September 2018… this is when I planned this whole trip, so believe me when I say that the anticipation for the shows, first in Stockholm and then in Paris, have had time to build up. But as Harry said to Hermione: “When has any of our plans ever worked, Hermione?” My husband got stuck at home with a cold and a fever, I was starting to be sick too and I had to cancel my flight to France, to book another flight with another company to insure that I would actually arrive to destination (in anything but a Boeing 737 MAX). So whatever you plan, remember that life has its sneaky way of putting you off, but at the same time keeps you alive and well. Let’s call that a false start then, because despite all these clouds, loads of fun has happened.
Watch out! Very long post… so if you like zapping, this is not for you *lol*
Nalen, Stockholm – Sweden 16/03/19
Stockholm, March 16th 2019, while waiting in front of the amazing venue Nalen, I made a new friend L. from Sweden, which is somewhat logical you might say, being in Sweden. As I was queueing, not really in the front but almost, there was this woman who asked her friend to hold her spot while she’d go have a smoke… it looked very tempting, and so I joined and we started chatting. As we headed back, she dragged me with her to her spot in the queue – much better than the one I had. I don’t like to do that, but since I was waiting in line on my own (my friends preferred waiting until the doors opened at 20:00), I actually did not mind this time.
We grabbed our spot, front row, where S. usually likes to stand, right between Olli (to the right… our right) and Marko. The first part, German band called Blackout Problems, sounded interesting and promising, unfortunately I could not really hear the singer. I heard mostly the drums. Back at home I checked them out on Spotify and lo and behold, they are really good – you should check them out. Once they were done, it did not take long before we heard the eery voice of Marko echoing and saying: “Whatever you do… whatever you do… don’t scream!” This is when, one after the other, the band made their entrance… and the crowd cheered and screamed… This is always fun to watch because the band’s happiness to be there is almost tangible. I bet you could even have heard my heart in the midst of the cheers…
The atmosphere and the audience were amazing right from the start… Poets of the Fall at their best… and Marko… dare I say it? This was the first time I heard him sing like that: absolutely mesmerising and perfect. S. I have never heard Marko sing Cradled in Love that way before, I was stunned and in awe. I don’t remember much of the show… I know I thought at the end of the concert, it would be tough for them to top that…
*spoiler alert * guess what… they actually did in Paris!
I recall trying to make eye contact with Marko, so that he would sing to me a few words (as S. always tells me that this is something to experience) and I’d be able to sing along this time… but no, that did not happen. I think he looked at my camera/mobile so I could take a picture… thank you!
However, Jani‘s smiles during the show would have made the sun shy away, and Olli‘s nods and smiles… all of them really. They are not just playing, not just singing, they radiate joy and it is contagious. It is like nothing else, but the music and the joy to share it all together, exists.
The next day, it was time for me to fly to Paris… before sitting and waiting with my friend in the lobby for our cab, I went out for a smoke under the canopy of the hotel in cold rainy Stockholm. I shared the space with another customer, and I started complaining about the weather in Swedish… no answer… I switched to English, and well it was just an early morning chit-chat with a stranger, right. Glen Loit, it was… none other. When I came back in I saw Tiia Öhman waiting… and after I sat down, Jani – mister all smiles – passed me by with his suitcase from the breakfast room. I kinda hailed him with “God Morgon” (Good Morning)… of course I should have added Jani after my greeting, but what do you expect after just a couple of hours sleep… and yes, all politeness and courteous, he turned to me and answered “God Morgon” (Goo’ mor’on… it’s actually how one pronounces it). I was finally on my way out when Marko passed me by, humming… I said “Good morning Marko” but either I said it too late and out of earshot, or my voice was really gone. Totally ignored, I was sick and the happiest fan there was that morning.
Les Étoiles, Paris – France 20/03/2019
After seeing a doctor the day before the show in Paris, I slept about two to three hours, and spent the morning restless until my cab would come and pick me up to drive me at the hotel – I was in the subburb of Paris.
I arrived at my hotel ten minutes later than planned… not so bad considering that my driver had been more than thirty minutes late. Very chatty and friendly driver, it was a fun drive. Of course, my room was not ready, but I had a warm welcome from the man at the reception and got the hot lemon tea with honey (no ginger though) I was dreaming about during my fare. One of my friends arrived and we chatted a bit, until I could go up to my room. P. arrived a little later and at last we were on our way to yet another line.
I was caughing a lot when I suddenly realised how hungry I was. No time, we were let in at 18:00. Tiny… Les Étoiles is a tiny venue… I thought that of Nalen in Stockholm, well Paris… minuscule! Great venue though. I was as nervous as ever meeting the guys again, but I had taken my weapons (almost all my CD booklets are now signed, Olli signature is missing though… and of course my iphone case). Marko talked French with me, which was pretty cool… and I was called the Professional cold traveller… nah, what was it Jari? Jani? Jaska? Captain? Any of you has a better memory than me? Oh well, it was lame and very funny…
Same first part… then “Whatever you do, don’t scream!” and everything went “blixt snabbt” (very fast). At some point, Jani handed me his pick, gesture to which I still gotta say thank you by the way… and as Marko observed me, Jani whispered something to him and they both laughed as they took a last very quick look at yours truly… then Marko was in the crowd cheering with us while the guys were having a blast on stage. Rogue is always my favourite part of the show, if I had one… I am so thrilled every time. It is an energy booster, brilliant piece of music from start to finish. The Sweet Escape is special in itself, but in Paris, it got… hmm… Frenchified. Thanks to Caroline Summer, who captured that moment, I can share this moment with you. S. I got sung to on this song by the way… “I wanna run away“… eye towards someone else to sing the rest, but hey that was cool, I did not freeze and could sing along. That is progress I’d say.
The Sweet Escape in French…
I cannot go song by song, but I really love it when they start jumping on Choice Millionaire… I am still unable to sing the words, except for the chorus and yet I know them. Typical, right!? Ending with Carnival of Rust is just beautiful… You know this feeling, when Marko sings, that resonates under your skin? This is how it felt in Paris too.
After the show, I got my “selfie” with Jani taken by my friend P. after she insisted quite a bit… and that’s all folks!
Les Étoiles memories
Thank you old friends and new ones!
Thank you Poets of the Fall! This was truly a treat!
Paris VIP songs: Stay & Desire
- Dreaming Wide Awake
- Dancing on Broken Glass
- False Kings
- Temple of Thought
- The Sweet Escape
- My Dark Disquiet
- The Game
- Cradled in Love
- Choice Millionaire
- Locking Up the Sun
- Carnival of Rust