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The final house concert was practically at the edge of the world, in the city with the most Northern University on the planet, and practically the most Northern everything else too. We were in the arctic circle after all, 312kms in to be exact. We flew in over the ffjords, the most stunning descent I have ever seen. I was spending a few days here in Tromsø before the concert and had no idea that the day after I arrived there would be a midnight partial eclipse. Weather forcast - cloudy, but hopeful.

Tromsø is like the NYC of the arctic circle. NY state would be Troms and Manhattan would be Tromsøya connected to the Norwegian mainland, and the northern islands by two huge bridges. And also like Manhattan, Tromsøya, the small island nestled in the middle, is where it all happens.

I decided the best chance I had of seeing the eclipse was to catch the Tromsø cable car up to Mount Storsteinen. By 10.15pm there were about 60 of us, ranging from curios locals to a full on camera crew with huge lenses connected up to a computer. to capture the different stages of the eclipse. And so, there I was, nearing midnight on top of a mountain in the Arctic Circle, watching a phenomenon. 

Tromsø eclipse 

The concert here is in Julie's apartment. She grew up in the small village of Straumsbukta and the next day she had offered to take me fishing with her sister and cousin in the fjord where her parents still lived. We set sail in a rowing boat and sat for two and a half hours in the silence of this incredible landscape, with not a bad afternoon's catch in tow.

Fford fishing

Tonight was the house concert here, and the last one of the European leg of the tour. Julie's friends had come, as well as some friend's of Jeff's (our Oslo host). But there was one person who turned up who didn't know anyone else. He lived in Tromsø but had heard the music through a US website called NoiseTrade and had bought one of the few tickets we offer online. It's not always possible to do that but it's something we try to make happen for as many of the shows as possible. I like the idea of opening up your home and entertaining strangers, and also being open to be entertained, to trust those who we don't know. We have gotten very afraid in this generation to do that, to think the best of people. For some reason, maybe because we were in such a remote part of the world, or maybe because it was the final show, it meant just a little bit more when a stranger knocked on the door tonight. 

Tromø concert

03 June 2011

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