Windmachines were firmly placed on stage, when one of the biggest Swedish Eurovision stars, Carola Häggkvist, performed in front of an enthusiastic audience at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki. Carola still has a strong fanbase in Finland, especially among the Swedish-speaking population. She gave the concert as part of her summer tour Min bästa sommar.
Carola’s concert was full of unforgettable moments, and we got to hear many of her biggest hits, naturally including all her three Eurovision entries. She started the show with ‘Evighet’, the Swedish version of her 2006 entry ‘Invincible’, which secured her fourth place in the contest in Athens that year.
Carola as well as her band and backing singers were dressed in rokokoo style outfits. Carola revealed she had been wearing the same dress in the royal wedding for Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, in 2010.
Hits for over 30 years
Carola was only 16 when she started her career in 1983, participating in Melodifestivalen, and became incredibly popular in Sweden and thanks to Eurovision Song Contest that year, also in the rest of Europe with her entry ‘Främling’. Now she performed the song with a quiet start, which soon built up to the wonderful classic pop song. The audience knew the lyrics by heart!
Carola also performed her 1991 winning song, ‘Fångad av en stormvind’ with the almost original choreography.
There were a lot of interesting songs in Carola’s repertoire, such as ‘Gloria’, a 1979 hit for the Italian singer Umberto Tozzi (who represented Italy in the ESC in 1987 together with Raf with ‘Gente di mare’, respectively). Carola had covered the song on her first album in 1983. ‘Tell me this night is over’ is a song written by Ola Salo and was recorded by The Ark, his former band and another Swedish Eurovision act, in 2002. Carola has previously performed the song together with Ola.
The concert at Finlandia Hall proved that although Carola is known for her pop songs and ballads, she is able to perform many different musical styles. We heard rock (in her own hit ‘Runaway’), jazz and a nostalgic musical moment (‘My favorite things’ from The sound of music). Even her own hit ‘Mickey’ had a quite soulful intro.
Carola also performed some of her newer songs, such as ‘Make a change’ from 2015, during which she asked the audience to join her on stage! She also sang ‘All the reasons to live’, which she had performed at the opening ceremony of the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. The song also seemed to sum up very well the overall message that Carola wanted to give to her fans: happiness and thankfulness about life.