Árstíðir – Klub Studencki Zaczeck, Krakow; February 19th, 2019
Attending Árstiðir in Krakow was one of those magical events where suddenly everything makes sense and it feels like the universe has aligned to guarantee it is a special night. The band delivered a top notch performance and thus gave me the most wonderful ending to a day that wasn’t looking all that great until a few hours before the show. Forgive me for being overly emotional about all this, but you have no idea how much I have missed being on tour with these guys and not carrying any of my worries with me. I love these guys, always and every show is special in its own way, but there were times when I just carried too much baggage to fully enjoy them. Much of which was dues to circumstances beyond our control and I’m just super-happy these times are over. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest. So right now I’m crying happy tears and struggling to put it all into words. The show was awesome in so many ways that it left all of us with huge smiles on our faces.
The day started in the middle of the night when I woke up at 4:05, ten minutes before my alarm was set. A shower didn’t wake me and I went back to sleep as soon as I sat down on the train. Didn’t sleep well though and woke up with a splitting headache that no amount of water seemed to cure. I diagnosed lack of caffeine, but one tea on the train didn’t help and the fact that we were over 30 minutes delayed did not improve my mood. There was only one goal on my mind: catch the first available bus in Katowice and make it to my hotel in Krakow before tickets for Amanda Palmer’s tour went on sale. The tickets were supposed to go on sale at 2 pm GMT (i.e. 3 pm my local time). I arrived in Krakow at 14:45, fast walked to my hotel so quickly that I worked up a good sweat, finally made it online at 15:20 only to realized that the promised pre-sale links were not in my inbox yet. So far so good. I talked to my friend K. who was also waiting and eventually decided to get myself a tea, hoping that would speed up the process. An hour later we were still without links and annoyed by it. Around 17.30 I finally decided to give up and close my eyes for just five minutes before getting ready for the night’s concert. Ten minutes later I was back at my computer to see K:’s message “The are out!” Of course I had not even gotten the email and it did not arrive until I had already purchased the tickets I wanted. I felt relieved, but wondered why ticket sales so rarely go smoothly.
A second tea had finally cured my headache, I’d managed to eat a cheese sandwich in-between and finally got ready to go. Arrived at the venue around 18:50 only to realize I should have stopped at the kebap place I walked past, because I had not nearly eaten enough. So my only hope was bar food. Doors were to open at 19:30 and I was alone for a while. Krys came out to get something from the bus and we had a chat. The previous day he’d had to tell the venue that I was on the guest list, because Ragnar had forgotten all about it and he told me to ask for him if anything went wrong tonight. Good thing he did too, because as soon as the doors opened he had to save the day again.
All was well, I claimed a spot at the front and waited for K. She arrived shortly after and since she still owed me money for a Poets of the Fall ticket (which I had totally forgotten about) she paid for drinks. The even sold chips at the bar so that became my dinner. While we waited for our order A. arrived as well and I introduced the two. Time passed quickly. We were still standing around, shooting the breeze when the guys walked on stage. It wasn’t sold out, but there was a nice crowd. I had a good feeling about this.
As soon as the music started I was immersed in it. So much that I forgot everything about taking pictures for a while. I watched the guys play, focussed on hands walking across keys and strings, got lost in the music. From time to time I looked over at A. and K. whose smiles were just as big as mine. Especially K., who had not seen them in a long time looked so happy. Everything sounded so beautiful and there was only good energy in the room. People clearly were happy to see the guys and liked what they were hearing. All three of us were singing along and shared smiles from time to time.
Everything was just so good. The mood in the room, the sound, the lights. The guys looked relaxed and happy and I felt the same. Each song was brilliant and every note was just right. I felt nothing but love for the guys and their music. It had been a long journey from seeing them first almost seven years ago to arriving together at this place 180 concerts down the road. Yet it felt like we were only just beginning. A new beginning that is. Everything was as beautiful and as amazing as it had been the very first time. We’ve all changed since, we’ve all grown (older mostly in my case, but maybe a little bit wiser too ;)) and this band has successfully reinvented itself a few times over since we first met. And yet, I still love them just as much as I did on day one.
So much happiness surged through me this night, I could hardly contain it and felt like I was bursting at the seams. I was at peace with myself and the world, sharing a great evening with friends, surrounded with wonderful music and seeing a band I love with all of my heart. They were in a great mood, smiled, played every song with ease and the audience welcomed them kindly. Some concerts are hard work for the band, this one was more like a walk in the park and they fully deserved the response they got, playing their hearts out and connecting with us through stories in-between.
Again, the first half of the gig was over in a heartbeat. A long and happy one though. Many times K. and I looked at each other and shared a smile over some memory of other gigs we’d attended together. From time to time, I shared smiles with the guys too. This night they seemed especially in tune with each other too, exchanging glances, appreciating each other’s contribution. Of course they always do, but sometimes there is an extra spark to it, just especially good vibes.
The guys sent us off to the break to “refill our glasses” and we did or rather K. did it for me. We talked about how great the gig was, shared memories enjoyed the moment and were surprised how quickly the concert continued. K. smiled at me when she realized that the first song in the acoustic set was ‘Sunday Morning’ – she knows how much it means to me. Needless to say that both ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘Kill us’ were brilliant. <3 When Gunnar introduced ‘Entangled’ he did it with lots of words and gestures to underline them. I could not help but think “Gunni explains the world” and loved it. At some point it brought out the biggest smile in Daníel too – he was quietly amused.
‘Like Snow’ has grown from a song I thought of as OK to one of my favorites in the show. It slowly snuck its way into my heart and now I am looking forward to hearing it every night. 🙂 When Gunnar explained about the game they’d been playing with the pronunciation of ‘Friðþægingin’ K. stated “challenge accepted”, but only for A. and me to hear. I told her I’d failed, but she was convinced she’d succeed. Rightfully so as it turned out. 😀 Nothing more to say about how much the song rocked!
‘Himinhvel’ always takes me back to the beginning of the show, because the very first notes remind me of the beginning of ‘While this Way’. Then of course the instruments set in and I know that starting over was just wishful thinking. 😉 It flowed right into ‘Things You Said’ and the only bad thing about that was knowing the show was almost over. It was perfect otherwise. 🙂 I don’t know how much more I can say about ‘Passion’. There is so much truth in that song and in the fact that passion is a good driver for being at your best, no matter what it is you are passionate about. It was a killer version too, everything sounded so clear and beautiful. <3
After they said goodbye came one of the loudest demands for an encore I have heard on this tour so far. people really wanted to hear more. For ‘Góda veslu göra skal’ they stepped out into the crowd and people loved it. Then, back on stage they ended with one of the best versions of ‘Nú gleymist ég’ so far. I waited for Gunnar to do the going from a whisper into almost scream part and he delivered. I so love that! When it was over the entire audience did their best to get another encore and they came out once again, but they only bowed one last time and could not be convinced to do one more song. Even great concerts have to end some time.
I chatted with each one of them when the show was over and it was really nice too. Good conversations, good hugs and much happiness. K. tried the ‘Friðþægingin’ challenge and won a beer. 😀 I told Gunnar how much I loved the quiet to loud part in ‘Nú gleymist ég’ and learned from Guillaume how playing the cello has taught him patience. I never wanted to leave, but eventually we did. Sadly, A., K. and I all needed to go off in different directions. It would have been a good night to go out for a drink and when I returned to my hostel I was too wound up and too happy to sleep. Totally worth it though. Even thinking about it now I am sure I’m still wearing my “gig face”. 😀
While this Way
Please Help me
Vetur að vori
Ljóð í sand
In the Wake of You
Þar sem enginn fer
Things You Said
Góda veslu göra skal
Nú gleymist ég
Nivalis winter tour: 12 gigs down, 6 to go. Next stop: Vienna