Tag Archives: Bruce Springsteen

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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Pete Seeger is 90

Was it fake memory syndrome, or wasn’t it? At the time (mid 1990s), I wasn’t sure. Had I actually seen Pete Seeger live at the Royal Albert Hall? It felt like I had, but was it really possible that I had seen this fantastic legendary singer? Yes, it was. I found the ticket and the programme and the poster in a cupboard soon after. Looking back now, I sort of recall that Pete Seeger appeared with Quilapayún from Chile, some time at the end of the 1970s.

Pete Seeger

At the time I never stopped to consider that one day it might feel even more special, because in those days I believed that we would all live forever. Thanks to my younger self for having gone to that concert.

And isn’t it amazing that this wonderful protest singer is still with us, and still singing at the age of ninety? When I despair and wonder what the world is coming to, it’s a relief to know that some people haven’t given up.

I’m including the video of Pete singing at Obama’s inauguration. The picture quality isn’t so good, but what a fantastic day it must have been.

And then there’s Tom Paxton’s What did you learn in school today? Still as valid as ever, after all these years.

Happy 90th Birthday, Pete Seeger!