Tea against the cold, piano songs and the best ‘Petals’ yet

Ragnar Ólafsson – Festiwal Włóczykij, Gryfino; March 3rd, 2018

The concert in Gryfino was a festival gig and therefore one of the shortest on the tour, but nonetheless it was very special. Not only was the venue really welcoming with surprisingly good light and sound and the crowd quite good for an afternoon show, but that day’s guest singer, Gosia, was the best I have heard so far and there have been a few amazing ones. She absolutely nailed both songs and had a range that blew my mind. So the duets alone made the show worthwhile and the rest of it wasn’t shabby either. Sometimes the gigs of which I expected least turnout to be the best ones. 😀

Due to the festival it was difficult to find a hotel near the venue in Gryfino so I opted for staying in Szczecin instead. The train connection was not ideal, but OK and if all else failed I could always take a taxi. Unfortunately I had to leave Wrocław at 5:30 am to catch the train to Gryfino that I wanted to catch. The next one would have brought me there at the last minute and I was too nervous about doing that. So I arrived, found the pub and had time to kill. Hence I went for pizza. At the same place was a woman having tea and I was a little surprised when she walked over to the pub with me just before the guys arrived. Turns out she was that day’s guest singer. The pub staff welcomed us, handed out tea and I did not even have to pay for the gig. Nice. So I got to sit in a warm spot (instead of standing outside in -10 degrees), drink tea and watch sound check. 😀

By the time the show started, the small room was filled with people. The guys stepped on stage, Ragnar introduced himself and to everyone’s surprise there was one guy who raised his hand when he asked who spoke Icelandic. He even asked at one point for the announcement to be repeated inIcelandic. The trio of ‘SSDD’, ‘Wine’ and ‘Deva’ has proven to be a good start to the set and worked well this time around too. It works well to ease people into the music from softer to more powerful. Writing this makes me smile, because it is acoustic music after all, but it still differs in strength so to speak. So far, people have listened really well at every gig and this one was no exception so playing ‘Wine’ unplugged always works. <3 ‘Deva’ was amazing too. I feel the song gets better every time I hear it.

Ragnar invited Gosia on stage to sing ‘Dozen’ with him and she left me in awe. What a great voice! David’s soft violin plucking in the background made the song even better than it already was. <3 This rendition deserved all the cheers it got! Then it was story time with ‘Bravery’ and as usual the Jägermeister Vanilla lead to some chuckles. I did not agree with the assessment of Jägermeister as a perfectly good drink though – it is already pretty bad without the vanilla. 😉 Either way, the song was great.

With a piano available we got to hear ‘Relations’ and ‘Red Wine’. The former was beautiful on piano and violin as well and the latter is one of my favorites on the album and it made me happy to hear it once again. I loved both. 🙂 ‘Southern Nights’ was fun, including the banter beforehand. Somehow they needed to pass the time while tuning their instruments that suffered from the cold. I realized that I finally know the lyrics.

Gosia was invited back to the stage to much clapping and cheers. Together they performed the best rendition of ‘Petals’ I have heard so far. Awesome does not even begin to describe it. It left me speechless. Wow, just wow! <3 The owner of the venue praised her after or at least I think that is what he did. When he was talking Ragnar asked if he was saying nice things and Gosia confirmed. 🙂

‘Scar’ and ‘Needle and Thread’ were the last two songs on the set and even though we all wanted more the festival’s schedule did not allow for that. Anyway, ‘Scar’ was introduced as “a conversation with myself” because on the album  it includes a recording of three year old Ragnar talking about clowns. The song was as powerful as ever. ‘Needle and Thread’ made a great final song after that. With both songs the guys had the opportunity to rock as much as you an at an acoustic gig. It certainly left me smiling.

After the show the guys didn’t have any plans but getting some rest so I said goodbye until the next day. It had been the perfect afternoon entertainment and I was actually looking forward to getting some rest as well. I ended up on the same train with Gosia and we had a nice chat all the way to Szczecin. 🙂

Ragnar Poland/Slovakia tour winter 2018: 4 gigs down, 3 to go

Setlist

SSDD
Wine
Deva
Dozen
Bravery
Relations
Red Wine
Southern Nights
Petals
Scar
Needle and Thread

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