Sunday, July 29, 2012

Allsångsscenen är din: Tomas Ledin - Skansen 24.07.12

Say what you like about Tomas Ledin - he's not to everyone's taste, but you can't deny his enduring popularity with the Swedish public over the last 40 years.  To commemorate this musical anniversary, Tomas took over the Skansen stage following this week's "Allsång" to entertain an audience of over 25,000 in the iconic Swedish open-air venue, and many many more both in Sweden and worldwide on SVT Play, for his very own TV special - "Allsångsscenen är din: Tomas Ledin".

I had been looking forward to seeing this concert for a long time, mainly because I have only caught occasional video clips of him performing live over the years although I do have his last live CD "I Sommarnattens Ljus"  amongst the many Ledin CDs in my collection so I was already well aware of his strengths as a live performer. I wired the laptop up to the TV to enjoy the concert in all its glory, and I thought it was about time to introduce my mum to a) the joys of a Swedish outdoor singalong and b) Tomas Ledin.  For although she was familiar with the name, having heard me going on about him for 30-odd years, she's not familiar with his music.

The show began with some flashback clips from over the years, from a 1972 interview to the present day then back again.  Appropriately Clabbe af Geijerstam, who interviewed Tomas in the clip, ended up introducing him and his band tonight. Appropriately they began with Festen Har Borjat which is a very good place to start. Then onwards through a string of hits from over the years. Tomas is also enjoying something of a resurgence of late: his appearance on series 2 of Så Mycket Bättre may have won him some new fans, his "Showtime" season last year at Rondo in Gothenburg was so successful that it's relocating to Cirkus in Stockholm following his short summer tour. And his greatest hits album "40 Years - 40 Hits" has recently topped the Swedish album chart. Tomas was in great voice throughout the show and definitely proved that even at 60 years old - still looking very good for his age - that he still rocks.

Still on the subject of age, my mum was particularly impressed with the all-ages audience, from children to golden oldies and everything in between. I told her that this is a regular occurrence at Sweden's various open-air shows whether it's Skansen or Liseberg. Here in Britain you would never get a show like Allsång on TV every week, it would be viewed as too "cheesy" by a sneering media and the 'demographic-obsessed people who run TV would probably recoil in horror at the idea...after all in this country it's not "cool" to hang out with "old" people or watch an "old" person singing on a stage. But for now we can forget that we live in Britain and instead we can wallow in a Swedish summer evening.

Tomas takes us from daylight to dusk to night-time, all in the space of one hour. But it's not just him and his band on stage, there are also some very special guests. Such as, for example, the wonderful Sarah Dawn Finer. Unfortunately the chosen song for their duet, Lay Me Your Body Down, is not one of my favourite Ledin songs, from that very early era which I'm not too fond of. Nevertheless it's great to see and hear Sarah singing again. Folk musicians Hazelius Hedin accompanied Tomas on Bla Bla Kanslor which is followed by a rousing Sensuella Isabella. One more special guest to follow...I bet you didn't expect to hear rapping on En Del Av Mitt Hjärta, but you got it courtesy of Så Mycket Bättre chum Timbuktu. And the guest appearances kept on coming: David "Shout It Out" Lindgren brought a super-confident "Just Nu" and this was followed by his Melodifestivalen entries medley with the help of Niklas Strömstedt, E-Type, and the white-trousered legend that is Måns Zelmerlöw! I only wish that these songs had all been performed in full though.

The pace then dropped considerably for the acoustic "Här kommer den nya tiden" which Tomas performed along with Eva Dahlgren. But there was one very important song which he hadn't played - yes, that one. If Tomas is the king of the summer, then his very own anthem is "Sommaren är kort". But who'd have thought that it would lead to SVT pulling the plug on the show? In a spontaneous moment, he invited a stage invasion. OK so maybe it was a stupid idea in retrospect, but he was carried away by the evening's euphoria so it's understandable :) Now SVT could be put on the naughty step along with Mr Ledin: the show has been reported to the TV watchdogs for being 'undue commercial promotion'.

Advertising or not, you can watch the show again over at SVT Play where it will be available for the next three weeks:

The set list:
Festen har börjat
Lika hopplöst förälskad
En dag på stranden
Lay me your body down
Blå, blå känslor
Sensuella Isabella
I natt är jag din
En del av mitt hjärta
Hon gör allt för att göra mig lycklig
Det ligger i luften
Just nu
Melodifestivalen hits medley
Här kommer den nya tiden
Sommaren är kort

Here are some pictures from the show, courtesy of Rex Features/SVT.

Tomas with Eva Dahlgren
Tomas with Hazelius Hedin.
Tomas & Sarah Dawn Finer.
David Lindgren - Just Nu!
Tomas rocks out...
...and again!
Tomas with Timbuktu

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