Veteran Swedish rockers Europe, who in 1986 scored a worldwide hit with the explosive The Final Countdown, are all set to rock music fans in Dubai when they deliver a one-night-only full concert set at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on November 22.
Known for their unrelenting drive, platinum-selling albums and freeform FM radio staples such as Carrie, Sign of the Times and Prisoner in Paradise, Europe were a mainstay in the burgeoning rock movement in the eighties before they split up in 1993. However, they reformed a decade later and went on to achieve more global success with albums like Start From the Dark, Last Look at Eden and Bag of Bones, an album that spawned three hits in the UK – Not Supposed To Sing The Blues, Firebox and Demon Head.
Joey Tempest, the lead-singer and frontman of the band (which also includes John Norum on guitars, Mic Michaeli on keyboards, John Leven on bass and Ian Haugland on drums), told tabloid! that they were “thrilled to be coming to Dubai for the first time” and that they are “looking forward to having a great time.”
tabloid!: Great to be talking to you Joey! How are you doing?
Joey Tempest: Couldn’t be better. It’s our 30th anniversary and it’s been a great year. We had a real blast at the Swedish Rock Festival in June, where we played before a crowd of over 30,000 We did a full set of 28 songs, must have been over two and a half hours, but it was great. Yes, it’s fantastic still being able to do the things that you love.
I’m sure you must be looking forward to your Dubai gig? What can we expect, another full set of Europe super hits?
Yes, we’re really excited about coming to Dubai. We’ve heard so many good things about the place, the beautiful buildings, the football superstars that come out there for their off-season training, the great bands that have played there! We’re truly honoured and excited to be able to play in such a great place and for sure we’ll be playing some of our biggest hits like Carrie, Rock The Night, Last Look at Eden, New Love In Town, and yes… The Final Countdown. It’s going to be fantastic, we’re going to have a great time.
What drives you and the rest of the band members, even after all these years? You sound so passionate about being on the road?
Look, being in a rock band is one of the best things in the world. It still feels good, like it was only yesterday that we started. We try to make the most out of it. Its great being on stage, sometimes we bring some guests on to play songs from three decades, it feels so special. There’s nothing more that we like doing than touring.
Even though rock ‘n’ roll has kinda taken a knock from stuff that’s on the charts these days? Where do you think rock music stands in today’s scenario?
Rock will never die as long as there are live concerts. That’s a fact. Rock music is full of treasures that are perhaps best enjoyed live in front of our fans. As long as bands like us, the Rolling Stones, keep going, rock will never die.
Europe broke up for more than a decade. What brought you guys back?
We never really broke up as friends, we were always in touch with each other even though we were doing different things during that time. I got into a solo career and made a couple of albums but we always wanted to get back [together] again. Which we did in 2003 and since then we have not looked back. We’ve even made some of the best music, at least that’s what we think, since our early days together in the eighties. We’re really happy with the stuff we’re recorded, particularly Bag of Bones, our last album which came out in April last year. So yes, its great to be back together.
What’s the secret behind being Europe the band, being buddies? What do you attribute your success to despite the differences and changes in the line-up?
Stuff happens, sometimes it’s meant to happen, and perhaps that’s why we split. But perhaps it’s just that certain chemistry we have together as a band. I don’t really know the answer to that but we love writing songs and as long as we can still write good songs that our fans like, we’ll be happy. We’ve always written songs the way we want to, not really worried about it being commercial or anything like that… the songs are just a form of expression.
Have you been surprised with the response your most recent albums, Last Look at Eden and Bag of Bones, have received from fans?
Absolutely. Obviously our writing and playing has matured. Bag of Bones is more blues-based hard rock material, which is what we grew up listening to – stuff like early Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. So we went all the way back. But we also had a lot of fun making those albums and being less one dimensional. The production is spotless and that is hardly much overdubbing, it’s just good old-fashioned rock music.
I’ve been waiting to ask you about The Final Countdown. When you wrote it did you ever imagine it would ever be such a huge hit?
No. It was actually quite a surprise because it wasn’t written with that intention as it’s almost six minutes long. I actually wrote the riff during college but it was only when we were planning our third album that it came to life. I wrote some lyrics and found a tempo for it and it proved to be a nice opening song for our self-titled third album. We originally used it to open our shows as well, but now, its found it place at the culmination of our concerts. We’re really happy, and proud that it has become an anthem of the times and that it is used at all kinds of events from boxing to Formula One racing. We still get a lot of feedback about it because is stands for so many things.
So what does the future hold for Europe, will you visiting the studio again, more tours…
We’re going to be doing a lot of festivals next year and in April we’re touring the UK with Foreigner and FM. We’re looking forward to that and if we’re lucky we’ll be recording our tenth album, and that’s like a huge thing for all of us.