Lovely chats, happy gig and late goodbyes

Poets of the Fall – The Academy, Dublin; December 7th, 2019

In many ways the Poets of the Fall show in Dublin was a trip to the past for me and especially talking about it the next day, it brought back a lot of memories – good ones of course. It also brought together a lot of the best things you can have at their concerts: friends, fun, great music, shenanigans and a new audience to win over. The venue was alright, the crowd really got into it in the end and the guys were enjoying the show. I personally had the best spot in the house and no camera to worry about so it was just singing and jumping for me – exactly what I needed. 🙂

The day started in London after too little sleep, meeting A. at St.Pancras station to go to Gatwick together. Everything went smoothly, we caught up on everything since Lisbon, I got some sleep on the plane and once in Dublin we met G. and P. on the bus. Went to our respective hotels, met again for lunch at a lovely cafe, caught up with B. and agreed on meeting again at the venue. I got there first and immediately after I got there Jani arrived, having been out and about with his camera, asking what I was doing there already. Well… for once I was determined to be the first in line. 😉 It felt a lot like the early days, when I was almost always the first person to arrive. These days I don’t bother most of the time, because I usually don’t have pre-show passes anyway.

This time I did though and wanted my choice of a spot at the front. I knew everyone who arrived within the next hour: A. , who had bought tix for B. and me, B. and B. from the US, C. with Pam, A. and A. and so on. They opened the doors a bit early even and everything went smoothly – front row center! 😀 Since I had last been to pre show they had changed the order of things, starting with playing two songs for us. The first one was ‘Standstill’ and it made me so happy. I’d been sad when it was dropped from the setlist and getting it now was perfect. 🙂 Captain, who has nothing to do for that one, pulled out his phone and switched the light on, waving it with the melody. <3 A few of us did the same. It was lovely.

Second was ‘Stay’ – nice combination! After this, Tiia told us to move backwards for the picture and the guys all crouched down in front of us. As they were on the floor, she told us we had to move back a bit more and I joked they should try it from that position. We got the pic done eventually and it was time to get in line for autographs. I very much enjoyed talking with them again at least for a little bit. I gave Marko a belated birthday hug (of course I asked first). He asked if I’d been to London and I truthfully told him that I was at another gig that night. With Jari I talked a little about the concert he had played with Anna Puu while the others were in Spain and Portugal – 11500 people, wow! With Jaska I spoke about them conquering new audiences until Olli demanded his turn. Sorry, I didn’t fully realize I was keeping the line from moving. He wanted to know the current concert count and Captain made a note. They also inquired about Helsinki (yes, I will be there!) and then spoke about Raskas Joulu briefly. With Jani it was just a quick hello. I’d planned to ask him a camera question since we use the same dslr, but had already done that before the gig. I thanked them all too. That can never be done enough.

While waiting for the doors to open we realized there was not going to be a support act. Fine with me! People were filing in and I went to the front where I was supposed to get a photo pass. Only I didn’t, because I wasn’t on the list. I considered showing them the email I had confirming all the gigs, but decided not to. Tiia was busy and Vesa nowhere to be seen, so nobody I could ask. Since I had already noticed the lights weren’t great and wondered if I should even bother, I took this as a sign to give my camera a rest for the night and it proved to be the right decision!

It wasn’t a sold put, but nicely filled. However, I wondered how many of those people were actually Irish, because there were not many at the meet & greet and I saw so many people I knew and none of them are. We will probably never know. Earlier that day we had wondered if they ever get tired of seeing the same faces all the time, no matter where they go. I sure hope not.

At about 8:15 the show started and I had some fun moving with the music. I looked for Olli to jump during the “flying deadly high” line, because I wasn’t sure he would with the low ceiling. Of course he did and I pointed his way smiling. On the side, by the mixing desk, Glen was leaning back in an air guitar solo and Captain might have been air guitaring with him (or the latter part might have only happened in my imagination 😉 ). With ‘Locking up the Sun’ A. to my right and I were turning back time. Towards the end of the song, as I was holding out my hand, Marko held out his hand exactly opposite of mine and we did the turning in complete unison, looking at each other. I could have probably stretched a little further and locked hands, but it was perfect just the way it was. 🙂

The audience was a bit slow in their reactions. At the beginning I had the feeling that only the regulars were into the show. I know that everyone enjoys a concert differently and just because they don’t jump and scream they are not automatically hating it, but I always feel that it is a lot easier for the band to draw energy from an audience that is with them in a way that can be seen. This time it took a while, but eventually they grew louder and seemed less reserved. It helped that Marko came to the barrier often, leaned out to shake hands and sing to people. A lot if those times he did it where I stood and each time I and A. to my left made room for him, so he could reach the people behind us.

Still high from the previous weekend of gigs, I wanted to bring all that magic to Dublin too and did everything I could to make it happen, singing along at the top of my lungs and jumping all the time. On the far left, A. was jumping too and at times it was only us. Marko noticed, looking from one to the other, checking if we were still at it. 😛 It was great to be among familiar people and from time to time I looked and smiled at my friends by my side, always getting  happy smiles in return, often singing together. With the band it was the same, so much silent communication between them and the audience. <3

There wasn’t much room on the stage, the guys had to make do with the little space they had, but somehow they always manage to move around each other. At some point, Marko sat on the floor on Jani’s side, watching Olli play a solo and later during the show, I don’t remember when, I wondered where Jaska had disappeared to. i didn’t see it, but my friends told me after the show that he’d gone of stage, watching the others and taking selfies with the audience. 😀 Captain and Jari were lost in the fog again at times, but there was not as much of it as there had been in Lisbon so I could see them rock out too. It was fun watching them.

Finally, I remembered almost all of the lyrics to ‘In a perfect world’ and sang along proudly. Of course Marko was checking on me and caught me on the bit I didn’t know. He always does and it always makes me laugh. He sang to me quite a few times too and during some songs i was sharing lyrics with Olli, who always checks if I’m singing along as well. I hope I’m getting better. 😉 During ‘War’, when it was time for Jaska’s solo, Jani and MArko sat down on the stage, hugging each other tightly. Awwww! Then, at some point Jaska and Glen were showing hearts to each other – cute!

Most of the other details escape me, but I know I as happy and noticed that the band looked happy too. Marko, wis a mischievous grin, splashed water from his bottle all over the front row. I got most of the shower, but didn’t mind – it was nice and refreshing. 😀 “Is it me or is it hot in here?” – hot, not you! 😛 I have a few other random memories like Marko talking about managing to see Dublin without drowning, as musicians tend to do. If that was a pop culture reference, I didn’t get it, but it was funny nonetheless. Also, during ‘Choice Millionaire’, when Glen, Olli, Jaska and Marko did the whole hands up and down move, half of the front row went along with them and Jaska gave us a big thumbs up for it. 🙂

Somehow, we got to the encores, sang along, screamed and jumped some more. Even though I will see them again in Helsinki, just before Christmas, it somehow felt like the last show of the year and I did not want it to end. It makes me so happy to be in this zone again, where each concert feels like a blessing and I have nothing but love for the guys. My band, my tour family, my wonderful life on tour. At the end, Captain and Olli were shaking hands with most of the front row and hi-fived B. For the final picture they all sat down in front of the barrier so we would be seen as well. 🙂

On my way out, someone randomly came up to me and told me she liked my blog. Thank you! I said goodbye to Tiia, briefly talked to a few more people and then gathered with everyone else outside. we went for post gig drinks and food, having fun letting fandeer Pam try all the drinks and sharing stories. Eventually we had to say goodbye to B. and B. who had an early flight to catch. Until next time. After the restaurant closed, the rest of us went to a bar for one more drink all smiling happily. We had a fun encounter with a bunch of guys who wanted to help take a picture of our group and then decided to all be *in* the picture as well. We laughed a lot at that one. Finally more goodbyes and goodnights – it was time to go. The next day, some of us had brunch together, a lovely ending to a fun day and night. See you again next year!

Setlist

Dreaming wide awake
Locking up the Sun
False Kings
Temple of Thought
Rogue
The Sweet Escape
My Dark Disquiet
In a perfect World
War
Daze
Choice Millionaire
Late Goodbye

Diamonds for Tears
Lift
Carnival of Rust

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Árstíðir – Lux, Nijmegen; December 2nd, 2019

Árstíðir’s show in Nijmegen was a tough gig for me. Not because it was bad or because I was carrying any negative emotions with me, but because I’d just had such and amazing weekend with Poets of the Fall that I found it difficult to switch from being high on their music to something as different as Árstíðir’s. To be honest, I was a little bit scared it wasn’t going to work and I sure as hell wasn’t ready. Once again I needn’t have worried. The guys did a brilliant job and drew me in from the start. It was the perfect setlist for me and I could not stop smiling.

Still feeling dead tired from my weekend in Spain and Portugal I dragged myself to work in the morning and did my best to stay focussed for the next seven hours or so. Luckily there was enough to do so time went by quickly. After lunch there was little left to do and shortly after two I was on my way to the train station. Despite my worst fears the trip went smoothly and I made it in Nijmegen in time to check in and change before going to the venue. I was one of the first people there I believe, but there was no telling because it was a theater/cinema/concert hall and there were loads of people waiting to get in for different events. I had a drink, said hello to Gunnar and shortly after met up with C. – we chatted and waited, saw the rest of the band arrive, finally getting in and claiming our spots in front row. It was a nice concert venue, with a big stage so the guys were going to be quite far apart, i.e. it was not possible to get the microphones into one picture.

They started right on time and from the first notes of ‘Himinhvel’ I relaxed. This song has always been a good show starter and the sound was absolutely brilliant. I even loved the reverb, it was going to be great. ‘Ljoð í sand’ was next and sounded just as great. Only after that Ragnar briefly introduced the band, telling us the Christmas shows had been a tradition since 2008. He also mentioned Nivalis and how they had won and award for best album with a jury that included Tom Waits and Robert Smith. He later referred to it as Tom Waits’ favorite album which made us laugh out loud. 😀 Anyway, from that album they were going to play a few songs now, starting with ‘Passion’. It could not have been better. When it was over, C. turned to me and said “This song is starting to grow on me” – well, I have loved it from the start and happily heard it evolve since.

Speaking of “evolving”, the next song on the setlist hat done so even more since I’d first heard it at a Christmas concert years before the album. They finally put ‘Circus’ back on the set and I let out an affirmative “Yes!” at the news. I absolutely loved hearing it again and while I cannot put my finger on what the changes were, it was absolutely gorgeous. After the show Daníel said how it used to be more guitar oriented and that made me remember the early version. However, I could not recall what it sounds like on the album – guess that means I need to listen to it again. 😉

‘Bæn einstæðingsins’ was moving and they sang it beautifully. Now we were getting into Christmas song territory. Gunnar told the story of the Icelandic hermit who had written the poem the song was based on and Ragnar added how Icelandic songs often have underlying drama and sadness. I think it was here he spoke about the way music developped in Iceland and their used of the Icelandic parallel fifth, a way of singing harmonies. He got in full lecture mode and when he was done talking, Daníel, Gunnar and Ragnar gave us an example and it sounded very cool – if I am not mistake it is the song that Sólstafir used to open their show with on the last tour, i.e. they played it from tape at he beginning.

The guys gathered around the microphone at the center to treat us to a few acoustic numbers, starting with ‘Ages’. I just love the string arrangements for that song. My smile was growing bigger by the minute and by now I was really into the show, enjoying it tremendously. Having such great sound helped a lot, but it wasn’t only that, it was the fact that the band seemed really happy to be there and played their hearts out. ‘Kill us’ followed – it works amazingly in this low key acoustic version and I was glad they kept it on the set. 🙂

Ragnar told us how, when the band started, the Icelandic bank crash happened and a radio station asked for songs about hope. Even those have and undercurrent of melancholia though and if the next song made us feel hopeful, maybe we should consider moving to Iceland. They played ‘Heiðin’ for us which made C. very happy because it is her favorite song on the album – since she just did move to Iceland, maybe he was right. 😉 Either way, I enjoyed it too and I don’t always do. This night though, each version of each song seemed to be the best possible one there could be. 😀

When they announced they had only one more song in the first set I thought “Already?” but did not make the connection that it could just be a very long song until I heard “It’s called ‘Siðasta Kveðjan'”. It was my second loud “Yes!” of the night and Gunnar smiled at me. He knows how much I love that song. With it they had projections on a screen in the back and they were really fitting for the music. I closed my eyes at times as I listened and I choked up with emotions too, but the tears would not fall. I just leaned back and enjoyed the beauty of it all. <3

The second set started with just Gulliaume and Jean-Samuel playing a great classical piece. I had no idea what it was, but it showed off their skills and fit the show very well. We asked Jean-Samuel after the show and he said it was by Corelli. Ragnar joined them for the next song and it took me a moment to realize that it was ‘Órói’. I have never really cared for it on the album, but I fell in love with it then and there. How had I never realized it is that amazing? It really spoke to me and made me feel calm, which is funny, considering the title means something like “unrest”. Daníel and Gunnar came back out and sang ‘Jólin alls staðar’ on their own. I loved how they all got their moment in the spotlight that way. The song felt very classical Christmassy, almost like the stuff you’ll hear in every store in Germany starting latest in December. Daníel said that this was one of the happier Christmas songs they had. Of course they could not leave us in such a mood and added ‘Heyr, hymna smiður’ to the mix with Guillaume singing as well.

We went back to Nivalis, starting with ‘Mute’. It was perfect, as if this venue had been made for their specific sound. I really wished I’d filmed the show, but of course you could never know beforehand. ‘Things you said’ was next and I realized that was he only song that night I could have done without. I like it, I always have, but right now I just feel like I have heard it too many times. It was still a great version though. ‘Lover’ followed and made me smile again, singing along to every word. Did I already mention how good everything sounded that night?

The last song from Nivalis was my favorite, ‘While this way’. :’) It was pure perfection and I even had a singing together moment with Ragnar on this one. There are no bounds to how much I love this song – it always fits somehow. 🙂 With the announcement of the last song I did my job and said “awwwww” loudly and thy thanked me for it. Of course we could not be missing ‘Shades’ and finally we knew what the drum was for that we had been standing on Daníel’s side all night. He played it for the song and it made it sound all fresh – awesome! What a brilliant idea to add that to the song. We only wished he had turned around and not played with his back to us. 😉

Soon we had clapped them back to the stage, with standing ovations even and Gunnar conducted us, lowering his hands to make us go quiet and then raising them to make us cheer again. It worked! They choose to stand in front of all the microphones for ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’. I did my best to sing along and Ragnar really tested my lyrics knowledge, looking at me for a long time. I had to half fake it, but at least I did not fail completely. 😉 The always wonderful ‘Nú gleymist ég’ was last and I waited for the moment when Gunnar goes down to a whisper only to grow loud again right after. I love it when he does that! It was the perfect end to a perfect night and I sighed when they finally left the stage. What a beautiful show that was.

We went and said hello to them, telling each one it had been great and chatting about specific parts of the show we had liked. They wanted to know if we were going to see any more shows and were happy to hear that all their new ideas had worked out. I stole a setlist and exchanged it for some Jägermeister hot ginger that Gunnar immediately took a swig of. A few more hugs, more goodbyes and it was time to go home. See you Thursday!

Setlist

Himinhvel
Ljoð í sand
Passion
Circus
Bæn einstæðingsins
Ages
Kill us
Heiðin
Siðasta Kveðjan

Classical string piece by Corelli
Oroi
Jólin alls staðar
Heyr, hymna smiður
Mute
Things you said
Lover
While this way
Shades

Góða veislu gjöra skal
Nú gleymist ég