oh you’re so gorgeous jens

Paradiso, Amsterdam
05.08.2010

oh you’re so gorgeous jens

That was the subject of the e-mail I sent to Jens Lekman a few hours before the gig. I sent the email to ask Jens whether I could meet him for a while and give him a copy (actually my one and only copy) Bystanders zine with his album review in it. 

It was Bo (Yudi) who wrote the review, and perhaps if it wasn’t because of him I would not know the beautiful and melancholic music of Gotheborg-born Jens Lekman. I will tell more about my email later, now about the concert first. 

Maarten and I arrived at Paradiso at around 8, and we were a bit surprised that there were chairs for people to sit on. Fortunately there was also a space to stand so we stood right behind the last chair, which I think was the best spot to take photos 😉 

The Blow (a.k.a. Khaela Maricich) was the opening act and she, with a strong American accent sang minus one to the already recorded indie electronic kind of music. She also presented a monologue, a story about a very popular girl/singer who asked Khaela to make a song for her. I didn’t really get the end of the story thou, and I also forgot what actually she was talking about.. I really should have written this blog straight away after watching the concert 😐

the blow

But anyway, Jens Lekman came to the stage at around eight, and I got really enthusiastic. He opened the performance with “Golden Key”, and Golden Key was actually as part of the merchandise sold during the tour. Jens and his band also had the golden keys as pendants.


The next song was “The Opposite of Hallelujah”, a really nice and cheerful song (musically) – contrary to the lyrics thou, where at the end of the song Jens played imaginary bells to the sound of the glockenspiel. 


the opposite of hallelujah

Apart from “The Opposite of Hallelujah”, most of the songs were taken from the 2007 released “Night Falls over Kortedala”, including “And I Remember Every Kiss”, “Into Eternity”, “Your Arms Around Me”, “Into Eternity”, “Sipping on A Sweet Nectar”, and “A Postcard to Nina”. 

multi-jens

The best moment was during “Sipping on a Sweet Nectar”, where Jens and his band stretched their arms as if they were flying, as if you were watching his video where Jens flew across Australia. 

sipping on a sweet nectar

The stage was quite full that night. There were a total of eight people, including Jens Lekman himself, a bassist, a violinist, a pianist, an electronic music programmer (oh I always had no idea how to describe them in one word),  two saxophonists (one of them also played accordion, and they played recorders for “Into Eternity”), and a drummer. 


Jens said that they were musicians from all over the world, including Sweden, United States, and Australia. Jens was originally from Gotheborg, Sweden, he lived in New York for some time, and now he resides in Australia. So that explained the multicultural band members 😉 

“Night Falls over Kortedala” was released in 2007 and ever since then Jens had already written some new songs, which he played them that night. I really really love “The End of the World is Bigger than Love”, a song which you could actually download for free in his website. I couldn’t get this song out of my head for days and I remember that every time Maarten played this song on his iTunes, I always wanted to play along with my egg-shaker.

 

Other new songs played were “Golden Key”, “I’m The Dandruff on your Shoulder”, and “A Handful of Feathers”. The later was in reaction to Tracey Thorn’s song “Oh, The Divorces?”, which has the following lyrics: 

Oh Jens, oh Jens
Your songs seem to look through a different lens
You’re still so young
Love ends just as easy as it’s begun

 Jens also played some classic songs, which were highly anticipated by his fans in Paradiso that evening. These classics include “A Sweet Summer’s Night on Hammer Hill” and “Black Cab”; both received warm applause from the audience. 

Unfortunately, some of classics I wished to hear like “You Are the Light (by Which I Traveled into This and That)”, and “A Higher Power” were not played, but I do admit that my heart got completely hysterical when “Maple Leaves” was played at the end of the encore, to close the concert. For me it was the sweetest song ever created (especially if you consider silly –in an adorable way– lyrics is sweet instead of *uhm* silly (blush)). 

maple leaves

The other song played during the encore was “A Postcard to Nina”, where Jens slowly told the story about meeting Nina and her father in Berlin. I remember I had athis picture in my head when he was telling this story (which was also in the song) where he met Nina’s big muscular German father as they were having dinner with her family in her parents’ apartment. 

The concert ended after a total of 15 songs being played on stage. I was still shivering after the Maple Leaves, and I talked to Maarten that maybe we could wait a while just in case Jens would come to the stage after the performance. I had my Bystanders zine with me and I really wanted to give it to him. However, being afraid of I would not be able to meet him, I asked one of the crew to give it to Jens. 

However, patience was indeed a virtue. After about half an hour I saw him walking around the stage, to take his guitar and other equipment. I used that chance to meet him, and he already had Bystanders in the pocket of his blazer. I then asked for an autograph and a bit later after a photo with him, which I considered one of the most memorable moments in my life 🙂 When he was about to sign the setlist, I asked whether he could put my name there. He asked my name, and since it was rather difficult name to pronounce, he asked me to write my name on his hand. 

me with jens, whee-hooo!
thanks to maarten for taking this pic 🙂


And the next day, he replied my email:

 

thanks for the fanzine oxalis
your name is still on my hand.
yours,
jens 

 

P.S.: The setlist was not his by the way, and it seemed that Jens did not need a setlist on stage. One of the stage crew whom I asked for a setlist that might be somewhere on the stage said, “I don’t think there’s a setlist. That guy is professional, he didn’t need one”. 

But still I was so very excited to have his autograph! 

thank you jens!

more photos can be found here

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