“Almost Unplugged” by Europe

Artist: Europe
Title: “Almost Unplugged”
Label: MVD Audio
Release Date: 4/7/2009
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

Recorded during the band’s tour for the “Secret Society” album, they decided to do a one-off acoustic show and lucky for all of their fans they made sure to capture it on audio and video for all of us to enjoy. While unplugged albums are no longer something new and have been done to death in the eyes of some music fans, the interesting aspect of how Europe did it was in their decision to not only deliver classics from their older releases alongside their newest material, but also some well considered covers that truly suit them. Joey Tempest shows us that he hasn’t lost a single note of his register as he sings new classics like “Got To Have Faith” from the bands “Start From The Dark” CD and reaches all the way back for gems like “The Final Countdown” and “Memories” that comes from the bands very first release. I must admit that I liked the piece from “Secret Society” in this fashion with “Forever Traveling” much more than I liked it on the original studio recording, and I guess that this was based on my preferring “SFTD” a lot more than the album that was its follow up.

The covers were all smart choices and by doing some on this live recording the band gets to deliver both a cover and acoustic recording at the same time. While some have complained about the amount of acoustic recordings these days, they by no means even reach the amount of endless cover albums that we are seeing at every turn. The choices that Europe made were fantastic as they present to us some Led Zeppelin, UFO, Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd. I am happy to report that the guys excelled in their presentations of these legends from music history and for them to do otherwise would have been incredibly difficult to move on from. Tempest rules on the Zeppelin track “Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You” while “Suicide” originally performed by Thin Lizzy is done terrific justice and offers up some fantastic guitar work by John Norum. I would have preferred they chose a more rocking UFO number than “Love To Love” but it is done superbly and when they did their rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” I had to pause while I thought of loved ones long gone in my own life. It’s a moving version that I am sure many of you will appreciate if you are fans of the original. The title is not deceiving for while the recording has a lot of the unplugged nature to it, there is a lot of rocking going down as well. It’s not an acoustic album that one listens to in the background while reading, but instead is one that you will play very loud and very often. Whenever this comes out on DVD I will be sure to get it, as its audio part is one that shows us why Europe is still considered one of the biggest Scandinavian bands of all time. Europe has re-released a classic era and recent era live DVD on MVD Visual and these are also worthy of investigation should you be someone who had found them of importance to your own music appreciation.

Track Listing:
1. Got To Have Faith
2. Forever Traveling
3. Devil Sings The Blues
4. Wish You Were Here
5. Dreamer
6. Love To Love
7. The Final Countdown
8. Yesterday’s News
9. Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You
10. Hero
11. Suicide
12. Memories
13. Superstitious
14. Rock The Night

Official Website: http://www.europetheband.com

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