There are a couple of things about Norway that are intriguing. Levels of public intoxication at weekends in Oslo are legendary and often hilarious. I suppose the prohibitive cost of alcohol in the country makes it all the more appealing at the weekend. Our hotel location is always slap-bang central and we do always seem to arrive at midnight on a Friday, right when it all begins. I always open the windows when checking into the room, just to enjoy the sounds of pure revelry, and the potential for ‘fylleangst’ the next day. Apparently it means ‘drunk anxiety’ – fear of not remembering what you did the night before. I can’t say I would know anything about that!
Architecture in Scandinavia is both beautiful and unique, but in Norway, there is something ‘confident’ about it. The new buildings, and there are many, seem to exhibit a striking self-belief. Maybe it’s because Norway exports the best engineers in the world. My pathetic inability to tear myself away from the hotel room today means I cannot demonstrate this with imagery, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Even the seductive lure of the hotel gym wasn’t enough to get me to so much as open my door for anything but room service.
Keeping with current tradition, our final show in beautiful Norway was in an arena. The purpose-built Spektrum arena, no less. We haven’t been here since 2008 but it all seemed very familiar when we pulled in, for soup’n’soundcheck. Something strange in the ground level backstage load-in area is the existence of these huge, what I can only assume are bomb doors leading to rooms which contain quite normal venue chairs, tables and event paraphernalia. I can’t believe this place had underground bomb shelters at one time. Maybe the venue are serious about keeping their tables and chairs secure. Mike McGoldrick spent some time backstage with Richard Bennett, perfecting the guitar scales he’s been practicing for a few weeks now. Mike is an astonishing musician, one of a rare breed of people who can pick up anything musical. His scales are impressive, fluid and precise.
Knowing that Norwegians tend to be pretty punctual, we assumed there would be no delay in going onstage. At 8pm, we took to the stage once again to a rapturous crowd which seemed to get more and more excited as the evening progressed. As always, we had a blast and were back in the cars on the way to Oslo airport all too soon. The journey is 45 minutes so by the time we reached the plane, I was ready for a small but perfectly prepped G&T. Heading for our Swedish hub for the next few days, we toasted, once again, another beautiful day. Tusen takk, Norway.