Ragnar Ólafsson – Herbateca, Mikołow; September 21st, 2019
Day two of my short tour with Ragnar and David took me to Mikołow, yet anther city I didn’t know existed. This concert put it on the map for me though. Everything about it was right and beautiful and exactly the way it should be from the setlist to the venue. They guys played and sang their hearts out in front of an appreciative audience and Edyta who supported them on the duets is one of the best singers I’ve heard so far. The night left me really happy.
Getting to Mikołow took many hours due to a long layover in Wrocław, but I made it there eventually. The hotel was nice and I didn’t feel like going out so I rested until I deemed it time to go. The venue is a café so I knew it was open and it would not matter if I arrive dearly. The guys were just waiting for their dinner as I arrived and when I saw the yummy looking pasta, I ordered a plate too. It was as good as it looked. They also had a huge selection of tea – my kind of place. Spent the time chatting with David, who was feeling much better than the previous day and Ola, who was taking care of them for this part of the tour. We decided we could easily move into he cafe and be happy. Raggi was headachy and needed time to himself so I left him alone. There was a funny moment when Ol gave him blue colored Ibuprofen and he made a joke about Viagra. Both David and I wondered aloud how he could possibly know that Viagra looked exactly like this. 😀 One by one the owner, the sound guy and the night’s singer arrived so I got to watch them soundcheck. A. got there too and we took our place at the very front, since all the tables were reserved. Fine with we. 🙂
Soon the place was packed and excited chatter ensued until the café’s owner got on stage and made a long introduction. Right from the start I noticed how good the sound was. The audience kept really quiet too and I tried out the silent feature on my camera. 🙂 he first songs were the same as always, with ‘Wine’ unplugged being played next to me. Oh the benefits of being front row. I loved it. Somehow the mood was much more relaxed than the previous night. Maybe the full house helped.
I had to laugh when Raggi announced that the next song was about heartache. Really? Edyta did a brilliant job on ‘Dozen’ and later on ‘Petals’ too. Bartek always manages to find great singers to sing the duets, but I found her especially great. Her voice was beautiful and she subtly made the songs her own. They also worked with a bit f reverb which fit well. For ‘Dozen’, David was playing a new mini-keyboard they had brought on tour. It brought the song closer to the recording.
They discussed the next song and pointed out that they speak “Sworsk”, a mixture of Swedish and Norwegian. “Makes perfect sense!” David added. Next was the guitar version of ‘Relations’. It has been a while since I’ve heard that and it worked really well. We managed a nice sing along too. I wasn’t filming, so for once I could sing with everyone else. 😉 Raggi explained how silence is an element in most of his songs and how there is so much meaning to it. ‘Dragonfly’ made a reappearance – I had to grin because I am sure I heard David say “Let’s do ‘Firefly’.” 😀 It is a beautiful song and I love the melody. Yet the lyrics don’t speak to me much. Still I was happy to hear it again. It felt the same as the previous night, but I am sure there were changes since.
“Between the beautiful view I had and the (bad) alcohol this song was born” ended the introduction to ‘Bravery’ – I like how it has changed from a travel story to musings about what distilled Angst would taste like if Franz Kaffka was a brewing it. They delivered an amazing version of the song too. Especially David was on fire! It made the break that followed even harder to endure.
The previous night Raggi had asked me if I’d heard ‘Lost Creek’ yet and I hadn’t, so I’d asked him to play it. He didn’t promise, but David and he soundchecked something I didn’t know yet just before they retreated backstage. Thus, I had high hopes and my camera ready. They started the second set without any announcement or much ado and I immediately knew it was this was ‘Lost Creek’. The lyrics hit me in the gut right away: “when the price we pay is to be around to enjoy another day when our loved ones passed away”. There is so much truth in that. Among the new songs I have heard, this instantly became my favorite. <3 Raggi told us that it was different every time it was played and David added that the song has written itself, but through playing it, they have to find the right sound.
Every time they asked a question like “Who has seen us play before” A. and I smiled at each other. Of course. I would expect everyone to raise their hand when asked if they have ever been heartbroken though… ‘Urges’ was gorgeous with a new intro I’d already noticed the previous night. ‘Scar’ brought back the story about cassette tapes being recorded of Raggi when he was young and how he is still thinking about the same topics. 😀 The song was perfect, except for a few people who didn’t realize that it wasn’t over yet and clapped early. It happens. We would not let them go after ‘Needle and Thread’, loudly demanding more.
We were lucky enough to get three more songs as an encore, because two just were not enough. 😉 We got the beautiful ‘Örlög’ first, then ‘Southern Nights’ to balance the mood. Both happened with a great sing-along. People always get a little scared when he asks them to sing along in Icelandic until he says the words to sing are “la la la”. 🙂 On both songs A. and I were singing before anyone else did . 🙂 They only wonted to play these two, but it did not take long to convince them to come back. So they played us the blues with ‘Muddy Waters’. In the end, Raggi even changed the lyrics from “swimming in the muddy watres” to “playing at the Herbateca” and people clapped along. Both guys seemed happy afterwards and the audience had enjoyed it as well.
A few people came to chat, then the place slowly cleared out. I told them I’d loved it and hugged both of them. Because it felt like the right night to do it, I asked them for a picture and got a great one. <3 Soon we said goodbye and made our way back home. A.’s hotel wasn’t far from mine so we could walk together. Goodbye, see you next time.
Needle and Thread