4 days ago Per Gessle’s most awaited solo tour started. The pre-premiere gig at Leif’s Lounge was a real good appetizer for what was about to come in July and August, so we couldn’t wait anymore to see and hear Mr. G and the band on a huge stage under the Swedish summer sky. The premiere gig was held at Sofiero Slott in Helsingborg. This place I remembered from 2013 when Gyllene Tider played there. Besides recalling images of 5 amazing golden guys on stage, I also remembered 2 other things: all the people were coming with picnic baskets and the sound was so weak back then that we could hear our voices better than Per’s and also the sound of the instruments was very low. So I was wondering how the show would be, if the sound could be better after 4 years and if the Swedes come to have a picnic again.
Hardcore fans arrived from several countries during the day: besides Sweden, there were fans from Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and maybe from even more countries. So the front row seemed to become very international to cheer PG on his big night. The security team was very helpful and nice, they seemed to understand our insanity of waiting for our favourite artist during all day.
While we were waiting for the gates to open at 6 pm, we could hear the soundcheck that started at appr. 4 pm. The stage was too far away to see clearly what was happening, but the sound was great outside. Gave us high hopes for it to be awesome at night too. What PG and the band rehearsed were På promenad genom stan, Vilket håll du än går, Det hjärta som brinner, Segla på ett moln which lead into Första pris, then Mahi Nana, woohoo Tittar på dej när du dansar, It Must Have Been Love, Honung och guld, Varmt igen, Tycker om när du tar på mej, then we could hear some drum tacts from Soul Deep, then came Småstadsprat, Dressed for Success and Min plats. The whole soundcheck lasted for about an hour. Åsa was there at the venue too and she came to greet us some minutes after 4 pm, during the soundcheck. She was as nice she is always with the fans.
The gates opened at 6 pm and just as we thought, after we got to our places in the front, no Swedes were coming closer to us. They all landed their baskets on the grass, far away from the stage and started having their picnic. Haha. Still such a funny thing. But good for us.
As I already shared some pictures on our Facebook page, there is of course new merchandise. You can buy T-shirts (6 different ones), a crew-neck sweater, a sailor bag, a lithography, a corkscrew, a set of 3 wine glasses in a nice case and a pack of cards. Hm. It might be hard to find out what to include in the merchandise and then you have to decide on the design too. Well, next time it would be worth asking the fans about it. Just saying. To those who plan to buy any of the above mentioned, it might be useful info for you that the wine glasses have tussilagos printed on them. Not engraved, printed. So you might not be able to wash them in a dishwasher. At least we wouldn’t try to. 3 glasses. 3? Could be 2 or 6. Interesting anyway. Another funny thing is the corkscrew and its design. To print ”Per Gessle” with silver on a silver coloured (plastic) surface wasn’t the best of ideas. OK, everyone can decide on what he / she is into and would buy from the merchandise. What we all miss are mugs and keyrings and T-shirts with the tour dates on the back. And more PG pics on the merch stuff, instead of signs. The tussilagos are fine though. And how about merch guitar picks? Besides all what I listed above you can also buy the standard ”En vacker natt” vinyl and the CD, as well as the Mazarin LP at the merch stand.
After checking the merchandise, we got back to our places. While standing there waiting for the support acts, we saw photographer Anders Roos on stage. We talked to him shortly and it turned out he would be at several shows to take photos. So let’s hope there will be a nice photo book of this tour too.
Good Harvest was the first support act to perform. The 2 girls, Hanna Enlöf and Ylva Eriksson got on stage at 19:30 and played for about 25 minutes. They sound beautiful together and their guitar playing is also wonderful. Their songs and covers are really unique.
After Good Harvest, the stage was set for Strandels, Tova and Sixten Strandell (sister and brother) and a young guitarist and drummer. They performed both own songs and covers too, starting at 20:10, playing for about 25 minutes. They got the crowd into a bit more party mood.
Before, after and between the support acts PG’s mix tape was on. The good old crew, the technicians were busy with setting up the stage, having everything ready for THE show. Some minutes (maybe 3-4) after 21:00, the band and Per appeared on stage.
Here comes the setlist and then I go into details:
1. Min plats
2. På promenad genom stan
3. Vilket håll du än går
4. Juni, juli, augusti
5. Det hjärta som brinner
6. Segla på ett moln / Första pris
7. Tittar på dej när du dansar
8. It Must Have Been Love
9. Honung och guld
10. Här kommer alla känslorna (på en och samma gång) / Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång
11. Kung av sand
12. Ljudet av ett annat hjärta
14. Gå & fiska!
15. The Look (with När vi två blir en as intro)
16. Varmt igen (with Queen of Rain as intro)
17. Tycker om när du tar på mej
18. Dressed for Success
As Min plats was the opener at Leif’s Lounge, we expected it to be the first song on tour too. You could sense Per was so nervous (during the first 3 songs maybe), his facial expressions showed it and his moves too. He messed up the first verse in Min plats and he had to check the screen in front of him several times to make sure he sings the correct lyrics. It was probably not visible to all in the crowd and mostly hardcore fans realized it only anyway. Mr. G was so cute in this situation. I think the crowd’s reaction during and after the songs encouraged him to think all was going fine and he let his nerves ease. Really after 3 songs there was no sign of being nervous at all.
Before the next song, Per said ”I thought to play songs from my whole, ridiculously long career. I’ve been writing songs since more than 40 years now…, which is a little odd, because I’m only 33.” Then they went on with the 2nd song. You can’t go wrong with På promenad genom stan. The crowd loved it and was singing along loudly. Sha la la… he-he-hej!
Vilket håll du än går was a nice addition to the setlist, it wasn’t played at Leif’s Lounge. Why I liked it so much is because I love when Per plays the harmonica. When the crew was setting up the stage, we could already see there were harmonicas attached to Per’s mic stand. I couldn’t wait for him using them. The song sounded cool live, with Malin on the violin and all.
Before Juni, juli, augusti, Per talked a bit to the crowd and said he hoped they had nothing against a little Gyllene Tider. Oh, we had nothing against it, of course. Party time! Just like with the next song, Det hjärta som brinner. On this one, Ola came to the front with his guitar and was rocking it hard. Also had a funny interaction with Mr. G.
Then it was time to calm down a bit. Helena and Malin started singing Segla på ett moln while Per was changing his guitars next to Micke N-S. Before Per got back to the stage he was singing along (without a mic). This intro lead into Första pris. Malin’s viloin playing here was heavenly too and Helena’s singing as well.
After Första pris Per talked to the audience again and talked about Nashville, that they recorded the song there and it was an amazing experience for them. He said he gives a holiday idea, go to Nashville. He mentioned they also recorded the next song there. And yeeeeaaah, Tittar på dej när du dansar came as next on the setlist. We really wanted to hear this song live and it didn’t disappoint. Sounds fab live too! Mahi Nana! The boogie didn’t catch the standard crowd’s feet, but we hope they will be more into it during the rest of the tour. Maybe a physical release of this single would help. 😉 Haha. The song got a big applause anyway. By the way, Malin plays both the violin and the mandolin on this one. So talented and sweet!
After the song Per talked to the crowd again. He said back in the days one learned English via pop music, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Small Faces, Pink Floyd, oh well, Pink Floyd not really. He said he thought to play one of the first songs he wrote for Roxette. And it was It Must Have Been Love. Oh well… I think we (I mean the hardcore fans in the front) were not really prepared to hear this song. It is so much Marie and we are so not over the fact that Roxette is not touring anymore (and maybe not even recording anymore) that it hurt very much hearing this actual Roxette song live – without Marie. So even if we sang along and the rest of the crowd enjoyed it, we had mixed feelings and we could easily live without this song in the setlist. Really. At the same time, it’s a big song in Per’s career, a US No. 1 and a huge hit all over the world, we know it. And seeing and hearing the standard crowd’s reaction, it will surely stay in the set. But still. It hurts.
After IMHBL came another song that was new on the setlist vs. what was played at Leif’s Lounge. It’s from Gyllene Tider’s third album, Puls and Per asked the audience if they remembered that album. The crowd’s reaction showed they remembered. He said he thought he would play a song they had never played live before, so asked the crowd to keep their fingers crossed. Honung och guld was the song.
After sipping a little from his ginger tea, Mr. G and the band went on with Här kommer alla känslorna (på en och samma gång) / Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång. The same way it was played at Leif’s, however, there these two songs were the last on the setlist. The crowd loved it very much and we enjoyed a loud sing along. Doobie doobie dum doh!
Then came another harmonica song, woohoo! Kung av sand! What a lovely song it still is!
After KAS it was time to party hard again. The crowd went crazy when they realized which song was next. Ljudet av ett annat hjärta! Helena and Malin go wild on this one, jumping like hell. This song is a real highlight and how Spegelboll comes after LAEAH is awesome! You can’t stop dancing, jumping, clapping, singing along and shouting. Not even during the next song, because it’s Gå & fiska! and you just hope the party never ends. The stage is now much bigger than it was at Leif’s and so all the musicians can go from one side to another, Magnus and the girls from right to left, Chris and Ola from left to right and Per can also run around easily. However, every now and then they still bump into each other. 6 people moving around can be tricky sometimes. Haha. But it’s so cool!
After Gå & fiska! Per introduced the band and he started it with telling that he found them on a dating site. First he introduced Helena (vocals), one his favourite singers, then Malin (violin and mandolin), who was born in Umeå, but grown up in Hong Kong, then Clarence (keyboards), an old acquaintance of Per’s wife, then Magnus (vocals, bass, dance and a little blue machine), Stockholm’s, Malmö’s, Sweden’s biggest sex machine. Per asked Magnus how he felt. Magnus said he was fine, it was a very special day. Besides having their premiere gig, it was 60 years ago when John met Paul. Magnus told the crowd if they know who John and Paul are, they get Dumle (Swedish sweet). Then Per introduced Ola (guitar and pedal steel), Andreas (drums) and ”last but least”, Professor Christoffer von Lundquist (guitar). All in the band got huge applause and shout outs from the crowd.
Then Chris played När vi två blir en as intro to The Look in his crazy style. The party mood was guaranteed again and it was yet another highlight in the set. All the guys on stage going psychedelic and the crowd singing along the nananananas. Then the band left the stage and the crowd was clapping and shouting to get them back.
The first encore was different to that in Leif’s Lounge. First all band members came back on stage and Chris started playing Queen of Rain (which I must admit I haven’t recognized until Per mentioned it, I was probably distracted by so many other things on stage, haha) and it lead into Varmt igen for which Per appeared on stage in WHITE clothes. Oh my God! How long I had to wait for this moment! You might find it stupid and I don’t really know what we, most of the fans (OK, probably most of the Gessle Girls) like so much about Per in white, but that’s a fact: we adore him in white clothes. Well, clothes don’t make the man, we love him anyway, you know that. 😉 Varmt igen sounded incredibly wonderful, it was a pure delight to hear this song live. Both Per and Helena sing beautifully.
And they go on sounding wonderful on Tycker om när du tar på mej which came next in the setlist. Per’s moves and facial expressions during this song are priceless. This song definitely means much to him. And when he goes next to Chris and they play the guitars together is so lovely too.
After 2 slow songs it was time to p-a-r-t-y and bring a little Roxette sound. Dressed for Success was next and the audience was singing along heavily to this one too. Also to Joyride which came after DFS. Everyone was a real Joyrider on and off stage. Per and Chris played their guitars back to back each other at some point. It was much fun! And time flies when you’re having fun, they all went off stage again.
The crowd was loud and wanted them back again. Of course, they came back after some minutes. First Andreas sat behind the drums and aaaaaah, he started playing Sommartider. One must love how he is drumming. A real pleasure to watch and hear him playing. Fun guy! Hej hej! The crowd went crazy for Sommartider and it became a heavy sing along again. Only this time we realized why BoJo was checking the camera (as a cameraman) before the show, because he came to the front and started filming the crowd. The pictures went on to the screens on the stage. It looked cool. And BoJo seems to be not only the nicest bodyguard and tour manager on Earth, but also a talented cameraman. Haha.
I would say Sommartider would be a PERfect ending to the concerts, but for some reason the ending song became Småstadsprat. Before they could start playing it, the crowd started shouting oj-oj-oj-oj-oj and clapping and it lasted long. Per appreciated it, thanked and sent kisses and he also applauded the audience. If it were not the blue lights on stage we might have had seen him blushing. He was so sweet! Småstadsprat sounded beautiful at the premiere show too and with it the show ended. Per thanked for the audience, told them they were absolutely wonderful, thanked them for coming and wished a wonderful summer.
We couldn’t believe the concert ended, it had just begun! And we would have been ready to relive it again (and again and again) right then. It was really en vacker kväll. More than that! A most fantastic night! Great start of the tour both for the band and for the audience (8385 people).
Yeehaa! Tack alla ni nästan 8 1/2 tusen som kom till Sofiero ikväll. Vilken resa ni gav oss. Premiärnerver till trots…. en fantastisk afton.
Micke N-S tuning the violin BoJo, the cameraman
All photos in the article are taken by Patrícia Peres.
Det hjärta som brinner
Tittar på dej när du dansar
It Must Have Been Love: 1; 2;
Här kommer alla känslorna (på en och samma gång)
Ljudet av ett annat hjärta: 1; 2;
Gå & fiska!: 1; 2; 3;
The Look: 1; 2;
Tycker om när du tar på mej: 1; 2;
Småstadsprat: 1; 2;
Expressen (funny, we saw Anders Nunstedt sitting there at Sofiero and writing his review right after the show /and probably during the show he was working on it too/)
hd.se (for subscribers only): 1; 2;