CLEVELAND The famed Swedish Lapland group started their Ohio tour with a highly entertaining evening at the worlds longest bar in the Beer Barrel Saloon on South Bass Island. All bar stools were sold out when the first drink orders were taken from the sober but expectant audience, bathed in the soft
green and red glows of the northern spot lights.
The suspense heightened as Oscar, the youngest of the performing Fjärtstjärt family, carefully placed out a line of horizontally striped crystal glasses along the 405 foot bar. The crowd started applauding when brothers Gustav and Knut took up positions behind the bar with liquor and chaser bottles in their hands, and the full house jumped to their feet when Papa Bert entered and held a microphone near the first glass. The roar increased as Oscar came back lugging buckets of ice cubes, and his sister Eva made her graceful entrance on the bar counter.
Then Bert put a finger to his lips, the saloon became quiet as the midnight sun, and Gustav and Knut began quickly pouring measured drinks and cocktails along the row of glasses. Their father swiftly followed, nimbly plucking ice cubes from a bucket to rhythmically drop them one at a time in the proper goblet. Right behind and above him, Eva kept the beat by tap dancing abreast the beverage row while crooning the first of such Swedish classics as Dancing Queen, Dressed for Success and the lusty, Lapland folk song If I had a Screwdriver.
As the talented family proceeded down the bar, the clink of each ice cube hitting a precisely filled glass produced a crystal clear note, and a possible second or third cube would give a higher tone. The patrons stamped their feet to Evas warm vocal accompanied by her toe-drumming and the clear melodic ring of frozen water hitting glasses of Black Russian, White Lady and un-iced tea.
At the end of each song, the drinks were served and a new round prepared. Probably the most satisfied listener at this moist, musical performance was the man who downed the high-C whisky on the rocks early in the evening.