Foreigner / Europe / FM Hammersmith Apollo 13-04-14

Not a big fan of FM, unlike the other members of Rockgig but loved tonight’s show. Though the early start meant that there were a number of spaces in the crowd, those that had made the effort showed a lot of appreciation for the band that flew through a set of 7 songs that covered all of the FM bases.

Here is what they played   

Tough Love
I Belong To The Night
Don't Stop
Closer To Heaven
That Girl
Crosstown Train
Burning My Heart Down

They opened up with  " Tough Love " off the "  Rockville " cd   before  going back 30 years to the " Indiscreet " cd and " I Belong To The Night " . With an excellent sound mix the band were firing on all cylinders.  Mid set they slowed things down with " Closer to Heaven " giving Steve Overland the opportunity to show everyone present what a world class vocalist he is. 

The set also had time to include my favourite " Rockville "  track  " Crosstown Train " that had  great trading of solos from Jim Kirkpatrick and  Steve before set closer " Burning My Heart Down " had the crowd on its feet .

Wonderful to see the band back on stage at Hammersmith where they belong.

A great opening for the rest of the evening.

I last saw Europe at Hammersmith way back on The Final Countdown tour when it was difficult to hear the band over the screams of all the young ladies. I 've seen them many times since and if I'm honest this gig was not one of the best I've seen from them since they reformed.

They played for nearly an hour with some newbies to start the set and followed it up with greatest hits and a couple of goldies added too.

Here is what they played

Riches To Rags
Let The Good Times Rock
No Stone Unturned
Scream Of Anger
Sign Of The Times
Rock The Night
Encore of    The Final Countdown

Joey Tempest is and will always be a star. He was in great form twirling his mike stand like a junior Coverdale , shadow boxing and throwing every rock star pose he knew and a great set of pipes too. He recalled a a boat trip from Sweden to Hammersmith as a 16 year old to see Thin Lizzy and inserted a few lines of " The Cowboy Song " to " Superstitious " too.

John Norum is a superb guitarist and his tone and melodic style is one of my favourites. Excellent solo in " Superstitious " as always and " Let The Good Times Rock " had some superb playing too and great to hear " Cherokee " that is played rarely. 

But a genuine lack of warmth from the crowd seemed to have everyone apart from Joey looking cheesed off.  We all could have done without " Carrie " for which the few that were stood up sat down and most stayed put.

I remember seeing Europe at Shepherds Bush Empire a few tours back and for that song the place went absolutely bonkers. Even that song was greeted with a luke warm effort as Joey tried to get everyone on their feet. It amazes me that people pay a fee for a 3 band package and with the quality of tonight's bands don't seem to enjoy it .

Surely if you know Foreigner you know Europe don't you!! I look forward to seeing Europe  back on their own feet as headliners next time!!

After Europe finished their set we went out to the merch stand as FM were due to meet the punters. So armed with a copy of their rather marvellous " Futurama " ep we went out into the throng.

Managed to get it signed by the whole band and a quick word with each of them. Pete Jupp confirmed their new cd will be out next year and a headlining major city tour to follow and also how all their cd covers are mainly black.

I mentioned to Jim Kirkpatrick about the Diesel band and cd due out on the 23rd of May. He said he was very happy with it and how it sounds.

Merv Goldsworthy was interested in how they sounded to which we said from our seats near the mixing desk it was excellent.

Jem Davis thanked us for coming and then also armed with the cover of his quite wonderful " Epic " cd we spoke to Steve Overland. Seeing the cover his eyes lit up and asked what I thought of it. I said it was his best solo effort so far which he agreed with and he also added that he still hoped to tour with it when he gets the time especially with how busy he is with FM at the moment. He really hopes it happens and so do I !!!!

Lovely guys who always have time for the fans and we look forward to the 30th anniversary show in Southampton in November.

At first I wasn't sure if I liked Foreigner.. weren't they that ballad band from the 80's?  
oh hang on .. Juke Box Hero - Cold as Ice - Head Games - no this'll be good ..and supported by the recently revitalised Europe and the ever brilliant FM - what could go wrong?
xxx As my Rockgig buddies will have testified by now .. FM were superb.  Europe were good, but I was expecting "New Europe" the East of Eden down-tuned Europe.. what we got was mostly from the the poodle perm days of old which went down OK but not what I was looking for personally but then the Foreigner tribute band came on stage.

Remember that old Two Ronnies sketch?  "I've had this broom for 25 years, its had five new heads and six new handles" .. Foreigner 2014 is a bit like that.

"Is that Mick Jones?" I was asked  - "Well unless he has a LOT of work done, and is wearing a wig, no"

Double Vision, Head  Games, Cold as Ice and Waiting For A Girl Like You came and went  - and still no Mick Jones... then "The Foreigner" appeared.  No explanation was ever forthcoming as to why he missed the first four songs.. it's not like he didn't know how they went!

Anyway once he was on stage it felt more comfortable - we were finally watching (a bit of) Foreigner.  Kelly Hansen is a great front man .. looking like a more nimble version of Steven Tyler he jumped into the audience, clambered across seats, borrowed jackets, and announced "Jesus some of you Motherf****rs are OLD!"

You can't fault their performance - songs old and new.. all the ones you would expect, expertly played with a great front man - we all sang along and thoroughly enjoyed it.
there was just that nagging feeling that it wasn't Foreigner but the best tribute act in the world. What if Mick hadn't bothered to come out for the rest of the show? would it still be Foreigner then?

What did we get? we got ..

Double Vision
Head  Games
Cold as Ice
Waiting For A Girl Like You 
Feels Like The First Time
That Was Yesterday
Dirty White Boy
Keyboard and drum solo
Juke Box Hero
Long Long Way From Home
I Want To Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded

Scene change :  cut to the Merchandise Stand - 
"Can  I have the signed Foreigner CD please?" 
 "yes sir, that's £10" .. (hands over a signed CD inlay) 
 "erm excuse me there's no CD in this?" 
"no sir that's just for the signatures - Cd is another £10"
 ... Really - is that what's it's come to?

FM - NH / ME 
Europe - ME
Foreigner - NR

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