Europe reflect on their storied career at The Glasshouse in Gateshead as the band reach a landmark year in their musical history.

Released in 1983, Europe’s eponymous debut album reaches its 40th anniversary this year. And subsequently, the Scandinavian rock legends are on tour celebrating this musical milestone.

The Northern Echo: Europe- The Glasshouse in Gateshead

Europe’s show this time around was not just your average live affair, this was billed as an evening with the band, and with two sets and a start time of 7.30 pm running through until 10.30 pm, the event certainly lived up to its expectations.

A documentary-style video featured on a makeshift cinema screen at the front of the stage set the scene for the night ahead. Interviews with each of the band members were thoroughly enjoyable as the group shared stories from the early days of Europe. Coupled with archive images and footage, it was the perfect way to start the evening.

The Northern Echo: Europe- The Glasshouse in Gateshead

Joey Tempest told the tale of how they left an early keyboard recording of The Final Countdown sitting on a shelf for some time. Can you imagine how different things may have been if the song had never seen the light of day? Subsequently, the band discussed on video how they weren't all in agreement initially about naming the group after a continent, but based upon their successful 40-year career, it hasn’t done them any harm, that’s for sure.

The “evening with” format was a great approach to celebrating the band’s back catalogue. As the opening documentary concluded, the curtain fell, and the band appeared on stage as they opened the show with On Broken Wings, Seven Doors Hotel from the band's debut album and the classic Rock The Night.

Joey Tempest is the consummate frontman. Frequently towering over the audience from atop of the stage monitors, engaging the fans in song, or throwing his white mic stand around the stage, the Swedish singer was a joy to watch all night long.

The Northern Echo: Europe- The Glasshouse in Gateshead

Start From The Dark was an early highlight in the set. With its heavy and somewhat infectious groove, coupled with John Norum’s blistering fretwork and impeccable tone, it certainly hit the spot. Likewise, Tempest’s voice was in fine form.

The inclusion of Walk the Earth from the band's 2017 release of the same name brought the group's career-spanning setlist up to date.

As the show progressed, Europe continued to walk the packed-out audience down memory lane. Even for the group, picking a setlist for such a show was always going to be an emotional experience. As the band transported themselves to those points in their career and what each song meant to them.

And even with a 26-song setlist – frontman Joey Tempest joked, "If you don't hear your favourite song tonight, it's not my fault - it's those guys," as he pointed to his bandmates. But the reality of the show was that Europe left no stone unturned. There was something there for everyone.

The band teased new material with the inclusion of Hold Your Head Up, which as well as being a catchy number, showed the musical evolution of the band and their sound. It was one of those songs that made you want to sing and clap along, and the audience did exactly that.

Dreamer slowed down the proceedings momentarily. The song showcased Mik Michaeli’s beautiful and intricate keyboard playing. The track featured only Mik and Joey on vocals during what was a beautiful moment in the set.

Rock fans and guitarists, in particular, regard John Norum as one of the best in the business. And his virtuoso playing during Vasastan proved that point perfectly.

The first set hurtled towards a well-deserved interval with a showstopping rendition of Carrie. But there were more anthems from The Final Countdown album to come in the latter part of the evening, as you can well imagine.

In the second set, a stripped-back acoustic rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity was of note. Drummer Ian Haugland recollected lost memories from touring with Def Leppard in the US in 1989. Of course, a rock show would not be complete without a drum solo, and Ian took his moment in the spotlight with a dazzling display of drumming set against a backdrop of the William Tell Overture.

Of course, the mega hits were always going to feature in the later stages of the show. And what a way to round out an impeccable evening. Tempest gave a nod to a friend from Redcar, that being Whitesnake’s David Coverdale during the main set closer Superstitious. The frontman injected a few bars of Here I Go Again, to great effect.

A two-song encore featuring fan favourite Cherkoee and the band's unmistakable anthem, The Final Countdown, brought the evening to a close in the best way possible.

On Thursday evening, Europe showed that forty years since the release of their debut album, they are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.