Black Star Riders & Europe - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Despite an average age of around 50, neither Europe nor Black Star Riders seem to show any signs of slowing down, writes Belle Jones. On the back of brand new albums, both set out to show they still had it as fans new and old packed out the Shepherd’s Bush Empire for the last night of the 14-date tour. After already doing one show at the venue, both bands appeared at home on their second night, delivering a mix of old and new – injecting new life into the classics and revamping the set list with new material.

First of the double-headliners are Black Star Riders. Joking about Ireland’s Six Nations victory in the afternoon’s rugby, frontman Ricky Warwick gets the crowd rustled up from the get-go, starting with ‘Bound for Glory’ from the All Hell Breaks Loose album and diving into Thin Lizzy classic ‘Jailbreak’ continuing the momentum throughout. Performing five tracks off their new album The Killer Instinct, and of course other Lizzy standards ‘Rosalie’, ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ and ‘Whisky In A Jar’, the band manage to keep the classics alive without losing their identity. It would be easy to see this band as a Thin Lizzy tribute act, but where they really shone was in their newer, original material. All with an outstanding amount of experience in their line-up, with tenures in bands such as Alice Cooper, Megadeth and Ratt, they kept the Lizzy sound alive but in an updated way as they bring their different experiences to the stage.

Europe might seem like one hit wonders but they really brought the noise to the 100 year old venue in true classic style. Tonight they prove that they not only have an amazing back catalogue, but can also still produce some magic when it comes to making new music. Collaborating with Rival Sons producer Dave Cobb on the new album War Of Kings – their tenth studio effort – they bring a new energy to their sound, taking inspiration from legends Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Performing a cluster of new songs amongst the classics such as ‘Rock The Night’, ‘Carrie’ and naturally ‘The Final Countdown’, the band’s extensive seventeen song set list is most definitely a crowd pleaser.

It’s hard for bands with such a huge back catalogue to always please, but nobody comes away disappointed from this show. Both bands deliver an impressive hour and a half set and still show off experience, passion and energy to the stage, proving the oldies have still got it.

All photos by Belle Jones.

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