A twist of fate and a few small miracles

Árstíðir – Stallet, Stockholm; February 9th, 2015

Stockholm was the impossible gig, the one I could not possibly attend, no matter how hard I wished for it or how often I looked for flights. I was scheduled to land in Oslo at 16:30, flight time to Stockholm is one hour. The concert was announced for 19:00 and allowing for transfer times there was no way to get there that quickly. All of this is true and yet, by a simple twist of fate and sheer unbelievable luck I made it to Stockholm and only missed the first song. “HOW?“ you may ask. Let me tell you my story…

My friends A. and K. were going to Stockholm, we’d been texting back and forth and I was somewhat bummed about not being able to make it there, but after the wonderful time I’d just had in Svalbard, I had banned the thoughts from my mind and settled for going home with happy memories. My plans began to change when I got a text message from the airline that my evening flight from Oslo to Hamburg had been canceled. At first all I thought about was making it back to work on Tuesday morning so I would not lose a vacation day. I really tried being the responsible adult that I’m not. Then, when it turned out that Germanwings would rebook me on one of their own flights to Hamburg the next day, but not pay for anything else and the only possible flight home that evening was rather expensive and might not be reachable if my plane out of Longyearbyen was delayed, another thought crept into my mind: “What if…?”

So while I was at the airport I checked flights to Stockholm, but things were still the same: The flight I could reach for sure left Oslo at 19:00, landing in Stockholm one hour later and I would still have to make it to the venue. I started wondering if it was worth flying to Stockholm just to spend the night after the concert with my friends instead of being lonely at Oslo airport. Somewhere during that waiting time I remembered that the Arlanda Express only needs 20 minutes to get into the city. I checked the venue’s location and found it was roughly 4 km from the central station. Now if only the guys didn’t start at 19:00 I might have a chance. There was another band playing after all. Thus, I messaged Ragnar to find out their stage time.

For the entire flight to Oslo I tried to gather information via on board wifi, but it was impossibly slow and I gave up, leaving my browser open to the one possible flight from Oslo to Stockholm. On the bus to the gate I got the answer to my question: Two bands before, estimated stage time 20:30. My heart jumped and on the spot I decided to give it a shot. Walked directly to international transfer, opened my laptop and announced that I’d now be booking a flight to get me through the security check. It took a while to connect to wifi, but finally I had it and started booking. After ten minutes or so one of the security guys asked me if I had a boarding pass, so I answered “Not yet, but I will if you give me five minutes.” He asked to see what I was booking and was satisfied with what he saw. Got the confirmation soon after and made it through security. I’m sure they have a story to tell now. 😉

I still had 90 minutes until my flight so I wrote down the venue’s address and booked a flight to Germany for the next morning and ticket for the Arlanda Express – I love online booking. My flight was not only on time, it landed ten minutes early and despite sitting in the last row on the plane and being bussed to the terminal, I made it onto the train at 20:05. At 20:25 I hopped in a taxi and gave the driver the address. We got there about 10 minutes later, but wait – what? This place was closed. After calling Masha I realized there were two places called “Stallet” and this was the wrong one. Back into the taxi it was. Added difficulty: The right place was full and they did not want to let any more people in, but by her very own magic Masha fixed that for me. Was at the right place around 20:50, was let in through the otherwise locked door and immediately heard the music. Dropped my luggage and jacket downstairs and went in. It was a nice cozy room, seeing the guys on stage painted a huge smile on my face and soon I found myself in a hug with Masha. All was well, I had really made it!

After that song was over I made my way to the front and sat down on the floor in the middle of the chairs to my left and right. My friends K. And A. were sitting right there and greeted me warmly. My smile grew bigger – there was no other place I would have wanted to be at that moment. The room was nicely filled, but not totally packed and compared to the much larger venue and huge sound at Polar Jazz, this felt like a living room concert. It was more quiet, people really had to listen to the music and they did. It was also incredible hot in the room (at least compared to the -24 C I had felt that morning). That did not take away my enjoyment though. From the first note I heard I was caught up in the music and for the few pictures I took I really had to force myself to do it. All I wanted was sit there, listen and dream.

The whole concert was so beautiful it almost became too much to bear. Luckily the guys shared some funny stories about Svalbard and the gun policies there. Since pretty much everyone carries a gun for defense against polar bear, it is no big deal to take that on a helicopter and apparently it was only recently ruled that guns cannot be carried into the bank. 😀 There were more stories and we got some attention from the guys too. The nicest part was when Gunnar dedicated ‘You again’ to all three of us saying that they meet great people and tour and three of them were sitting right there. <3 He also took the crown for *the* killer version of ‘Nú gleymist ég’ that night, belting out every line with so much passion that it left me in awe.

All the other songs were amazing as well and I could have listened to them for hours. When they finally ended with ‘Kill us’ I did not want to move. I did of course, finally hugging my friends who were so happy I had made it and eventually saying hello to and hugging all the guys as well. 🙂 We stayed at the venue for some time before ending up at a bar, chatting and sharing stories until they closed. A last search for late night food, followed by a last goodbye hug and we parted ways. I didn’t have a place to stay, but A. and K. took me to their hostel where K. stayed up with me until they had to leave for the airport. I accompanied them to their bus, saying goodbye for the last time this weekend. Luckily we all knew it wouldn’t be long until we meet again.

Setlist

Himinhvel
Things you said
Someone who cares
Ljóð í sand
Á meðan jörðin sefur

Moonlight
Shine
Nú gleymist ég
You Again
Shades

Kill Us

It was a long and winded trip back home from there, but it was worth every cent spent and every kilometer traveled. These memories will last me a lifetime. Thank you, K., thank you A. and last but not least, thank you Árstíðir for one of the most intense and amazing weekends of my life. I love you more than words can say.

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