Europe and Black Star Riders triumph in Bristol

Double-headed rock monster continues its Live And Loud tour

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Black Star Riders take to the stage to a huge roar and immediately display their class with a one-two of Bound For Glory followed by the Thin Lizzy classic Jailbreak. The two songs work perfectly together, and set a standard that doesn’t drop.

The setlist is balanced, with other Lizzy favourites Emerald, The Boys Are Back In Town and Are You Ready sounding as good as ever. The present is also represented, with the likes of All Hell Breaks Loose, Bloodshot and Finest Hour being received as well as the older songs. Through The Motions in particular stands out, and has all the makings of a future classic. At one point Ricky Warwick leads the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Jimmy DeGrasso and Scott Gorham, the latter ahead of his celebration tomorrow. According to Ricky, tongue firmly in cheek, they’ll both be 31.

Anyone who judges Europe on their biggest hit is really missing out. Much more guitar-lead than the keyboard heavy radio hits would suggest, the band displays the different sides of their sound expertly, from the heaviest songs like Hole In My Pocket to more airplay-friendly numbers like Superstitious,

Joey Tempest greets the crowd with a local colloquialism of “Alright my Babbers!” and puts on a good show, posing and mic-stand twirling throughout the night, while his voice is still powerful.

Of the other new songs played, Second Day sounds even better live than on the album, but it’s Praise You that has the potential to be a centrepiece of their set. The quiet/loud dynamic of the song combined with the lights and smoke effects make an atmospheric experience that could have come from a promo video. The last song of the night couldn’t be anything but The Final Countdown, and it’s as brilliantly cheesy — and as enjoyable — as ever.

This is one of those rare tours where the billing of dual headliners is fully justified. Both bands bring something different to the table, but the styles compliment each other and make this one of the best value for money gigs for years.