Per and his tour visit rainy Helsinki
HELSINKI – Per Gessle had brought his band to Helsinki, Finland, in the most miserable November weather you can imagine. The concert was originally planned to a larger arena in the neighbouring city of Espoo, but moved and re-scheduled to Kulttuuritalo (Culture House) in the capital.
Kulttuuritalo seats around 1400 people and unfortunately wasn’t even nearly sold out. Most of the audience seemed to belong to the Swedish-speaking minority, and as Per greeted the audience in English, someone from the crowd shouted “Prata svenska!” (Speak Swedish!). He didn’t, though, until the very end when he thanked the audience in Swedish.
We had the opportunity to shoot photos between the seat sections during the first 3 songs. The stage in Kulttuuritalo is very low which brought the band very close to the front row seats, but made photographing much more difficult as you weren’t allowed or even able to go directly to the front.
The setlist remained the same as in the previous concerts. It has surprised me that they’ve wanted to start the show with a bang, and play the biggest hit “The Look” right in the beginning. As usual, the Finnish audience ignites slowly, and it took until the first encore and “Joyride” before every single member of the audience stood up. “The Big L” was another crowd-pleaser but it didn’t crack quite as well as the wonderful balloons.
I found the new arrangements of “Fading Like A Flower” and “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye” very lovely, and they showed the strengths of this particular band. Some other songs might have needed a little more distance from their earlier guitar-driven live arrangements, now that there is violinist Malin-My Wall in the band and Helena Josefsson has received even more responsibility on the lead vocals. Helena still doesn’t have the strongest voice, but she fits perfectly in the more mellow versions of the songs.
All in all, the show was yet again another solid performance from Per Gessle. It doesn’t look like he’s retiring soon, might he near his 60th birthday.