Gothenburg was bathed in sunshine and blue skies this morning and there was a feeling of magic in the air for me, coupled with nervous anxiety and uncontrollable excitement about tonight.
Taking the Salem-theme to ridiculous lengths this morning, it was an almost "cold shower" which let me tell you was not a blessing :(
Before breakfast I was listening to P3 and they played "Astronaut" so needless to say I was rather excited :) there's just something great about hearing Salem being played on the radio.
Off to breakfast, and a very good selection in the Scandic Crown breakfast room - yum, lots of lovely fruit and crispbread which did the job. There was a shop in the hotel reception selling various items including this month's issue of Damernas Varld magazine. Which had an interview and rather gorgeous picture of Salem on page 38 :) anyway as I reported at Planet Salem, I couldn't buy it as there was no room in my hand luggage to bring the magazine home :(
The main objective on Saturday morning was to get on a tram and make our way to the ticket office over in the other side of the city, to exchange my confirmation email for....
...two tickets to Salem Al Fakir.
Walked back to the city centre but not before stopping off at a lovely little part of the city called Haga. This is very reminiscent of Gamla Stan in Stockholm with its lovely old buildings.
There is also a lovely city park behind Storan, with a little canal running through it. I thought this was a perfect photo opportunity.
And so to lunch. I'd forgotten how difficult it was eating out in Sweden: I don't eat red meat, pork, lamb or fish/seafood, but "when in Sweden" I had to break the beef ban to do the ultimate Swedish food experience - köttbullar!!
Cue my latest food-photography attempt to get into Blogs of Note.
After lunch it was off in search of a record shop, and as usual I wasn't able to find one at that time (we were nowhere near Bengans so an alternative was needed) - and just like our 1996 trip to Gothenburg we ended up at Ahlens City, in the Nordstan shopping centre. Again I had to limit my purchases to this year's Melodifestivalen 2009 DVD and Måns Zelmerlöw's new CD. The shelves were full of Melodifestivalen artists' CDs, and of course I saw Salem's "Astronaut" proudly displayed too!
Was Nordstan always this big or did my memory play tricks on me? Whilst we were in the shopping centre, we heard the Gothenburg Gospel Choir who were singing on the Nordstan stage.
After shopping we had time for a quick coffee and then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the big event.
I should have been wired up to a blood pressure monitor between 4pm and 6pm: it would probably have exploded with my high-as-a-kite ramblings of a mad woman, repeating the setlist over and over again, pacing up and down the hotel room, re-doing my make-up, random singing of Salem songs over and over again, and failed attempts at trying to stay calm.
On my way through reception I so wanted to yell "I'm going to see Salem Al Fakir !!!" but I managed to restrain myself.
Dinner at a Greek/Turkish restaurant beforehand which was rather nice, although my nerves were at complete breaking point and my hands were shaking non-stop.
Yet somewhere on the road to Trädgår'n, I found the calmness and composure that I needed.
Meeting Salem was like all of my dreams coming true...and I will remember it forever.
Before the concert we took our places near the front of the stage, and for once I didn't have an eight-feet giant standing in front of me, blocking my view :) Just prior to Salem and his band going on stage, they were playing some music and the last song was "Wonderchild" by Christian Walz, which I thought was totally ironic as these two artists are always compared with each other!
The concert was brilliant. Salem was a fantastic live performer and I feel privileged to have had this experience: I hope it won't be the last time I see him play live.
(You can read my posts about meeting Salem or my full review of the concert at my other blog Planet Salem of course)
I also met the Norwegian girls after the show, purely by accident - an unexpected and happy pleasure!
On the way back to the hotel, I was in another world. I sang, I screamed, I was on such a natural high that I was flying, not walking!! And once back in the hotel I phoned mum, probably the most hysterical phone call that she has ever received in her whole life!!
And I only got 30 minutes sleep that whole night.
The best night of my life.
Unfortunately it all had to end on Sunday, but not before two final Salem-related moments:
1) The Axwell/Ingrosso dance mix of "It's True" got played on P3 on Sunday before breakfast. Scream-time again.
2) Had SVT on briefly and a trailer came on for "Vi i Femman" which is presented by Nassim Al Fakir - Salem's brother!!
After breakfast we headed for the bus station and got the bus back to the airport. Even our flight home was on time - and that never happens.
All in all, the best weekend ever!