Picnic concert? Why not?

Árstíðir – Victoria Theatern Malmö, April 30th, 2016

So there I was sitting at my table at Victoria Theatern, Malmö during the mid-concert break, minding my own business (i.e. editing pictures) when this other photographer came up to me and the following conversation happened: “Are you the wife or girlfriend of anyone?” “No.” “Are you crew?” “No, I’m a fan. I just follow them around” “So you are not with any of them?” “No!” Really, how many time of saying “no” does it take? I don’t mind when people do not get what I do, but I really don’t feel the need to explain it to them. So if I, or my actions do not fit your narrow worldview, maybe you should just seek conversation elsewhere. Yep, I was annoyed, but that could not keep me from enjoying the concert. It was amazing. The venue was a beautiful theater, the sound was great and even the fact that people were allowed to bring their own food and have a picnic did not bother me.

Getting to Malmö was surprisingly easy if a bit delayed by the Swedish border being closed and therefore a necessary detour via Copenhagen airport. I arrived to beautiful weather and enjoyed walking around for a bit. Didn’t have time to see much, but know I want to go back there eventually to see more. The theater was easy to find and only a short walk from my hostel. The first people I ran into were L. from St. Petersburg and her parents. They had come via car and ferry and were exhausted after the long trip. When the doors opened and I was shown to my table I was amazed. I was sitting right at the stage. It had not looked that close on the seating chart when I bought the ticket. Perfect! 😀

This was a so-called picnic concert, i.e. people were allowed to bring food and drinks to the theater and they did. I watched in awe how well prepared some people were compared to my sandwich and cider. They had wine, salads, bread and other goodies. Everyone chatted excitedly while they ate, but also everyone was done before the concert started. That came unexpected to me, I had feared people would eat through the performance, but nobody did. They were too busy listening. 🙂

The guys mixed up the usual order of songs and started with ‘Someone who cares’ – an indication that something might have gone awry with the effects they need for ‘Himinhvel’. That song was second though. 🙂 They were happy to be back and I wondered how many people had seen them at this theater the last time around. No matter if new audience or old, everyone seemed to like what they heard. 🙂 There was a lot of laughter too, but I didn’t always know why because Ragnar was speaking Swedish a lot that night. It was interesting to hear what I believed to be familiar stories without understanding them.

With the venue being a theater the acoustics were perfect for a cappella songs and the band played a few of those, each one rewarded with loud cheers. I just closed my eyes and listened – it was beautiful. After ‘Þér ég unni’ Daníel told us it means “though I love” in translation and mentioned the ‘Verloren Verleden’ project. There was some banter about everyone from Iceland coming to Sweden bringing home a little bit of the country with them. 😀 All the other songs were beautiful too. Especially all the harmony singing was something else that night. It was the perfect atmosphere to put me in the mood for the music and it carried me safely through the evening. <3 The wonderful emotional roller-coaster of ‘Sunday Morning’, ‘Systir’ and ‘Nú gleymist ég’ brought the first set to a close and I needed some time to catch my breath and recover before enjoying the break. :’)

The second set started with ‘Silfurskin’ and immediately everything I might have worried about during the break was forgotten. It’s just one of those songs that always make me smile and almost as often brings tears to my eyes as well. ‘Ljoð í sand’ still felt a bit strange without Kyle’s singing, but somehow the different treatment it got with him on the vocals revived the song for me and I was enjoying it again. It was one of my early loved, then felt like having been played too much and now was just right again. 🙂

For some songs the guys didn’t say anything at all whereas they were unusually talkative for others, telling stories. ‘Heiðin’ brought the story of being written for a contest of bringing back hope after the financial crisis in Iceland. There were jokes too, i.e. the band was in a great mood and it was infectious. The audience was laughing a lot and hanging on to their every word. So did I, forgetting my surroundings time and time again. 🙂 I even loved ‘Heyr, hymna smiður’ that night – it was just amazing, taking me back to the first time I heard it in Vilnius in 2012, which I believe was also the first time Árstíðir performed it live.

This time around, before ‘Shine’, Ragnar expanded on the trip to Mars story and he did it in English. It was a lot longer than usual and started with him saying that songs always have a reason to be written and with he was going through a rough patch in his life and looking for metaphors to write about ending with listing the things he thought he would miss. The version of the song was great! With ‘You again’ and finally ‘Shades’ the second set came to an end, leaving room for only one more song – a lovely rendition of ‘And so it goes’. Thus the concert ended as perfectly as it had started. <3

The night didn’t end when the concert did, in fact it drew on rather long from hanging out at the venue after all the way to hitting several bars. L. and family left at the second one, I went home from the third. It was enough for me then. Even the best nights have to end somewhere. 🙂

Setlist:

Someone who cares
Himinhvel
Things you said
Moonlight
Á meðan jörðin sjefur
Þér ég unni
Orð að eigin vali
Sunday Morning
Systir
Nú gleymist ég

Silfurskin
Ljoð í sand
Við dagsins hnig
Land míns föður
Heiðin
You just have to know of me
Heyr, hymna smiður
Shine
You again
Shades

And so it goes

pictures of this concert

Árstíðir spring tour: 11 concerts down, 9 to go, next stop: Prague

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