|My Døgnvill experience...|
I had gotten a pass for the entire Døgnvill
festival, which lasted from Thursday to Saturday, but I only planned on going on
Thursday and Saturday, because Roxette would play on Thursday and EUROPE on
Saturday. I arrived in Tromsø with my sister on Thursday and met up with my her
fiance at a friend's place. Soon we were on our way to the festival area. My
sister was a bit bummed about missing the Swedish pop singer Veronica Maggio,
the first artist who performed on the big stage that day (there were two stages
at the area, a big stage and smaller stage). When we arrived, the Norwegian
rapper Admiral P was on the small stage. I wasn't that interested in him, but
after that, the British-Australian drum'n'bass/rock band Pendulum showed up on
the big stage. Pretty loud and intense, but I liked some of the songs. Then it
was time for the Norwegian pop duo Eva & The Heartmaker on the small stage.
I have heard some of the songs on the radio, but I was more concentrated on
getting something to eat and drink than checking them out on stage. Then,
finally, Thursday's closing act, Roxette, arrived on the big stage. I was a bit
far from the stage, but I had a good view of the big screens next to it, so I
could film a couple of the songs with my brand new camera. I've been a Roxette
fan almost as long as a EUROPE fan, and this was my first time seeing them live.
It was a great gig, and it was amazing to see Marie Fredriksson on stage, only
nine years after her struggle with the brain tumor. Not many people survive what
she went through, so the fact that Roxette are still releasing albums and
touring all over the world is amazing. Like I said, it was my first Roxette gig,
but hopefully it won't be my last!
I didn't go to Døgnvill on Friday, so instead I spent the day relaxing and walking around town. I even found a couple of 80s magazines, one with Joey on the cover, pretty cheap at a used comic book store. My sister and her fiance went to the festival that day and my sister said her favorite concert was American R&B singer Kelis on the small stage, but she was also impressed by the closing act, Swedish pop star Robyn, who went on the big stage after Kelis was finished.
Saturday... Tone Irene, who I had met at every EUROPE gig I had gone to previously, from 2004 to 2008, had arrived in Tromsø the day before and we had agreed to meet outside a store at the town square. At first she took me to a music store, because she wanted to show a Yamaha keyboard that had a similar sound to the famous "The Final Countdown" riff. Unfortunately the keyboard wasn't there, but we still tried out a couple of keyboards. Of course we both played "The Final Countdown", both on our own and together. She also played parts of "Carrie", "Tomorrow", "Coast to Coast" and "Dreamer". I was impressed and sometime I'll probably try to learn those songs myself. After that we went to the festival area and arrived about a half hour before the first artist of the day on the small stage: Captain Credible, a weird mix of video game-like music and madness. Not my cup of tea. Soon we met up with Vinjar, who I had previously met before the EUROPE gig at Midnattsrocken in Lakselv 2008. He has long red hair and a long beard and was even named "Beard of the day at the festival" in a local newspaper. He worked as a volunteer at the festival. By the way, there were no EUROPE T-shirts or any EUROPE stuff at all in the Merchandise booth. Tone Irene knows the guy who works with merchandise on EUROPE tours and he said that he probably wouldn't go to Tromsø. The fact that there was no EUROPE stuff in the merch booth (same thing with the Lakselv gig) was very sad, especially considering this was a big festival with nearly 13,000 attendees. Big-time lost opportunity. Anyway, the three of us walked up to the big stage and the goal was clear: First row at the EUROPE gig! After Captain Credible was done, the Norwegian folk band Vamp showed up on the big stage. I have to admit that I'm not a Vamp fan, but I was impressed! A very energetic and engaging gig and the female guest singer from the Faroe Islands was great. Pretty too. During the Vamp gig, we also met up with Hans, another volunteer and a friend of Vinjar. After that, it was time for the Norwegian "party joik" band Rolffa on the small stage. Joik is kiiiiiiiiinda like yodeling, and I'm not too fond of either, so I didn't pay much attention. Then it was time for the American Idol singer Chris Medina on the big stage. He is pretty much only known for one song, ""What Are Words", which charted very low in the US, but for some reason became a big hit in Norway and Sweden. So I was kinda curious on how he would do a 45 minute long gig with only one hit. I guessed that there would be a lot of covers. And surprise surprise, he performed Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning" and Coldplay's "Fix You". And then as the last song, "What Are Words", where pretty much everyone sang along. The funny thing was that a lot of teenagers and younger kids showed up at the first and second row for Chris Medina (I especially noticed the kids who had painted "I love Chris Medina" on their foreheads) and when he left the stage, they left as well!
It was time. Tone Irene and I quickly found our places in the first row, and Vinjar stood right behind us like a bodyguard. "I've got your backs!" he assured us. Meanwhile, the Norwegian extreme metal band Enslaved played on the small stage. I'm not into that kind of metal, so I just concentrated on keeping my place in the first row. I have to admit that when I looked up at the big screens that broadcast the concerts, I thought for a second that they were showing some old Metallica live footage from the late 80s, but then I realized it was Enslaved. A couple of teenagers showed up behind us. They sounded to me like they were eager for the EUROPE gig and I could hear one of them say, "I'm gonna become a big EUROPE fan, I'm gonna know all their songs and all their albums." They asked Vinjar, "What songs do they have?" Vinjar just looked at him and said, in English, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" and hung his head. "Where are they from?" they asked and Tone Irene pointed at my back and said, "Here's the biggest EUROPE fan in Norway, he knows." I told them that they are Swedish, but the guitarist and drummer were born in Northern Norway. Tone Irene asked them if they knew any songs apart from "The Final Countdown". They said no and I named a couple.
"Rock the Night?"
"No... Yeah! I know that one!"
When Enslaved left the stage, we waited for EUROPE. And I looked at the watch all the time. "15 minutes left!" "5 minutes left!". And then finally, at 7:45 pm, Mr. Døgnvill, Hogne Rundberg, showed up on stage for the introduction and said, "Here is one of my favorites... EUROPE!" The crowd screamed and the "Prelude" tape started playing. At first Ian arrived on stage, then John Norum, and then finally, only seconds before "Last Look at Eden" kicked off, Joey, Mic and John Levén completed the lineup. Joey arrived with his sunglasses on, but he got rid of them pretty quickly. Right before the second chorus, Norum broke a string on his guitar and quickly walked off to get a new guitar. It was kinda odd to listen to the song without guitar, but Norum came back just in time for the solo. Then "The Beast"... Joey counted off in German, "Eins, zwei, drei, vier!" and span around the stage with the microphone stand in his hands. Joey impressed the crowd with some Northern Norwegian slang, like "Ka farsken?" (What the hell?) The setlist was pretty standard with no surprises, but damnit, as much as I love setlist changes, I still had a blast! I really liked Joey's intro to "Scream of Anger": "Scream..." *crowd screams* "Scream..." *crowd screams* "SCREAM OF ANGER!" The whole band was energetic, and especially Joey. Everytime one of the press fotographers came up to him, he struck a pose and gave a big smile. I noticed that he looked at me a couple of times and smiled, and I think Norum and Levén did too. Before Norum's guitar solo, Joey introduced him like this: "Here's a guy I've known since I was 13, 14 years old. He's from Northern Norway, just like our drummer Ian Haugland. JOHN NORUM!" When Joey pulled out an acoustic guitar, I knew that "New Love in Town" would be next. But I figured I might as well try to ask for my favorite EUROPE ballad, "Open Your Heart" (which also features acoustic guitar), so I just yelled, "Open Your Heart! OPEN YOUR HEART!" I think Joey heard me, because he looked at me, but no "Open Your Heart". Instead he and Mic did a short improvised melody before Joey announced "New Love in Town". After that song, when the Monty Python intro for the drum solo came on, Tone Irene just said, "Oh no!" I have to admit I'm not too fond of drum solos either, but the Willhelm Tell overture solo was pretty fun. After "Rock the Night", the band left the stage and the crowd of course yelled, "More! More!" After a short while they came back, Joey announced they'd play a new song from the upcoming album and then came "Doghouse". Of course, it's not that new to the hardcore fans since it's available on the "Live at Shepherd's Bush" DVD and they've already played it a bunch of times this year, but it was great to hear that song live then and there. I'm still not sure about this song, it's not one of my biggest favorites, but it works well live. Then, that famous rumbling... Right when "Doghouse" ended, I picked up my camera and started filming "The Final Countdown" from the rumbling to the last note. I had also filmed "Carrie" and "Love is Not the Enemy". Afterwards when I told Tone Irene about this, she said, "Why did you film THAT one? You've surely seen it a thousand times!" I agreed and told her that I didn't film "Countdown" at the Lakselv gig for that reason, but this time since I was on the front row AND had a brand new camera to film with, I had to get my all-time favorite song on film. When the song ended, Joey said, "F**king fantastic!" I have to agree.
After the gig, Tone Irene and I met up with Torild (aka Nemi) who I had first met before the EUROPE gig at Vikafestivalen in Mo i Rana 2007. After EUROPE, there were two artists left - The Norwegian rap duo Sirkus Eliassen on the small stage, and the closing act, John Fogerty, famous from Creedence Clearwater Revival, on the big stage. But I had decided early on that I would leave the festival area after the EUROPE gig, because then Døgnvill was over for me. Tone Irene and Torild decided to stay, so we said goodbye and I found my way back to the hotel.
EUROPE, you're welcome to play again in Northern Norway anytime!