Ragnar Ólafsson – Wooltura, Łódź; September 3rd, 2020
Day three of the Poland tour brought yet more happiness, a cool venue and many funny moments. I cannot remember the last gig where I laughed so much. This was balanced out by goosebumps and deep sighs, just the way I like it. I felt like I had come home.
Not sleeping enough has become a pattern yet again on this tour and despite going to bed relatively early and not having to leave my hotel before 11, I was wide awake at 6:30 with no chance of going back to sleep. Oh well, there were pictures to edit and a blog to be written, so I kept busy until it was time to go to the train station.
There were some tears shed, reminiscing about the previous night, but all of them were happy. While editing, I had Raggi’s new album to listen to. Somewhere in-between a Patreon email came along with a link to a new video, prominently featuring my ukulele. 😉 It was certainly fun and the perfect way to start the day.
On the train I finished my blog post about the previous gig and arrived in Łódź with enough time to get lunch and see just a little bit of the city. It is really lovely. The venue was lovely too, with a nice bar upstairs and the actual concert happening downstairs. All the seats were set up at a safe distance and there was a plexiglas sheet in front of the stage that probably didn’t do much protecting us from Covid, but sure proved to be an obstacle a few times that night. Of course I was early, had a chat with Kathia, M. and Bartek and his family. Both of his kids were there and the little one decided to give me a kiss – it was cute. 🙂
After everyone had settled in, it was Kathia’s turn to play. Once again she started with the loop station song, playing some guitar, then using a mini tambourine and a rattle to get the right base sound before adding harmonies. It’s completely fascinating to me. 😀 All her other songs were wonderful too and she played two of them on the piano this time. I should rally ask her what they are called. 😉 She got great cheers for her set and rightfully so. It was amazing.
Soon after, Raggi was on stage and kicked off the show with ‘Deva’. Before the concert started, we had been joking about the fact that whenever the toilet flushed upstairs it could be heard on the stage. Just as he got really into the song exactly that happened and he had to laugh so hard he stopped playing. He explained that it was the loudest flush he had heard that day and then we all heard it and laughed with him. I could not look at anybody. Every time I looked over at K. we both started giggling again and I didn’t even dare to look at Raggi. It took almost a minute before he had composed himself enough to play on. What a way to start the show.
For ‘Wine’ he decided to not step into the audience, but sit on the edge of the stage instead. It was beautiful. He thanked Bartek and Kathia, inviting her on stage for the next few songs. ‘Dozen’ was the first and apart from Kathia, Raggi introduced his drummer “Bob” – aka the mini tambourine he can attach to his shoe. 😀 It was definitely a show full of jokes. Their singing was lovely of course and continued with ‘Minor Scratch’ after a few stories about traveling and storytelling. Hearing Kathia sing these songs put such a big smile on my face. She did a wonderful job and as always, the words cut me deeply.
‘Mexico’ was just fun and I loved the added harmonies on the song too. ‘Water’ again had me close my eyes because it was so emotional. To my surprise it remained the only piano song that night. Raggi told us more about Mexico and how it is really high above sea level and how he could not remember anything about his visit to Tequila, but wrote the song ‘Time’ somewhere on the way. It really works well in the set.
Since the lights at the venue were great, I spent some time walking around to shoot a few pictures from the side of the stage and from the back as well. I was there when he announced ‘Every Brick in Manhattan’, a song he always plays in Łódź because of all the brick buildings there. It always makes me so happy. Of course we got a story about how the song was written because he wanted to count all the bricks while he was walking all over New York, but instead of counting, he wrote a song about it. It was a great performance too, followed by the beautiful ‘More will come along’ – only he introduced it as ‘Someone who cares’. K. and I looked at each other smiling when it happened. This time he didn’t ask who in the room knew Árstíðir so chances are that very few people noticed. 😉 He added a new bit close to the end that I cannot remember being there before. It fit the song perfectly.
The “song about bad alcohol” (‘Bravery’) was fun as always. Afterwards he taught us some Icelandic to prepare for the sing along in ‘Örlög’. We all managed the “lalala” part rather well – it sounded great. I like how he throws that song in from time to time and people seem to really appreciated when he sings in Icelandic. The audience also loved that he was speaking a bit of Polish from time to time.
Kathia was back on stage which meant we were nearing the end of the show. *sigh* It always goes so fast. ‘Message’ was absolutely gorgeous, giving me goosebumps once more and ‘Petals’ is still always a highlight for me. <3 We learned that Kathia can also play the glockenspiel, but she wasn’t the only one helping with ‘Dragofly’. Bartek had to be there too, playing the piano in his cow costume.
Afterwards they all bowed together and left, but of course we would not let them go without an encore. Raggi surprised me with announcing a blues song, his first, as he explained, despite playing so many different types of music. ‘Muddy Waters’ rocked the house, as much as a blues song can rock. 😛 For the final song, ‘Southern Nights’ he asked wo had heard it and who had sang on it. Quite a few raised their hands even for the second question. 🙂 Kathia and Bartek joined him on stage and we all sang the chorus with them. It is really the only right way to end the show!
The show had ended, people got CDs and chatted, but most left soon. In the end K.A., M. and I were left and all sat down with Raggi for a final glass of wine and some stories. I randomly remember that we spoke about some musician who had way too many guitars to play them all and I suggested they must be sad so we joked about them having a support group – I think it got named “the weeping guitars” or something along those lines. 😉 Eventually Kathia joined us too. Before the show I had gotten my ukulele back and Raggi spoke about how nice it sounded. We agreed that it must have retained some of Amanda’s spirit. I might or might not have played it and sang for everyone. 😉 We stayed until they kicked us out of the place and all hugged goodbye outside. It was a perfect evening in every way. Comfortably drunk and very happy I stumbled home.
Every Brick in Manhattan
More will come along
Ragnar Ólafsson – m.i.s.s. is in town tour – three gigs down, five to go. Next stop: Krakow.