Freezing at church, too much violin and drunk selfies

Árstíðir – Stadtkirche Jacobus, Ilmenau; September 26th, 2014

Ilmenau was the concert for which I had had so many hopes and expectations, that they were nearly impossible to fulfill. It was one of the few Árstíðir concerts in Germany I had missed the previous year and the one I regretted missing the most. Then, the concert had been a turning point in the tour and the band spoke so highly of it that I knew I had to be here this time around. It was also the last concert I got to share with my tour family so I hoped for them it would be something special. Now, the day after, only half awake and wondering if I might have been dreaming, I can say that my expectations were not only met but exceeded and the night as indeed a special one. Absolutely everything about it was beautiful.

My day started early with a long train ride ahead of me and after several delays and a long walk up the hill to my hotel, I was ready to call it a day. I had planned for a workout and a nap upon arrival, but barely had time left for a shower and some dinner before I needed to leave. All that made me dislike the city already and the fact that there was going to be a support act did not lift my spirits either. Sure, I have seen some amazing support acts at times, but there and then I did not want to see and hear anyone else play. When I met A. and K. at the venue, especially A. was in a subdued mood because it was their last concert on this tour. Having been there many times I knew exactly how she felt.

It took a long time before they opened the church doors and I joked around with the organizers and helpers about no concert being a good one if it starts on time. There was a lot of confusion because apparently a paper had announced the concert was supposed to start at 7 when this was just the time the doors were supposed to open. While waiting I got instructed about the best spot to take pictures and even was brought a cookie. Nice 🙂 Finally inside, we first noticed how cold the room was, much colder than outside. It looked really nice though and we secured a good spot at the front.

After a while an announcer told us a little bit about Golden Apes, the first band of the night. I guess there music can be classified as goth rock. Either way, they had some really nice melodies and I liked the singer’s voice. It was good stuff and soon I didn’t mind the support act any more, but enjoyed them instead. Very listenable music and a good fit for Árstíðir. During the break after their set I contemplated getting some mulled wine outside, but we were not allowed to bring drinks into the church anyway and I wanted to keep to my “no alcohol before or during a concert” rule. Thus, braving the cold was the only option.

We passed the time chatting, until the announcer appeared on stage again. Time to sit down, shut up and listen. She told us a bit about Árstíðir before she asked them on stage. among other things she was musing about her difficulties pronouncing the band name – tell me about it! 😉 The started with ‘Heiðin’ and not only did the room become quiet within moments, it also felt a lot warmer all of a sudden – they just made us forget about the cold. they made me forget about taking pictures too, at least for a little while and I enjoyed the beautiful acoustics in the church. Yet, the lights were amazing too so eventually I got up and walked around for a new perspective, always trying not to disturb people so much. Unfortunately, one of the other photographers was not as mindful. The guy set his camera on multi-shot mode and just kept “firing away” during ‘Heyr, himna smiður’ should have been kicked out. If looks could kill, he would have dropped dead anyway after one glance from Karl. However, he seemed completely oblivious to the noise he was making. 🙁 Even this could not distract me for long though and soon I was once again overwhelmed by the power of the music.

As opposed to the two set they had played at all the other concerts, they guys only had one set today. Thus, there was no escaping the emotional rollercoaster this time around. Luckily the new songs were not all in the same place on the setlist so we occasionally got a chance to breathe in-between. I didn’t cry, but the music still tore me apart that night. The acoustics in the church were just perfect and every song sounded amazing. Several times I shared a look with K. next to me only to see that she was just as much in awe as I was. A. was sitting over on the other side, but whenever I saw her, she looked pretty lost in the music as well.

The lights in the church were great too, whoever took care of those, really knew how to do their job. 🙂 Time passed too quickly and seemed to go even faster than it did at the other concerts. Most details escape me right now, but one funny incident I remember happened right at the beginning. Karl had a setting wrong for his violin and when he corrected it, it resulted in everyone having too much violin in their monitors. Thus, Daníel nicely asked “Mr. Soundman” to turn it down, since he was drowning in it and suggested to play something without violin next. Karl joked that he could feel the love to which Ragnar responded by quoting “Too much love will kill you”. 🙂

Of course there were stories again, for ‘The Cannon’ and ‘Shine’ and no matter how often they get told I don’t tire of them. It’s fun to hear how they change just a little bit every night. 🙂 There were so many more songs I would have wanted to hear, but suddenly it was time for ‘Nú gleymist ég’ and ‘Shades’ already. It felt as if the concert had hardly started. Of course people wanted more and the guys gladly came back for encores. As always it was so much fun to watch people’s faces during those final songs, especially when the band walked out into the audience to perform the last song standing among them. Happy faces everywhere. 😀

Once the concert was over we hung out to talk to them and say goodbye. Especially A. was so sad to leave. However, the evening was not over yet and the guys asked if we wanted to come along to a bar for their after show party. Of course we agreed and it turned out to be a fun night full of good conversations. Around 2 in the morning, they left us, because they had an early bus call. We hugged each one of them as they left. A., K. and I finished our drinks, spontaneously decided we needed a picture and took some selfies, before we left as well. They walked me all the way back to my hotel where we hugged a few more times before finally saying goodbye. What a great night, it is going to be so weird to see the next concerts on my own. I miss you already, hope we can repeat this soon.

Setlist

Heiðin
You just have to know of me
Silfurskin
The Cannon
Orð að eigin vali
Someone who cares

Moonlight
Day & Nights
Heyr, himna smiður
You again
Shine
Nú gleymist ég
Shades

Encore:
Ljoð í sand
Kill us
Because

pictures of this concert

Árstíðir Germany Tour 2014: 7 concerts down, 3 to go. Next stop: Schopfheim

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