Venturing north into the sunny and snowy wilderness of Norway was quite an adventure. ‘The Doubtful Sound Tour’ was by far the most difficult to organise, with some gigs and accommodation being confirmed at the very last minute. Norwegian culture was fascinating, the people were very easy to warm to and the scenery was absolutely stunning.
Gig 1 was in Kristiansand and was preluded by a feed of stir-fry veggies and cod caught a few hours earlier. It was lovely to have some friends at the gig and a little fun to discover that people were waiting for me to sing. Kristiansand was a steep learning curve for performing in Norway. Very quickly I was aware people were responding positively to my light more humorous stories and visibly shrinking away from my more gritty darker poetry. This was the same for most of my Norwegian gigs and is perhaps good practice for when I next perform in New Zealand.
Gig 2 was a short distance away, which gave me time for a quiet walk to the sea near Skjernø and a chance to feed my Kiwi soul and stand barefoot on the wild rocks in my host’s back yard. The gig in Skjernø (Mandal) was my smallest and perhaps most intimate. I really like small gigs where I can interact with the people.
Because I was not able to secure either a gig or suitable accommodation, the next day left me driving 14 hours through, sun, snow and driving rain. I was very tired when I arrived at my hosts in Ålesund and was instantly made welcome.
Gig 3 gave me 30 minutes as part of an ‘Open Mike Night’. The crowd had been quite noisy during the other performers. I opened with ‘Emo’, from there on through the audience seemed to be captivated, laughing, clapping and sighing on cue.
A short ferry trip the following day brought me to Sykkylven, with a little spare time to talk and see a bit of the country side.
Gig 4 had music and quite a variety of people, it was an easy gig in front of a very welcoming group of people.
The next day had me on three more ferries and some icy roads. I was greeted at my host’s home by kids with snowballs, it was fun to finish my drive with a snow fight.
My final gig in content was quite similar to the evening before, but was very different in execution. I am always a bit freer on my last night and having music and meeting in a basement church just seemed to make things easier and more interactive. I finished the evening with a feed of elk.
Finally it was time to start the three day journey home. This included an overnight stay in Oslo and a night on the ferry to Klaipeda.
To conclude, I think I was quite different for Norway and that people neither new what to expect or what to make of my gigs. Norway was undoubtedly fun and often left me struggling to perform with a straight face. Next year I hope to return to Scandinavia and build on the things that Norway taught me.
Thank you to all those who helped me organise this trip, thanks to my hosts and a specially thanks to all of you who turned up to listen, I very much enjoyed my tour of Norway.