at Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway, March 1, 2003

It’s a Saturday night, a packed, sold-out Rockefeller (THE club to play in Norway) and the return of Stage Dolls. As perfect as it can be on a snowy, cold night in March. The expectations were high, and I met a lot of metal heads from way back. We all found our way back home for this night with our past, reliving glorious tales from the ’80s and ’90s, and to support a band that have meant a lot to Norwegian rock fans. Stage Dolls have been the most successful Norwegian rock band ever (some say they sold a lot more records than TNT, by the way …), and their music is timeless. Tonight, they played songs from their entire career, and boy — do they have a lot of great songs! Check out their new “best of” record (a double disc, remastered), called Good Times: The essential Stage Dolls, for proof.

Famous for their live concerts, they had no trouble getting our attention with the opener, “Stand By You,” sporting wide grins and striding across the stage, riffing like there was no tomorrow. A huge roar welcomed them, and Torstein Flakne expressed his amazement of having sold out Rockefeller tonight. They sure as hell were not going to disappoint us, and launched straight into the American hit single, “Love Cries!” Of course we dug that, and the place was already cooking to the music. It was going to be a long night, so they played a couple of slow songs, including a touching “Hard to Say Goodbye.” The lighters came out once again,(last used in the ’80s …), generating a special atmosphere, as the crowd sang along with Torstein. Goosebump-time.

Picking up the pace again, they played “Good Times,” as well as their new radio-single, “You’re the One.” The sing-a long continued with “Magic,” and I won’t disagree! The concert was well under way! “Left Foot Boogie” was next up, including some madness from hardworking bassist Terje Storlie, as well as excellent drumming from drummer, Morten Skogstad. He’s a former TNT drummer, but has been a member of Stage Dolls for 10 years now. Being fans of Bad Company, they also performed “Shooting Star,” and it was a real treat. That song is also included on their latest best of, so check it out. “Ten Tons of R & R” reappeared, and it’s still a cool song! Originally on their debut album from 1985, it still sounds like it could have been recorded this year. Next up were another great song from their Stage Dolls album, “Ammunition,” and the crowd loved every minute of it. Flakne introduced the next song, and it was one for the ladies – “Sorry is All I Can Say.” Needless to say, the lighters were back in force, and the sold out crowd sang every word with Flakne.

The band halted for a moment, as Torstein Flakne disappeared for a while (technical difficulties?), leaving Terje Storlie and Morten Skogstad to entertain the 1300 plus crowd. A delighted bassist smiled intensely when Flakne reappeared to continue the show, after 10 minutes of various jokes and jamming riffs.

They geared up again with “Money,” followed by another crowd favourite, “Commandos.” Imagine the reaction when they played one of their best loved songs, “Love Don’t Bother Me.” A really special performance, from both the band and the audience. I’ve seldom experienced such an intense feeling of joy, just BEING at a concert. “Wings of Steel” was equally heavy and moody, and the band finished in style with the triple jammy of: “Still in Love,” “Soldiers Gun” (Johnny B. Good or something …it doesn’t really count) and the Warren Zevon classic “Lawyers, Guns and Money!” To say that the crowd loved this concert would be an understatement.

This was a night that will be remembered by everyone in the audience, and I think that even the band will give this night a couple of extra points. Thank you for coming back, thanks for the memories, and here’s to the future!

P.s : Have I ever been to a better concert at Rockefeller? Never.


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