Fletcher was supposed to play in Stockholm in March 2020, but her show and the whole European tour were among the first Covid cancellations back then. So Europe has been waiting for Cari Fletcher for a very long time, and the emotions were high at the European tour premiere in Stockholm.
The sun was out and the concert-goers were gathering at the waterside in front of the venue (Debaser Strand) already very early in the afternoon. You could hear lots of English and Finnish spoken among the early birds, so it was evident the fans had travelled quite some distances to be able to see Fletcher.
The most ardent fans had gotten their hands on the limited Meet & Greet tickets and were let in early. The American organizers had emailed beforehand with instructions to wear facemasks regardless of local regulations. And there was to be no physical contact, no hugging, no handshakes, no nothing… The fans were of course in for a treat, when all those rules were broken and they could get a warm hug from Cari, exchange a few words with her, and get their pictures taken.
Fletcher had brought along the übercool Upsahl as support, and she opened with a high-energy half-hour set of her perfect pop tunes brimming with attitude. Personally I have a weak spot for cool girls singing about rather dark themes set to catchy melodies, sprinkled with some la-la-la’s. So check out Upsahl’s Thriving, which is a prime example of this. The crowd probably didn’t really need much warming up, but Upsahl did a great job of it.
When it was finally time for Fletcher to take to the stage, she started the evening with her most upbeat pop offerings Girls, girls, girls, Forever and Cherry. The #wlw energy was strong and the whole crowd was singing along, not just the most starry-eyed girls in the front-row. But already in the second song Cari had to stop the show as someone in the front was feeling faint. Cari personally saw to it that everybody who needed it got some water, before the show could go on.
As the show went on, it became more and more evident how much all these songs and Fletcher as an artist mean to so many people, who now found their loving tribe and a safe space at the concert. I’m pretty sure many friendships were formed that evening.
The sing-along continued from song to song (except maybe for the previously unreleased ones), and the crowd could carry on singing not just the choruses but also the verses, when Cari turned her mic to the audience. It was literally All Love all evening.
All of the S(ex) Tapes songs turned up the temperature further, and it was literally getting rather hot and sweaty in the intimate hall. Things got slightly chaotic when it was time for Cari to consensually sign some b**bs (or arms for those who thought that more appropriate), and there was some pushing and shoving to get close enough. Not sure the security guys were quite prepared for that…
The big highlight had to be Bitter, which Fletcher sent out to the world via her Insta live while the crowd was singing their lungs out. That ended the set on an extra high note, but Fletcher was of course brought back for encores. She calmed the mood down by doing her unreleased For Cari on an acoustic guitar, and ended the evening with the rather chill Healing.
It was apparent, that Cari was touched by all the love shown to her in Stockholm, and that very many in the crowd were having the time of their lives, creating memories to last a life-time.
All photos © Nina Uddin