Ragnar Ólafsson – Meskalina, Poznań; Mai 31st, 2017
Before going there I had heard the venue in Poznań was a nice one and that was an understatement. I really liked it – good size, good lights, good sound. The audience was great as well, attentive and appreciative. So far, this was the best concert on the tour, but of course it was only the second one. 🙂
It was a long trip to Poznań, because I had chosen the regional train where I did not need to change, but eventually I got there. The city was lovely and greeted me with sunshine, so I spent some time walking around before going to the venue. When I arrived, Ragnar was still soundchecking so I had to wait to get in. Scored a nice table at the front and was happy that they sold real tickets with a picture on it. After all the shows I’ve seen, I still love to have a souvenir from each one. 🙂 Happily I noticed the two microphones and piano on stage. So there was going to be a guest singer again and we might finally get to hear ‘Red Wine’. <3
Shortly after 7 Ragnar walked on stage and started with ‘More will come along’, catching me by surprise because I had counted on ‘SSDD’. It worked very nicely as a first song, immediately putting me in a good mood. The sound was amazing, very well balanced. 🙂 After the song he asked who spoke Icelandic and there was actually a show of hands somewhere. 🙂
We got the perfect mix of songs, stories and banter that night. After ‘Wine’ he got extra applause for saying thank you in Polish (dziękuję). He had to read from his hand, but it worked. 😀 That lead to some banter with Bartek about word about teaching each other useless and dirty Icelandic words in return for possibly useful Polish ones and one that Ragnar had already forgotten. When Bartek said it everyone laughed, but I still don’t know what it means. Maybe I’ll find out before the tour is over. 😉
He asked us if we wanted to hear a cute or a laid back song next and the woman to my right decided on “cute” so we got ‘War’ since it was written on ukulele. It took a little finding the right spot for the capo, but then it worked beautifully. I am guessing the laid back one might have been ‘Vegetate’, but I never asked. The song worked better for me than it had the previous day. There were never any doubts that Ragnar could pull this off without a band, I just had no idea how. I really enjoyed the hearing the songs take on a new form.
For ‘Dozen’ local singer Dominika Barabas joined him on stage and she did one hell of a job. I was really impressed with her singing. She has a lovely voice and the way she sang everything was perfect as well. It reminded me very much of how Rosa sings the song. It was amazing! The rest of the audience agreed with me. 🙂 ‘Relations’ was played on the piano this time. I like that better than the guitar version and the sing along worked well too, after and initial misunderstanding about when we were supposed to sing. I sang along the entire time anyway, quietly though, because this is such delicate music.
Before ‘Urges’ he wondered if Poznań knew heartbreak too, because “I always try to travel to find the one place in the world that has only happy love stories for everybody, where everything works out. A place with only happy endings, but I have not found it so far.” If we had only happy endings though, what would all the great songs be written about? 😉 He talked about the industrial areas in Łódź and the many brick building, using that as a transition ‘Every Brick in Manhattan’, which he wrote after wondering which number it would be if one counted them all. I am falling in love with this song. It feels quite light and happy compared to the melancholia and sadness of so many others. <3 By the end of the tour I should know the words too.
When Ragnar mentioned it, I remembered that Árstíðir had played in Poznan before. I wasn’t there, but I remember telling M. she should go. He asked us if we wanted the long or short story for ‘The Cannon’ and we decided on long. So it turned into something I had not heard yet. Because before the shooting a gun in the desert and getting hit in the head by the scope part there was a whole scene about being out at a bar and suddenly everyone having guns. Also the whole shooting story got much longer. Nice! 😀 There were a few people in the audience who knew Árstíðir too, probably from that concert a few years back. It makes me happy to have the song on the setlist since the band has not played it in quite some time.
Everyone agreed when Ragnar asked if we should invite Dominika back, but she wasn’t in the room at that point so he was first going to play another song. She returned though and we got to hear a stunning version of ‘Petals’, giving me goosebumps. It is by far my favorite song on the album. Everything about it is perfect. <3
It was back to the piano for ‘Red Wine’, a song I had never heard live and always wanted to. It was beautiful! The main set ended with ‘Scar’, the part of the show where we had to clap for more. Everyone played along nicely too, yelling “Noo!” when he said it was gonna be the last song. Ragnar declared “it’s a grinning mouth of a healing scar humming to the sound of a banjo guitar” as the most morbid line he has ever written. It is a great line too and the song is a good show closer, going out with a bang, because it is so powerful. 🙂
We cheered and clapped for more and he asked us how many songs we wanted to hear, one two or three. I yelled “five”, but “it’S not an auction” and he decided on three for now, starting with ‘SSDD’. I had thought, ‘Sleep now’ might be off the setlist, but we got to hear it now, with Ragnar explaining the song a little bit and then declaring that he is a nice guy really. 😉 ‘Bravery’ closed the set, but we didn’t think that was enough and called him back to the stage. When he said he was out of original songs I mentioned he had not played ‘A Prayer’ yet, but he did not want to do that and gave us his version of ‘Where the wild Roses grow’ – fine with me. It is such a great murder ballad. People still yelled for more, but that was it. Best show so far. 😉
We went out too and had a good time at the bar before I called it a night. That was fun, see you tomorrow. 🙂
Urges tour Poland: 2 gigs down, 12 to go. Next stop: Konin
More will come along
Every Brick in Manhattan
Where the wild Roses grow