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.
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!
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.
The concert venue was Arena Arctica, a huge hangar at the Kiruna airport and a short drive out of town.
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.
3. Berg & Dalvarna
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.
4. En timme en minut
5. Romeo återvänder ensam
6. Var är vi nu?
10. Vi är för alltid
11. Innan allting tar slut
12. Den vänstra stranden
13. La belle époque
14. Kärleken väntar
16. Jag ser dig
17. Musik Non Stop
18. Utan dina andetag
22. Dom andra
23. Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)
Such an epic track…but of course the final song had to be, the last song.
24. Den sista sången
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.
A 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 ❤
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