Finland’s bestselling rapper, Cheek, performed two nearly-sold out shows at Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium on Friday and Saturday. The concerts attracted nearly 80,000 people, shattering previous records for Finnish artists. Cheek mixes high-energy electronic pop with growly rap interludes, typically celebrating his glamorous lifestyle.
Last summer, Cheek attracted criticism from ex-culture minister Paavo Arhinmäki, but praise from then-foreign trade minister Alexander Stubb via his Twitter account. This weekend the prime minister has not commented on Cheek's latest success, dubbed "Cheekend" in the Finnish media.
Click on the image above for an aerial view of Friday evening’s show – where all media photography and recording was banned.
The landmark arena was built in 1938 for the 1940 Summer Olympics, although it did not actually host the Games until 1952. The venue has also housed the 1983 and 2005 Athletics World Championships, as well as several European Championships.
In recent decades, the venue has also been the scene of many concerts by international megastars, including five appearances by the Rolling Stones, four by Bruce Springsteen and three by Iron Maiden.
Ear-melting sound levels
Residents of neighbouring areas and ticketholders were warned in advance of noise levels from the concerts, which were estimated to be around 100 decibels at a distance of 50 metres from the stage – while sound levels of 90 dB can damage the hearing.
The staging was also on a scale not seen for a domestic artist, complete with massive light show and pyrotechnics. Thirty-seven lorry loads of equipment was brought in, some of it hired from the UK and other Nordic countries, as domestic suppliers could not provide enough gear. Some 700 people worked at the stadium each evening.