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Case Number 26718: Small Claims Court

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Europe: Live at Sweden Rock (Blu-ray)

MVD Visual // 2013 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // December 23rd, 2013

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle could never be in a hair band, because all he could grow is back hair.

The Charge

Come celebrate three decades with Europe!

The Case

It's the final countdown to the 30th anniversary celebration for the band Europe with MVD Visual's release of Europe: Live at Sweden Rock (Blu-ray)! This concert captures the former hair band heroes in all their power ballad glory. The set list for this performance includes…

Riches to Rags
Not Supposed to Sing the Blues
Scream of Anger
No Stone Unturned
New Love in Town
In the Future to Come
Paradize Bay
Girl from Lebanon
Prisoners in Paradise
Always the Pretenders
Drink and a Smile
Open Your Heart
Love is Not the Enemy
Sign of the Times
Start from the Dark
Wings of Tomorrow
Seven Doors Hotel
Drum Solo
The Beast
Let the Good Times Rock
Lights Out
Rock the Night
Last Look at Eden
The Final Countdown

Europe is one of those hair metal rock bands that sort of blends in with every other hair metal band from the 1980s. If you were to ask me who Europe is, I might give you a response that sounds like it came straight out of the Bible: "Well, I think they played with Dokken once, who begat Bon Jovi, who begat Iron Maiden, who begat Whitesnake, who begat Poison, who begat Motley Crue, who begat Europe…am I close?" You can't blame me for getting them mixed up with all the other bands that features glam make up, gallons of hairspray, and songs about monogamously loving women so much that your erection might fall off.

Europe (the band, not the mass of land with many people living on it) started in Upplands Vasby, Stockholm; by vocalist and keyboardist Joey Tempest, guitarist John Norum, bassist Peter Olsson, and drummer Tony Reno. The band released a handful of albums over the next few years ("Europe," "Wings of Tomorrow") before hitting it big with "The Final Countdown," which included a title song that sports one of the greatest opening instrumentals in all of rock music history. They also had a big hit with the power ballad "Carrie," which I suspect was the soundtrack of a million teens getting their virginity taken away. During the intervening years, Europe has released nine studio albums, a few live albums, and toured rather consistently.

Helmed by award winning music director Patric Ullaeus, Europe: Live at Sweden Rock is a standard rock show that will cater mostly to fans and leave casual listeners mildly shrugging their shoulders. This isn't a bad show. On the contrary, the music is well performed and the artists seem to have boundless energy replaying their biggest hits and deep catalog cuts (songs from all nine of their studio albums appear in the show). It's just that if you really only know Europe's couple of hits, the rest all kind of blends together into typical '80s hard rock. It's a lot of fun hearing their angst-ridden "Carrie" played live in front of an audience, but frankly you have to wait almost twenty—that's twenty with a 2 and a 0—songs into the concert to get to it! A few of the tunes are rather catchy (including the rarely played "Girl from Lebanon" and "Let the Good Times Rock"), but by and by this is all pretty standard stuff.

Europe: Live at Sweden Rock (Blu-ray) is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen in 1080p high definition. The transfer on Blu-ray disc looks excellent; Europe's stage show is filled with flashing lights and the band jumping around. It's often pretty dark, so the black levels are what seem to matter most (they're solid). Overall this is a good transfer for a concert that isn't visually amazing. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. This is an aggressive, sonically bombastic audio mix that envelops the viewer, especially if you have a high end home theater system. The music is crystal clear as the crowd cheers in 5.1 surround. There are no alternate subtitles or language tracks.

Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette and an interview with the band.

For those who are diehard fans of the band (all two hundred of you), Europe: Live at Sweden Rock will certainly fill some gaping hole in your big hair metal loving heart. The music goes down smooth enough (with a guest appearance by Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham), but it's pretty much the same old, same old. And for some of you, that'll be exactly what you're looking for.

The Verdict

If you're a fan of the band, this will rock your world.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 81

Perp Profile

Studio: MVD Visual
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Blu-ray
• Concerts and Musicals
• Performance

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette
• Interview


• Official Site

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