Ragnar Ólafsson – Meskalina, Poznan; September 14th, 2019
Only a few short days after the last gig I was back in Poland again to see my friend Ragnar playing at Meskalina in Poznań. I have seen him two out of three times he has played there and that venue never disappoints. There is a special vibe at that place, that always seems to inspire a good concert. It was the same this night, with lots of stories, a good setlist and a special surprise cover song in the end. 😀
Running on barely enough sleep (what else is new?) I made my way to Poznań in the morning and got there around 4 in the afternoon with just enough time to check in, rest a little and eat a bite before going to the venue. As usual I was the first person to arrive and could still hear the rehearsal. <3 I was joined by one more woman before the doors opened. There were less tables than usual and the first row seemed closer to the stage than I remembered, but of course I sat there anyway and kept seats for J. and A.
Ragnar and David started the concert at “Icelandic 7” without any introduction. They just walked on stage and played ‘SSDD’. I noticed that the lyrics were changed from “ménage de trois” to “ménage à trois” and it made me smile, because I recalled at least one time that someone had told Raggi it was wrong, but it didn’t stick. Only after A. pointed it out in Warsaw he remembered. 😉 Some people had had seen him play there before, but many didn’t and surprisingly nobody in the room spoke Icelandic. He admitted that he gets more nervous every time at Meskalina, because he feels each show need to be at least as good as the last one.
‘Wine’ was next and to play it he stepped on a chair on my left. It was nice. I didn’t bother taking pictures, just enjoyed the moment. <3 Outside there was some sort of festival going on with a band playing, but we mostly only heard them during the spoken parts of the show. He shared the story of ‘Deva’ and announced it as “a song about hope”. That is a fitting description, even though the song will always be connected to a time when there wasn’t much hope left. For ‘Dozen’ David had a tiny synthesizer to use and of course they had a musical guest: Magda.
No matter how many times I hear Raggi tell the same story, I still learn something new from time to time. That night it was that if Franz Kaffka made liquor it would be angst distilled into a bottle and taste like Jägermeister vanilla-cinnamon. 😀 Since there was a piano, it had to be used and we got to sing along to ‘Relations’. It sounded pretty nice too. As the evening progressed people in the audience started joking, because every song he played was about break-ups. ‘The Message’ was back to the non-duet version. Also great, but not as powerful as the one we’d heard in Warsaw. It made me happy to get ‘Red Wine’ too, even though it was “the saddest song of the evening”. He promised things would get slightly happier after. And yes, happy love songs do exists, even though only one person answered that question affirmatively. 😉
Before the encores we found out that in his next life Raggi plans to become a banjo player and learn how to cook. I was surprised he doesn’t plan learning how to sew. 😉 We also heard that the tape of 3 year old Ragnar, that was used for ‘Scar’ was one that his parents had sent to his grandmother when he was little so she would get to hear from him in the days when phone calls were expensive. We cheered for more and he walked back on stage along to sing ‘Örlög’ the song he had written for his grandmother. It fit beautifully and everyone sang along nicely.
‘Southern Nights’ was supposed to be the final song of the night, but then he remembered that he had promised tour manager Kamila to recreate what had happened at his last gig at Meskalina. Then he had covered Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Hero’. It happened, because Bartek had broken into that song when Raggi called him his hero. He played it too, not without apologizing to David first and noting that when you go guilty pleasure you have to do it full force. It was actually sang and played very well, but also tongue in cheek so I could not stop laughing. 😀 I’m still not sure if this was better than covering Bon Jovi or not. It was certainly a great ending to the show.
J. and A. left straight after it was over, but of course I stuck around for a bit, Saying hello to Kamila and chatting with the guys. During the gig I had decided I would extend my stay in Krakow the coming weekend and go to both concerts there. Eventually we hugged goodbye and they went off on new adventures.
Needle and Thread