Review: Foreigner, Europe and FM live in Newcastle

Newcastle City Hall
Words: Simon Rushworth  Pics: John Burrows
Foreigner were the undisputed winners when they toured the UK with fellow AOR giants Journey and Styx in 2011 and three years on Mick Jones’ boys are still head and shoulders above the opposition. Not that FM and Europe are below par. Far from it. Stylish frontmen Steve Overland and Joey Tempest barely falter as they belt out a slew of melodic rock classics.
FM’s That Girl and Don’t Stop satisfy the die-hards but those new to the band lap up Crosstown Train from 2013’s Rockville. If Europe suffer from the fact that very few people can be bothered to get out of their seats – even The Final Countdown fails to inspire a Friday night dance off – Joey Tempest carries on regardless.

Kelly Hansen is much more “hands-on” when it comes to engaging an audience. Diving into the crowd like a man half his age, the charismatic Californian injects some life into the headline set: “I know we’re coming at you hard,” he says, “and most of you are old as fuck…”
Perhaps those laid back fans are taking their lead from Jones. Foreigner’s founder finally ambles onto stage after four songs but when it comes to delivering those signature riffs the band’s founder is on fire. A sensational version of Urgent – featuring an extended saxophone solo courtesy of the multi-talented Thom Gimbel – is the heart-stopping highlight of a magnificent AOR masterclass.
1.   Urgent (Foreigner)
2.   Cherokee (Europe)
3.   That Girl (FM)
1.   Head Games (Foreigner)
2.   Scream Of Anger (Europe)
3.   Keyboard solo/drum solo (Foreigner)

Steve Overland (FM)
“I reckon the last time we headlined Newcastle City Hall was on the Tough It Out tour 25 years ago and I’m delighted to say the place hasn’t changed a bit! The people are fantastic and they made us feel so welcome again. We’ve been so lucky getting this slot on the tour and it’s amazing how many fans get here early to see the set. It’s not easy for people to get to the show for 7pm but by the time we’d played the first three songs the place was pretty much full. We were out with Foreigner in Ireland too – they’re on top form at the moment – and Europe took us out with them in the mid 80s after we released Indiscreet so it’s just like old times.”

Joey Tempest (Europe)
“I love this venue. For some reason I remember it better than the other guys – it’s always had a special place in my heart. Personally I’d put it up there alongside Hammersmith Odeon in terms of its history and vibe. You can feel that sense of history. I made a point of singing some Whitesnake and some Sting while I was up there. And I would have done some Jimmy Nail if I could have remembered what shoes he sang about… We’re loving this tour already and it’s getting us in the mood for making our 10th studio album later this year. That’s a big one for us.”

Jeff Pilson (Foreigner):
“The crowd in Newcastle is just crazy. I love playing the UK – it’s not just the history of the music scene but the people too. And there’s so much about the city of Newcastle that’s great. I’ve been coming here for almost 30 years, first with Dokken and then with Dio. I know Mick was so excited to book this tour and so far it’s living up to all expectations. To sell out so many shows in this day and age proves it’s a package people want to see. I’m with them – I love FM and Europe. Steve from FM is just an incredible singer and I love his voice. I’ve known Joey and the guys for years and they’re even playing my favourite Europe song on this tour – Carrie!”

Things We Learned:
1.   The 80s never sounded so good
2.   There *is* a place for flutes in rock
3.   The seats at Newcastle City Hall are so comfy it’s often impossible to get out of them
4.   FM are the friendliest band in Britain
5.   Roxanne and Rock The Night make for the perfect rock mash-up
Tickets for Foreigner’s UK tour with EUROPE and FM are priced £38.50 regionally and £39.50 in London and are available from or
·         Monday 7th April – Nottingham Royal Centre
·         Tuesday 8th April – Sheffield City Hall
·         Wednesday 9th April – Portsmouth Guildhall
·         Friday 11th April – Bristol Colston Hall ***SOLD OUT***
·         Saturday 12th April – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (An Evening with Foreigner Unplugged)
·         Sunday 13th April – London Hammersmith Apollo
·         Tuesday 15th April – Wolverhampton Civic Hall