Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Gothenburg Diaries Part 2: Friday 26th March 2010

Friday 26th March 2010: Salem Day. The day that I had waited for, for so long, finally arrived, bringing with it an surprisingly relaxed feeling over breakfast. Being a rather classy establishment, coffee was accompanied by Goteborgs-Posten, which I scoured from cover to cover to see if there were any features about Salem, or tonight's concert. I had to make do with a very small preview paragraph, with the paper choosing to focus on Moto Boy's Stadsteatern show tomorrow.

After breakfast it was my first ever visit to an internet point, Sidewalk Express, which was right next to the hotel. It was great fun blogging, tweeting and checking my emails, as well as catching up with all the latest news about Salem. It was the best 20 kr I've ever spent, because there was one very important email, which would result in the opportunity to meet Salem once again!

In that instant I went from totally relaxed and calm to ....well, a manic wreck!! My heart felt as if it was bursting out of my body! Faithful travelling companion had gone for a walk whilst I was surfing...and came back to find me hyperventilating :)

In the meantime, retail therapy was on the agenda. Despite the generally mild weather outside (which was a very nice surprise, as I had been expecting the big freeze) it was time to go indoors, to Nordstan - Scandinavia's biggest shopping mall, situated right across from the hotel. This being our third trip to Gothenburg, we're no strangers to Nordstan, but I still manage to get lost every time I go in there. This from someone who could navigate most shopping malls with my eyes closed :)

There's always something going on in Nordstan, and this weekend it was a catwalk fashion show, with many of the centre's retailers showing off their spring collections. Of even more interest to me was the soundtrack - loads of Melodifestivalen stuff (Eric Saade, Hanna Lindblad, Getty Domein, Alcazar, Ola) as well as tunes by Darin, BWO, Lady GaGa and that "Stereo Love" with its distinctive accordion-type hookline.

We head to Rocks, a record store in the basement of Nordstan, and I'm delighted to see "Ignore This" having its own prominent bright green display near the entrance. "Astronaut" and "This Is Who I Am" are also displayed on the shelves, for those new/recent Salem fans just getting into his music. I love going into Swedish record shops, you get everything from top 40 and indie to the cheesiest schlager/dansband all sitting side by side :)

Ahlens City still has its CD section too, and again it's just lovely to see Salem's face staring out from the top 20 display - the album sits at no.2 in the chart at the end of March, behind the Melodifestivalen compilation. Sadly this year there is no MF DVD, just a karaoke one which really doesn't interest me at all.

After shopping and lunch, a little exploring in and around Avenyn, where the canal was still frozen over....
...even though the canal in another part of town wasn't!

Back to the hotel to get ready for the big night! Needless to say I'm buzzing with excitement about the concert - and I'm listening to Salem's interview on Sveriges Radio Goteborg, in between all the plays of "Keep On Walking" on the various Swedish radio stations, and me playing all Salem's songs on my phone!

Last year we went to a Greek/Turkish restaurant for dinner before going to Salem's concert - we planned to do the same this year, however the restaurant had shut down :( however we managed to find a busy little Greek taverna for food and wine before heading off to Avenyn, and that long walk all the way up to Gotaplatsen, and the Konserthuset which was the venue for tonight's concert by Salem Al Fakir and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

I won't go into detail here, as my full review at says it all: however, to summarise it in two words - utterly fantastic.

And yes, after the show I did get the opportunity to meet Salem again: he may be a massive star in Sweden now, but fame has not changed him one bit. He is still polite, warm, friendly and modest; and he had so many nice things to say about the work I do on Planet Salem, (my Salem fansite). I hope I can meet him again some day soon....

We head back to the hotel. I'm walking on doesn't get any better than this.

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