Following the amazing success of Tina Turner’s Private Dancer album (released in 1984), Tina not only booked a 1985 world tour but also found time to shoot a movie in the Australian outback (Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome) and record two hit songs for the film’s soundtrack. The following year, Turner recorded and released the rather weak but mega-selling Break Every Rule LP and her star shone even brighter.
The album spawned several hit singles (including another number one) and also was the catalyst for the first world tour that Tina would promote as her final one. It seemed odd at the time that having worked so long and hard for the success that she had now captured that Tina was leaving it all to concentrate of her acting career (which never happened anyway), but her fans were not about to let her go quietly.
The mammoth Break Every Rule world tour would see Turner trek the globe for a full year and smash attendance records along the way, the pinnacle of which saw Turner enter the record books for the largest paying attendance for a solo performer ever after 182,000 fans packed the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on a sweltering night in January of ’88.
Live In Europe was the double LP (and later CD) set released to capitalize on the tour’s success and, as Tina writes in the liner notes, to thank the millions who turned out to see it.
The tracks themselves, though, date back to the Private Dancer tour as well and represent 23 months (1985, 1987-88) on the road during which Turner and her awesome band played a staggering 385 shows, all the while becoming the first (and only to date) woman to fill stadiums fronting a rock band. So with all of this in mind, the record itself is gets off to a slightly underwhelming start but soon fires up and delivers the goods. Some of the tracks from the BER tour come off sounding flat (“What You Get Is What You See” and “Typical Male”) and lack the fire of the PD tour cuts like “Show Some Respect” and “Better Be Good To Me.”
Disc one, though, does contain an epic cover of Bowie’s “Girls” and the hard-hitting “Back Where You Started” (penned for Tina by Bryan Adams, who also duets on “It‘s Only Love.”) The hit singles from both albums are all here and beefed up by Turner’s boys, and the only surprises to be found are on the much more consistent second disc. Fiery soul covers of “Land Of 1000 Dances,” “In The Midnight Hour,” and “634-5789” (the latter with Robert Cray) are brilliant, as is Turner’s moving cover of “A Change Is Gonna Come” (again with Cray on guitar).
Turner’s knack for beefing up her ‘80s synth-pop album tracks into blistering rockers is clearly evident with scorching deliveries of “Overnight Sensation,” “I Can’t Stand The Rain,” and “Better Be Good To Me” all hitting the mark. Elsewhere there are duets with Eric Clapton (“Tearing Us Apart”) and David Bowie (“Tonight” and “Let’s Dance”) and Tina’s soulful rendition of The Fab Four’s “Help.” Turner’s big guns (“Proud Mary,” “Nut Bush City Limits,” and “River Deep, Mountain High”) are all present and absolutely sizzle, as does the surprise hit single form this hefty set, a grinding cover of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love” that has since become a staple of Turner’s set list on every subsequent tour.
Live In Europe should please any fan (even the casual admirers) of Tina’s as it remains her most inclusive and expansive live set to date.
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