Even though Helsinki is probably the most North Eastern capital city in Europe, incredibly, its climate is still influenced in some way by the Gulf stream. This means that Winter temperatures don’t drop to the harsh levels its Northern Latitude might suggest. Conversely, in the Summertime the weather can be gorgeous and our stay coincided with one of these periods. Also around the Summer Solstice, Helsinki enjoys up to 19 hours of daylight. I can tell you that along with the 2 hour time difference, it’s a little disconcerting. Our arrival the other night at 3am in sunglasses was weird but every night, it just doesn’t get dark. Not even close.
Our long journey here was rewarded with the first of two days off in a beautiful city on a gorgeous Summer day. There was quite a commotion outside the hotel which was generated by the annual Samba Carnival procession. The rest of the day was used up effortlessly by walking around this most interesting town. It seems everywhere you look, there’s a harbour, port or beach. Yes, a beach.
Being the only sandy beach near the city centre, Hietaniemi park was packed. The scene was slightly surreal as out in the bay were these huge blue electricity pylons looking like monumental Thunderbirds props.
An evening meal at a particularly fabulous Steak house which served up the juiciest Rib-Eyes and Reindeer steaks rounded off a lovely day.
Show day started with an in-room breakfast feast of the usual continental bits and pieces plus a plate of the most delicious fish prepared in a way that only the Scandinavians know how. The star of this show was a beetroot-smoked salmon. I’m not normally craving fresh fish or ceviche first thing in the mornings but hey, when in Helsinki….
Then I went for another walk around the city with camera strapped to my person….or so I thought. Walking through one of the many beautiful waterside parks, the camera released itself and fell onto the path. My worse fears were realized as the lens (my 50mm prime) was completely broken and not only that, I couldn’t get it off the body. I guess the mechanism inside has snapped. A trip to a camera shop tomorrow is in order I think.
We assembled for the short ride to the Hartwall Arena at 4:30 and signed a few things for some fans who had assembled outside our hotel. At the venue, it was a happy reunion with Dave, Chris and George, our beloved catering team. The usual sound-check and dinner routine and we were back in the swing of things. The Asian pork tenderloin and cabbage in Hot and Sour sauce was the winner for me and provided all the gig energy I needed for the night. Dave serving up 5 Porks!…
Helsinki Dressing Room…
It was another fantastic show in a near sold-out arena in front of 10,000 very excited Fins. The band was once again magnificent with everyone relaxed and confident with the in-ears nearing perfection. The only slight down side was a severe interference on some of the acoustic instruments caused by a very nearby transmitter. Although it seemed quite disturbing at times in our ears, amazingly Dave and the front of house team managed to ‘notch’ it out of the PA with surreptitious use of digital graphics equalizers. We were soon back at the hotel enjoying a nightcap in the bar.
Another day off tomorrow