Missing Jaska, downpour and so much fun

Poets of the Fall – Porisphere, Pori; August 6th, 2022

It had been a few months since my last Poets of the Fall concert and Porisphere was the only summer gig that fit my schedule, so I was happy to go. Little did I know the skies had decided to drown me. It was still wonderful and totally worth getting soaked for. You still light up my soul like a burning halo!

My trip started Friday evening, since flying out Saturday would not have gotten me to Pori on time. Spent the night in Helsinki and set out to Pori in the morning. Arrived, relaxed a bit, had some food and went to the festival. The weather forecast predicted rain, but so far the sun was shining and it was much warmer than I had expected. I still grabbed my rain gear and a hoody to be safe and boy did I need those later.

There were three stages and on two of them were bands already playing, but I wa scontent listening to them from afar. In good time I made my way to the third stage, where Anssi Kela was scheduled to play at 4 pm. I’ve loved his music for a long time and was looking forward to seeing him live again. No such luck. Due to the strong winds the stage was closed down for safety reasons and his concert was canceled altogether. 🙁

Soon after, the rain said in and instead of just going back to my hotel, I stuck around, soon feeling cold and miserable. The rescheduled stuff, but I misunderstood the announcements (in Finnish) and was more than surprised when Ismo Alanko started playing at 5:30 (I had understood 7:30). So for a moment, I wasn’t even sure any more when Poets of the Fall would be on stage. Luckily, I soon found out they were going to be on as planned.

Thus, I watched Ismo’s gig and he was rather entertaining. Towards the end I even left the shelter of the trees and went closer to the front. Despite wearing a  rain jacket I was soaked in minutes and putting one of those plastic single use capes on top of everything didn’t help all that much. I just went with the flow, clapped along and tried enjoying the music.

Around 6:45, the fans left and I got a spot at front row center. Never mind it was still pouring and another hour to wait. This was my spot and I was sticking to it. I do admit I stil felt cold and miserable, but counted my blessings of standing on the railing instead of in the mud right behind it. Soon, another woman, M., joined me and we had nice conversations that helped pass the time. We could also watch the crew setting up and Jari checking the drums. He seemed in a great mood and sag along to the music that was playing on the speakers.

The rain lessened for a bit and a crowd gathered behind us. Finally it was showtime, someone from the festival crew announced them and they stepped on stage one by one – except for Jaska, who was missing. Different gig I assume. Either way, the kicked off the show with ‘Requiem for my Harlequin’ and the moment the did I forgot all about the fact that I had been freezing not so long ago. It was a big stage, so they were quite far away, but none of that mattered, because their energy radiated far and wide. 😀

Instantly I was smiling. Before the show started, M. had asked me why I kept coming back to see them and I had explained that they make me happy, feed my soul and make me forget everything else. Exactly. The magic always works. As I watched them powering through the song, playing with and off each other, giving all they had, I knew there was nowhere else I wanted to be and I sang along at the top of my lungs, screaming the “ooohoo” part, just like everyone around me. When the somg as over, Marko made some remark about the weather and “Finnish summer”.

‘Dreaming wide awake’ was next and I was jumping up and down along with M. by my side. Olli, however, didn’t jump at first – I supposed the stage was just too wet for it. Marko came to the front and pondered wether he should step past the flower decorations that marked the front of the stage and on to the little platform that was in front of that, but decided against it. Meanwhile, Olli and Jani had stepped on the raisers in the back and during the next chorus jumped off of that. 😀

I watched all of the guys and again noticed that Jari looked exceptionally happy – he was smiling all the way through and it made me smile to see him have such a good time. Captain looked like he was having fun too, especially when Olli visited him and they did there whole catching notes out of the air thing.

Somehow I had forgotten that ‘Temple of Thought’ was at that point of the setlist and was  surprised when they played it. Always and forever one of my favorites. <3 Marko was at the front again, waving at people. I raised my hand in greeting and he pointed at me in response, smiling. I might have missed a few gigs, but I am still here. 🙂 “Missä Jaska on?” (Where is Jaska?) someone yelled after the song was over and Marko replied something I didn’t understand. M. translated for me: “Jaska is so sweet, he would have melted in the rain.” 😀

‘Rogue’ as brilliant, even with one less guitar and Olli and Glen still did the whole “jerk off in the air” move they always do during it. 😀 After that, ‘My Dark Disquiet’ had me jumping again, screaming out the “false kings and bastards” line. At one point Olli gave me a big smile and I smiled right back. It was so much fun watching the guys work.

‘Choice Millionaire’ was next and it was all hands on deck for the whole bow forward, then follow your hands back up and go down again move at the start. Even Marko did it with the others and the audience followed suit. “How are you feeling?” he asked and we screamed in response. Everything was great and everyone was waving their arms with the chorus. Somewhere along the way the rain had stopped for a while and I barely noticed when it started up again.

‘Chasing Echoes’ was the only other ‘Ghostlight’ song they played that night except for ‘Requiem for my Harlequin’ and it was gorgeous. I really felt that line – exactly, and this is why I keep coming back. ‘Daze’ ended that main set with a bang and left us all screaming for more.

Of course they could not leave us without ‘Lift’ and again I was jumping, smiling happily and looking at each of the guys in turn. Magical moments. I can never get enough of Olli’s amazing solo and I love how everyone else celebrates him for it. <3 At the end, when Marko made us sing in response to whatever he throws at us, he threw a “Pori-shere” and there and we yelled it back loudly. Anything goes. The rain had eased up a bit, but just in time for ‘Carnival of Rust’ it turned into a downpour again – “come feed the rain” indeed. It didn’t matter one bit. we sand, we screamed, M. and I took a selfie with the guys in the background and in the end, Glen took a picture of them with all of us. What a great show that was. Kiitos! Nähdään pian.

Setlist

Requiem for my Harlequin
Dreaming wide awake
Temple of Thought
Rogue
My Dark Disquiet
Choice Millionaire
Chasing Echoes
Daze

Lift
Carnival of Rust

Cool venue, surprising setlist and a kid who could not sing

Ragnar Ólafsson – Kunstplantage, Zwickau; August 3rd, 2022

Last gigs on a tour, now matter how they turn out to be, always leave me wanting more and looking forward to the next time around. As far as last gigs go, this was a great one, with some setlist surprises and Ragnar and Conny in great form. I loved all of it and now that I am back home, I feel a bit of post tour blues creep in. All is well, there will be more shows. 😀

It was an easy trip from Limbach-Oberfrohna with only an hour to go. Thus, I had all afternoon to relax at my hotel and play ukulele. Went for a walk, but soon fled from the heat and stayed inside. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I heard the gig was going to start later in the hope of the air cooling down a bit. THus, I got there around 7 pm in time for soundcheck and chilled with a drink after, walking around and looking at all the cool art at the venue. We all expressed that it felt weird for this show to be the last one and we all wanted it to be a good finale. It was.

By 8:30 the place had filled nicely and Ragnar stepped on stage, telling us all what to expect, then started with ‘Wine’, this time plugged in and at the mic instead of fully acoustic. The daily poll showed that some of us had seen him before. When he said he wanted to clue us in on “Who I am, what I do and why the fuck I do what I do” I wanted to add “dubidubidu”, but kept that to myself. 😉 with ‘Urges’ we got the first love song of the night.

After explaining about democratic love songs, he jokingly asked if anyone would volunteer to help him out, then Conny joined him on stage for ‘Dozen’. Once again they sounded really good together. 🙂 She stayed for ‘Deva’ and I really enjoyed her harmony singing on the song. <3 We got some Icelandic lessons and Raggi told us about writing music in different places and how it influences his music. I was sure he was gonna do ‘Time’ next, but to my surprise it was ‘Photograph’ and Conny sang amazing harmonies to it. I love the song in any way, shape or frm, but this was perfection. <3

‘Bravery’ followed and I walked around to take some pictures, as there were so many interesting angles to shoot from. There was a kid who kept running around the stage so Raggi asked him in German if he wanted to join and the kid kept insisting he could not sing, finally stepping up to the mic and shouting “Ich kann nich singen!” (I can’t sing). 😀 Raggi noted he had quite a voice, then continued with ‘Time’ – now we all know the essentials for getting stuck in a desert: Tequila, Lime and a guitar.

“If there are any words in Icelandic you want to learn, let me know,” he offered, then talked about getting a “real job” writing a soundtrack while stuck at home during the pandemic and gave us a beautiful version of ‘Hugsanir’. While we were at songs in Icelandic, ‘Örlög’ followed and we got a nice sing-along going. From that we went back to the Mississippi and the Blues with ‘Muddy Waters’ – it was a great way to get people energized again after the two more quiet songs.

More stomp box was needed from the sound guy and once that was taken care of, Conny was back for more river songs. The first of which was ‘Paper Crane’ which I’d heard during sound check but would have never expected otherwise. What a great song choice! It sounded amazing, even though Raggi wasn’t fully happy with forgetting some of the lyrics. That did not matter at all! ‘Message’ was next and really awesome as well. <3 I thought they could not make me any happier and then they played ‘Minor Scratch’ as well. 😀

Raggi asked what we thought of when we heard about the Mississippi river, but nobody replied so he talked about the big river boats and played a few bars of ‘Proud Mary’ for us, then continued with the story and the song of ‘Southern Nights’. Conny sang beautiful harmonies and for the chorus we all joined in. The audience was up to all of it ad did well. 🙂

Finally, the last song rolled around, which was ‘Dragonfly’ of course, with Conny singing harmonies and Marta joining on glockenspiel. Of course we wanted more after that and the night ended with the murder ballad double of ‘Where the wild Roses grow’ and ‘sleep now’ with Raggi walking into the crowd for the last one. Before playing those, he had asked for requests, but I could not think of any on the spot and it felt right to end the last show like most of them had. There was even a nice clap along going on in the end. 😀 It was a great night overall.

Quite a few people came to chat and buy CDs. We had a final drink, thanked the really lovely venue staff and everyone helped packing. Marta and Raggi had to be back in Poland the following morning so they were going to drive through the night. I told them how great the tour had been and we hugged many times, before Conny and I walked them to the car and sent them off. I walked on with Conny to her car, sent her off with hugs as well and finally went back to my hotel.

After a very short night, I reminisced about the tour on the train home. Eventually, the tears came, but they were all happy once. I had loved all the gigs I’d seen and was happy to have come to the final show. Can’t wait to do it all again. <3

Setlist

Wine
Urges
Dozen
Deva
Photograph
Bravery
Time
Hugsanir
Örlög
Muddy Waters
Paper Crane
Message
Minor Scratch
Southern Nights
Dragonfly

Where the wild Roses grow
Sleep now