Crazy live experiences
!How Enköping measures success!
After a terrific gig at Östhammars Musikvecka on a Friday and glowing reviews in the local paper on Saturday we looked forward to our gig in Enköping on Monday, on a weekly event called “Måndagskväll”. We were of course full of ourselves and had hubris after the successful Friday and the Saturday review. We might have believed we were the greatest band in the world. And on monday evening the park in Enköping was packed with people, an estimated 1200. After a warm up with children dancing it was time for the main act, the headliners, the best band in the world to entertain. So we hit the stage with a lot of energy and absolutely nothing could fail. But did anyway. After 20 seconds of CC Rider half of the audience just stood up and walked away. Me and the band went into chock but somehow I managed to put the autopilot and the concert continued. With every song more and more people dropped off and in the end maybe 200 people were still there. They seemed to like us but that didn’t help! It was a horrible experience and after gig I was sitting down, resting my back against the stage wall, nearly crying. At that moment the in-house sound engineer came up to me and was in ecstacy. “Wow! What a success!, Congratulations!” He jumped up and down and it was obvious he was not joking. I was of course astonished and replied: What? Success? What do you mean? The audience fucking left ! The sound engineer justs went on: “Yes, but last Monday everybody left!” That night I learned that people in Enköping measures success i a slightly different way than the rest of us.
When the sing-along just fell apart!
From the beginning I have made a big point of the fact that my shows are strictly non look alike and non sound alike. The show is about the music, nothing else, and can be regarded as a protest against the Elvis lookalike culture. Some deeply serious Elvis fans have made a point of disagreeing and sometimes I’ve had to argue hard for my standpoint. Despite this very clear message and declaration there have been occasions when an Elvis look alike shows up. Usually they want to come up on stage and sing! One time, when I had made the whole audience stand up for a “Can’t help falling in love”- sing along, an Elvis look alike just came up on stage and pulled out his own microphone from his pocket. The audience just stopped in their tracks and I just lost it and cracked up. The guy just went on singing. When I finally could collect myself I just went to my own microphone and said to the audience: I rest my case!
The first show was a disaster!
I guess the first show in 2002 probably was the worst. Back then I had
no clue of what I was doing and just put together a small band for a
25th anniversary show at Parksnäckan (1977-2002), the big park venue in
Uppsala. I did not expect more than a few hundred people in attendance
and thought it would be enough with just one rehearsal. Man, was I
The show was about to start 19.30. By 18.30 all seats were taken (700)
and hundreds of people still lining up outside. But the venue is big and
with a lot of room for standing. By 19.30 the place was packed with 1504
people and that is an attendance record that is held to this day.
Walking out on the stage was horrifying, to say the least. I felt so
stupid! How could I not have foreseen this huge interest? And with a
barely rehearsed band and an ill prepared singer (me) I knew, even
before the first song, that we would not live up to anyone’s
To make things worse I had made a setlist with all my own favorites.
Songs like “Inherit the wind” and “I really don’t want to know” are
among Elvis’s best but not exactly common knowledge. By the time we had
played our fourth song, one man in the audience stood up and in an angry
voice screamed: Aren’t you supposed to play Elvis songs tonight? The
irony of it all is of course that the famous Elvis songs he probably wanted
to hear are of course not “Elvis songs”, since most of Elvis’s big songs
are covers by other artists.
Anyway, people stayed and I guess we had some kind of decent lowest
level and was tolerated. But I knew we were a big disappointment. This
was also confirmed the next day when the local paper ran a review with
the headline: “A disappointment”. There and then I made a wow to never
again be careless with the biggest love of my life, Elvis.
When I could have died for Elvis
This was back in 2016, me and the band gave a concert at Tobo Bygdegård.
A trademark of all my shows is in the end of Hound Dog, one of the last
songs, when I make a big jump, allowing for great photos when I seem to
float in the air. This time however things didn’t go as planned.
I, and also everyone else in the band, hadn’t noticed that the stage
ceiling was way lower than normal. So when Hound Dog was ending and I
made a big jump I all of a sudden found myself on the floor beneath the
stage. I had no idea what had happened and the audience seemed to be in
I managed to crawl back up on stage again and then I noticed how low the
ceiling was. I went up to the microphone and said: Well, the show must
go on. After the last encore and while we were packing up I noticed a
huge nail in the ceiling just a few centimeters from where I had hit my
head. I nearly fainted when I realized that I could have died. And even
if I love Elvis I am not prepared to die for him.
WHEN I SANG A SONG I HAD VOWED TO NEVER SING
Most shows are met with a very appreciating audience, standing ovations and enthusiastic handclaps demanding an encore, but the gig in Skuttunge was something extra. They just wouldn’t let us stop and I lost count on how many encores we had to do. When we entered the stage for the 6th or the 7th time they had lit all the lamps in the whole venue, and both band and audience were bathing in light.
In front of the stage they had lifted an old man up on a table. He was very old and he gets older for each time I tell this story :). He was supporting himself on his walker and the sight of him there, all wrinkly, steadying himself on his walker, eyes beaming, ready to Rock & Roll, made me feel so humble, so grateful that I told the band we would end with playing a song I had vowed to never sing.
The song was Hound Dog. You might wonder why I had vowed to never sing Hound Dog. Actually there were three songs I had vowed to never sing. Hound dog, Love me tender and Wooden heart. Elvis sings german was completely out of the question and Love me tender was tainted by all the live versions I had heard when Elvis was kissings the female part of his audience throughout the song. It was simply too hard to relate to. But what was wrong with Hound Dog? Well, nothing of course but it’s one of the most famous songs in the world, with few lyrics, little substance, and thousands cover versions of the song had made me tired of the song before even singing it myself. Even Elvis’s Hound dog was a cover and to be honest, I always preferred the original by Big Mama Thornton.
But that night, in Skuttunge, to celebrate this old man and all his friends and neighbors who had put him there, we played Hound dog. And ever since then we’ve had it on our set list.
MORE PEOPLE ON STAGE THAN IN THE AUDIENCE
I don’t mind a bad review, believe me, I’ve had quite a few. But when I in a local newspaper read that I was not a good enough Elvis impersonator I got angry. The whole point of my mission is to not even try to be one. So how could the local paper get things so wrong?
Anyway, when I had eaten the sour grapes I looked forward to the next concert which I hoped would be a revenge. The next concert was at Mickelsmäss. Mickelsmäss is an outdoor event/market in Örsundsbro and we had been hired to play on the main stage at the parking lot. This market usually attracts 20 000 people from many parts of Sweden so if we played our best and committed ourselves to the gig, we sure would meet a new audience and get new fans.
But nothing of the kind happened. Rain was pouring down and there was no escape. Most of the market stalls just gave up and called it a day just a few hours into the market day. After lunch we hit the stage for our big revenge.
But the rain was pouring so hard and the wind was blowing so fiercely that umbrellas broke and our energetic Elvis tribute was met with a near empty parking lot. To add insult to the injury the contract stipulated a 3 set concert.
We managed to laugh ourselves through the afternoon and just before the third set we made a bet. The bandmember who would come closest to how many people we would have in the audience the last set would win. I don’t remember who won but the number was 6, which actually was fewer people than on stage.