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Gothenburg, Sweden

26 Jun 2017

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“What a difference a day makes,” seems to be the phrase on everyone’s lips today as people potter about in the afternoon sun.

As showtime approaches, the afternoon breeze has built into a tree-bending wind. Besides being a little more exhilarating than normal for the followspot-ops up in the towers, this isn’t really a problem for the show.

What is does mean, though, is that the confetti becomes its own psychedelic weather system. First shooting directly upwards as normal, but as soon as it reaches a certain height, it gets shot sideways and starts to spin into multicoloured cyclones.

There’s a slight question, though, of whether without the ‘all in this together’ bonding provided by yesterday’s downpours, tonight’s show can measure up. We’re also at the furthest north point of our European run. This means that by stage-time the sun hasn’t even started thinking about setting. It might as well be the middle of the afternoon. Will this huge show so big on lights, fireworks and wristbands even *work* in daylight?

These questions are soon answered towards the end of The Scientist. This is often a highlight if the crowd are in good voice, but before it even gets to the singalong finale, seemingly the entire crowd has their arms in the air waving back and forth.

The band are quite clearly knocked out and things kick up into high gear. Seems the previous crowd’s performance was nothing to do with the weather – the Swedes simply rock!

It’s such solid proof that there’s more to the shows than the weather or if the sun goes down soon enough to let the lights look good. The fellas have arrived at a point where they are *very* good at spectacle now. Nights like these in Gothenburg must serve to remind them that in the midst of this huge machine, the link between band and audience is still the thing that drives the show and dictates its success.

It’s an absolute belter of a show – and that’s almost wholly down to the audience. When they jump in unison for Charlie Brown, it’s as though they’ve become a single entity – almost like when people stretch out a parachute and shake it up and down. The hands and heads undulate and bounce in waves right through to the back of the stadium.

Come the end of the C-Stage, this huge charge of energy the crowd have directed at the band is somewhat repaid as Chris drops in a cover of a local artist. I’m told it’s by Håkan Hellström and entitled Känn Ingen Sorg För Mig Göteborg, or Do Not Feel Sorry For Me Gothenburg.

 The locals seem to know it and it’s a wonderful moment before the dash back to the main stage for the final three tunes.

Before long, Up And Up is drawing the evening to a close. The sun has long since dropped below the horizon, so we have proper darkness now, but we still end the show as we began, with the wind bending the fireworks into new and unusual shapes.

It’s great when things are unexpectedly brilliant – and I’m definitely putting Gothenburg in that column!


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