Concert for Utøya

Let’s hope the presence of so many new-Norwegians on the stage felt like a kick in the face of the man behind the atrocities in Oslo and on Utøya last year. Yesterday’s concert in remembrance of those who died was attended by many thousands of people, standing outside the Oslo Town Hall in the rain, holding their red roses high.

Presented by Haddy N’jie we got ninety minutes of songs and readings by many of Norway’s finest. Authors Frode Grytten, Karl Ove Knausgård and Åsne Seierstad had all written new pieces specially for the occasion. Crown Prince Haakon was there, and his Prime Minister made a good speech, urging everyone to honour the dead by making the most of being alive.

Among those who sang and entertained were Karpe Diem, Laleh and Bjørn Eidsvåg. There had been unconfirmed rumours that Bruce Springsteen would play. He did. He sang his own version of We Shall Overcome, which went down well. His wasn’t the most important name on the playing list, however.

The honour of performing last went to Lillebjørn Nilsen, and he got to do two songs, the last of which the audience joined in. It’s the same song the crowds sang outside the court in Oslo a while back, when thousands gathered there spontaneously, yet again holding roses.

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