We took the boat over to the Gröna Lund amusement park to watch Suede perform.
We had dinner at this Mexican place, easily the best place to be out of all the places there. We got to avoid the crowd and munch on sweet potato fries alongside the lime-splashed vegetarian tacos…
After dinner, Malin said she needed a coffee lift.
From the short but slow-as-fuck line at Coffeebar, we heard the woh-woh beginning of the first song from Night Thoughts. We were missing the beginning of the show, which would sting a lot more if we hadn’t gotten to see Suede just a couple of months ago on their Night Thoughts tour. We stood in line anxiously listening to the first couple of songs.
Then the third song was one of Malin’s favorites: Outsiders.
“You go on ahead,” I told her. “I’ll get the coffee.”
I kept breathing and trying to appreciate the far-away songs while waiting for the coffee to brew. I asked the coffee girl if she was familiar with Suede. She wasn’t. I geeked out and told her a little about them.
So then I got the coffee and went to find Malin but couldn’t. I wandered toward the back, less-crowded part of the crowd…And then I froze. There was this this handicapped kid with misshapen hands in a motorized wheelchair and he was with his caretaker and they were both having an amazing time. The caretaker would reach out and take the kids’ hands and gently move them around. They were dancing together and behind my sunglasses I was crying (I missed my daily Zoloft yesterday) and the caretaker had short gray hair and some facial hair – sorta looked like an older hippy.
Maybe this older hippy caretaker guy is a Suede fan from way back and he’s now – at this moment in his life – getting to share the beauty of their music with this sweet kid he cares for. Or maybe he’s never heard of Suede. Maybe they just knew this was one of the concert nights, so they came to the amusement park, and here they were enjoying Suede’s music for the first time.
I didn’t care at all that I’d missed the beginning of the show because I got to take in this totally authentic moment of love and benevolence. It was powerful enough that I actually don’t even remember the song that was serving as the background music for this touching scene.
Then someone put a hand on my shoulder. It was Malin. She guided me to to this pretty decent place she’d found for us to watch the show.
Brett Anderson seduced the crowd. He made jokes. He did the whole have-the-crowd-sing-along thing too, which would normally annoy me..but I found myself kind of loving the way Brett did it. He slowed the songs way down and minimized them—If you’ve always thought Everything Will Flow sounds too produced, you owe it to yourself to go on Youtube and find a video of the song being performed live in mass karaoke-style.
Gröna Lund is sort of an odd place for a show of this caliber. Ideally, the stage would be given its own isolated area in the park. But no, the stage is located right between House of Nightmares and the carousel. So, you’ve got people wandering all over, going to their roller coasters, buying their ice cream and trying to win gigantic chocolate bars….
But I don’t know—there’s just something warm and fuzzy about it. There’s random people there who probably don’t know about Suede and are maybe at the park for other reasons entirely but wind up falling in love anyway. I love when music transcends the gaps.