Monday 8 October 2012

We want Per!

He reminded me of a hobo, the same hungry look, piercing eyes and four-day-old stubble. Such a jagged quality to him. I thought to myself, oh my, Tom Waits' voice probably looks like that. Sort of smoked, dragged in sand and hung out to dry in an unkind northerly wind. True to form, he shouted out raggedly, "Shut yer mouth!" to the trumpeter introducing the band, Rik og Berømt (Rich and Famous), to the eager audience. It was a rough joke of the type that the band was used to.

I sat expectantly on the edge of my chair: this promised to be more than just another concert of jazz music. The band got underway and they played two songs before Per, the Tom Waits of the evening, got on stage. To my surprise he swung into a romantic number and caught me completely off-guard. Oh he tried to look the part, he had donned a suit like the rest of the band, but he still managed to look unkempt. Wonderful! If I closed my eyes, I could picture a young Frank Sinatra hitting those notes as Per serenaded his audience effortlessly. In the middle of love song, he sprang offstage, sidled up to a blonde and sang close to her ear while still holding the mike.

I however, was a trifle disappointed with his smooth voiced renditions. At the end of the second set, voices went up, "We want Per, We want Per!" and Per came back with gusto to sing a repertoire of songs that were more suited to him. In the middle of another song, he jumped offstage, and sat amongst his cronies, sipped from a glass of beer and then sprang back onstage and continued singing. It was so nonchalant it totally changed my way of looking at concerts. Why shouldn't a singer do just that? Why shouldn't he embrace the audience as Per had just done and make them feel he was also one of them? The rest of it went marvellously well.

The concert came to a close an hour past midnight. The night was no longer young. The ships on the harbour outside were unmoving and autumn rain had left the city streets puddled and gravelly. And a salt wind blew into my face as I walked home. It was just what I needed to end the night with.