IF you want to see a band at their best, it’s usually best not to catch them while they’re engaged in the slog of a vast worldwide tour.
Often, though, you’re left with no choice, as was the case last night, when Klara and Johanna Söderberg’s Stay Gold extravaganza finally called at Newcastle’s City Hall.
It was their first-ever visit to the North East, on their latest string of sold-out UK dates.
This, in turn, was part of a wider cycle that’s already taken them around America and mainland Europe.
And with Australia and their native Sweden still to come,, you assume fatigue will, at some stage, begin to show its head.
Tonight, though, the sisters were bright and energised, revelling in a polished and accomplished stage production and airing songs which show no sign of losing their sparkle.
Led mostly by younger sibling Klara, the duo’s crystal-clear voices and superlative harmonies shone majestically in a set dominated by Stay Gold and 2012’s predecessor The Lion’s Roar.
That was a smart move, since there’s nary a weak moment on either.
This, then, made for an evening heavy on heartfelt yet accessible folk-pop, from the deceptively chirpy Blue to the mid-tempo magic of Shattered & Hollow and the sun-kissed single Master Pretender.
Assured, refined and rehearsed, any rough edges have been ironed out by months of constant touring.
And while the pair remain a touch uncertain between songs, any doubts dissolve the moment they open their mouths to sing.
At one stage they even had the confidence to unplug, performing poignant early cut Ghost Town centre-stage without the aid of mics, in what proved to be the night’s most rapturously-received moment.
They even fitted in a glowing rendition of Jack White’s Love Illumination and an equally vivid interpretation of Simon & Garfunkel’s America; proof that amid their growing stature the Söderbergs remain humble to their influences.
With packed concert halls and an unlikely Brit nomination in the bag, however, these Swedes now qualify as a big deal in their own right.
With performances of this calibre, and stamina to burn, it’s difficult to see their star waning any time soon.