Broken Wings
  2. Seven Doors Hotel
  3. Rock The Night
  4. Start From The Dark
  5. Walk The Earth
  6. Hold Your Head Up
  7. Dreamer
  8. War Of Kings
  9. Vasastan
  10. Girl From Lebanon
  11. Carrie
  12. Stormwind


  1. Always The Pretenders
  2. Ninja
  3. Prisoners In Paradise
  4. Sign Of The Times
  5. Smoke On The Water
  6. Space Oddity
  7. Last Look At Eden
  8. Open Your Heart
  9. Memories (Bass Solo)
  10. More Than Meets The Eye
  11. Drum Solo (William Tell Overture)
  12. Ready Or Not
  13. Superstitious


  1. Cherokee
  2. The Final Countdown