Kapstaden till Kiruna – Kent at Arena Arctica

Fri 7

It’s a special privilege to see your favourite band live in concert. I honestly thought I’d never have the opportunity to see Kent (mostly because geography placed us on opposite ends of the globe) but then they announced that 2016 would be their final year together and the autumn/winter tour would be their last ever concerts. Before I knew it I was planning a trip to Kiruna.

Honestly, it was the most special musical experience of my life.

Kent: Var är vi nu?  Kent: Utan dina andetag

Kent: Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)

In the months before the concert I’d tried to plan everything as much as possible. I was travelling alone, abroad for the first time ever, to a town so rural they didn’t have Uber or regular busses in the off-season. Getting to and from the concert was the one detail that remained frustratingly elusive for months.

I’d tried asking on the Facebook event page if anyone knew if there was any transport planned…but didn’t get any info. Turns out a lot of the people attending the concert were also coming from somewhere else. A British guy called Duncan messaged me because he was in the same position and also looking for info. We promised to keep each other posted. Then Marie from Stockholm messaged me – same again. Only she’d asked around a lot and eventually found a whole schedule for special buses with all the info. Lifesaver!

local paper

Turns out the info was available to locals, but wasn’t anywhere obvious online. Oh Kiruna…

Being strangers to the town we agreed to meet up before the concert and go together. And I’m really glad we did, as much as I like traveling alone, it was so nice to share the experience. Duncan and I met first, then Marie and her friend Filippa. We met in the Scandic Hotel lobby, where they’d been playing Kent all day. In fact, everyone said that Kent had been the only thing playing in the whole town. I don’t get caught up in fandom much but knowing that we were all there on a sort of pilgrimage for the music and discussing our favourite songs and albums was great.

Outside the queue for the bus was forming and I have to say, it felt a little like a line at a post office – I’d expected a bit more excitement but the Swedish stereotype of quiet politeness held true, and people mostly just talked softly amongst themselves.

Waiting for the bus in Kiruna  Waiting for the bus in Kiruna

The concert venue was Arena Arctica, a huge hangar at the Kiruna airport and a short drive out of town.

Sunset walk to Arena Arctica

Duncan, Filippa and Marie

Sunset walk to Arena Arctica  Sunset walk to Arena Arctica

Sunset walk to Arena Arctica


It was seeing this that finally made it all feel real

Kent Merch  Kent


Everyone waited for this, and there was a loud cheer when it happened :)

Kent  Kent

The vibe inside was great – it was a pretty small concert with maybe several thousand people, making the view of the stage great from every angle. I had permission to shoot the show and spent the first 3 songs in the pit. It was amazing to be so close and to see the die hard fans in the front, some of whom had been going to as many of the final concerts as they could.

Kent: Gigi1. Gigi

Kent: Gigi  Kent: Gigi

2. 999

Kent: 999

Kent: 999  Kent: 999

Kent: 999

3. Berg & Dalvarna

Kent: 999  Kent: 999

Kent: 999

Kent the fans: many of these diehards attended multiple concerts on the Avskedsturne, I would have too if I could have

Kent: 999  Kent: 999

Kent: Berg & Delvana / En timme en minut

Kent: Berg & Delvana / En timme en minut  Kent: Berg & Delvana / En timme en minut

Kent: Berg & Delvana / En timme en minut

From a production-side it was hands-down the best show I’ve ever attended – the sound was perfect and the visuals were truly amazing throughout the show.

Kent: Berg & Delvana / En timme en minut

4. En timme en minut

Kent: Berg & Delvana / En timme en minut  Kent


Greetings and a little anecdote about the last time they were in Kiruna (something about being drunk and Martin fighting or stealing a bear…that turned out to be a statue? I missed most of the details…)

5. Romeo återvänder ensam

Kent: Romeo återvänder ensam

Du och jag Döden is my favourite album so I was so happy to hear Romeo återvänder ensam, especially kicked up a gear in the amazing live version.

Kent: Var är vi nu?  Kent: Var är vi nu?

6. Var är vi nu?

Kent: Var är vi nu?

The visuals were incredible all night and it’s really hard to pick a single standout, but the falling snow during Var är vi nu? is definitely a contender.

Kent: Hjärta  Kent: Hjärta

7. Hjärta

Kent: Hjärta

8. Andromeda

Kent: Andromeda  Kent: Andromeda

9. Egoist

Kent: Egoist

Kent: Egoist  Kent: Egoist

10. Vi är för alltid

Kent: Vi är för alltid

The backup singers were great. I was surprised to learn afterwards that Carolina Wallin Perez was one of them – I always loved her covers Pärlor and Ingenting

Kent: Vi är för alltid  Kent: Vi är för alltid

11. Innan allting tar slut

Kent: Innan allting tar slut

One of my favourites, many tears during this one. Har vi tid innan allting tar slut?

12. Den vänstra stranden

Kent: Den vänstra stranden  Kent: Den vänstra stranden

13. La belle époque

Kent: La belle époque

Jag är handen som håller flaggan

14. Kärleken väntar
15. Ingenting
16. Jag ser dig

17. Musik Non Stop

Kent: Musik nonstop

Musik non stop also had particularly amazing visuals

Kent: Musik nonstop  Kent


Band introductions…I missed some jokes here (something about hairstyles…?)

18. Utan dina andetag

Kent: Utan dina andetag

Utan dina andetag, never a favourite of mine till I heard the live version. That haunting guitar sound straight from my favourite Kent era, truly beautiful

Kent: Utan dina andetag  Kent: Utan dina andetag

Kent: Utan dina andetag

19. Sverige

Kent: Sverige  Kent: Sverige

20. 747

Kent: 747

747 performed in an aircraft hangar. Magic

Kent: 747  Kent: Dom andra

First encore:

21. Förlåtelsen
22. Dom andra
23. Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)

Kent: Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)

Mannen i den vita hatten. More tears

Kent: Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)  Kent: Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)

Kent: Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)

Kent: Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)  Kent: Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)

Kent: Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)

It almost felt like it would never stop falling, amazing

Such an epic track…but of course the final song had to be, the last song.

Second encore:

24. Den sista sången

Kent: Den sista sången

One of my favourites off the final album, and the final encore: Den sista sången. Everything about this was perfect. All the tears

Kent: Den sista sången  Kent: Den sista sången




A lucky few got roses from the band after the show. Funnily enough I was to sit next to one on the train to Abisko the next day. She was heading home to Norway and smiled broadly when I asked if the rose was from the concert

I’m not exaggerating when I say everything about the show and the night was perfect. It was the best musical experience of my life, not only because of everything it meant to me, but objectively too – musically flawless and visually stunning it really couldn’t have been better.

Waiting for the bus in the cold outside I couldn’t stop smiling. It was a bittersweet feeling though – having experienced something incredible but also completely once in a lifetime. Contemplating the perfection of it all I wondered if the northern lights were out…and then, as if determined to prove the night was indeed as ridiculously magical as it felt, they appeared. In spite of the bright street lamps the green shapes were bright and visible and unlike the night before I could actually see them moving. I was beside myself.

Aftershow aurora  Aftershow aurora

Aftershow auroraA few people joined me in complete amazement and delight but most of the locals seemed borderline disinterested – much like with Sofia the night before it was clear they were used to dazzling auroras and this one wasn’t particularly special. Except that it really was – there couldn’t have been a more wonderful ending to such an special night.

Thank you Kent, and thank you Kiruna ❤

A post shared by Laura McCullagh (@laura.mcc_za) on

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Kapstaden till Kiruna :  intro  |  pt 1  |  pt 2  |  pt 3  |  Kent at Arena Arctica  |  pt 4
pt 5  |  pt 6  |  
pt 7  |  pt 8pt 9  |  pt 10  | Tiger Lou at Pustervik  |  pt 11


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