Ragnar Ólafsson – Stary Klasztor, Wrocław, September 6th, 2020
It seems, I can still work some magic 😉 – traditionally, whenever I claim one show cannot be topped, the next one is even better. I had loved the show in Chorzów and thought it was the highlight of the tour, but then Wrocław was even better. How that was even possible I don’t know, but as Kathia said to me after the show “We did it. We topped yesterday!” You did indeed. It was perfect in absolutely every way, for sure and 11 on a ten scale. 😀
Got a good night’s sleep in Chorzów and easily made it to Wrocław by train. It was a long walk to my hostel and when I got there I realized I’d made a mistake in the booking so I needed to go to another location of theirs. Thus, it took me an hour to finally have a room, but it actually got me a lot closer to the venue – win! Spent a nice day relaxing, had some food (not enough I learned later that night) and got to the venue before they opened. Said hello to everyone, got a few hugs and had to wait a little before I got it. It was a gorgeous former chapel with stained glass windows and we had lawn chairs to sit in.
Turns out the show was sold out too, every seat was taken. Just before the show Raggi came over to say hello. He’d been working on a music project for the past two nights and just made the deadline that morning. I’d brought Salmiakki to toast to that and he decided that now was the time to do it. So we drank to a good show!
Kathia was up first though, singing and playing her heart out. I could totally close my eyes and just get lost in her voice. As every night she started with the Polish loop station song, where to me her voice is just another instrument in a great mix of guitar, tambourine and rattle. Next was one of her English songs that has become my favorite over the past days, but I still haven’t asked about song titles. 😉 Then another Polish song on the guitar where I cannot even guess any of the lyrics but it’s sung with so much feeling that it doesn’t matter. <3 She switched to the piano for a bit, sang one gorgeous song in English and one in Polish, before she got back to the loop station for the last one and got everyone to clap along. This audience was loud and they went along all the way, cheering her on. I’m sure none of us would have minded an encore. This was a promising start.
Raggi kicked off his show slowly with ‘SSDD’ and like the night before it worked for me. The sound at this venue was great too, which became especially noticeable with ‘Wine’. He had stepped to the front of the stage to play it and the audience was listening quietly. After the second verse, the guitar strap came off on one side and he had to fix it before he could play on. 😀 The audience was really responsive too and cheered for this.
He made introductions in Polish, then switched to English and explained the little ritual we had witnessed before the show where he got in a circle with Kathia and Bartek and Bartek asked “Who let the dogs out?” while they shouted “Who” – a pre show prayer of sorts. He asked us to give Kathia another round of applause, only he kept calling her Katka. Tired brain? 😉 ‘A Prayer’ was back on the setlist and this night’s version was perfect. I love the power of the song.
Kathia joined him again and we learned they’d met the previous year in Puszczykowo and Raggi had liked her voice so much he’d asked Bartek to invite her back. I fully understand why. She’s a brilliant singer. ‘Minor Scratch’ was perfect and ‘Mexico’ gets better every night. It is so much nicer when they sing it together. The sound was generally great that night and the audience was really into it. 😀
I don’t think there are any more ways in wich I can express how much I love ‘Water’ – between this song and ‘Minor Scratch’ a concert is already amazing, no matter what else gets put on the setlist. This night it seemed to sound especially good and together with ‘Shine’ that followed, it brought me close to tears. Each song alone offers enough emotions to make me cry, but both together are almost too much to take. <3 The rest of the audience agreed and cheered loudly.
Luckily, ‘Time’ is a lighter song that chased away the sadness. Raggi told us it was his favorite song on this tour. I think it was also the only time I heard him speak about Patreon so far on the tour. While he was tuning his guitar, someone’s phone made a sound and he noted that it was in the same key. 😀 I had a random Bruce gig flashback because he mentioned how people like Springteen have someone to hand them different guitars between songs. I almost yelled “Kevin!” (Kevin Buell, Bruce’s long time guitar tech) but nobody would have gotten the joke. 😀
Afterwards he explained how he writes different songs in different places and played ‘Muddy Waters’ for us, which not only made me fully smile again, but got a great clap along going in the end. Hell yeah! He kept on rocking the house with a powerful version of ‘Bravery’ and then asked Kathia back to the stage. Their duets are a highlight every night and that is a lot to be said for a concert that is not short of great moments songs I love deeply. Both, ‘Message’ and ‘Petals’ were absolutely amazing. <3 We did not stop clapping for quite some time when they were done.
They both decided we had been the best audience so far and closed the show with ‘Dragonfly’, with Bartek joining them as always. It is still not one of my favorites, but I enjoy watching them have fun with it every night. Loud cheers had them back on stage soon for ‘Southern Nights’ and stories about life on the river. The song was so much fun and ended with everyone clapping along and forming one big choir. 😀
I had been filming the full show and ended with just under ten minutes left on my SD card – phew!. Only then the incredible happened and we clapped and cheered so much they came back for another encore! I tried changing the card, but somehow my camera would not read the replacement, so back in with the old one and hope for the best. We got to hear the murder ballads hat night. ‘Where the wild Roses grow’ together with Kathia, which sounded lovely and then Ask the Slave’s ‘Sleep now’, during which Raggi walked all the way through the room and out in the back. Just as he returned my SD card ran and I filmed the rest with my other camera. He walked all the way back and reprised ‘Southern Nights’ with all of us singing along one last time. Clearly this was the most perfect show of the tour (or at least of the shows I had seen). Wow! <3
We all hugged afterwards and once the place had calmed down a bit and most people had left, the tour family got together and finished the Salmiakki. 😀 Since Raggi was done with his side job for now, everyone agreed on an after party and we moved on to a pub in the same building. It was a long ass after party during which I got very drunk, spent a lot of time chatting with M. about tattoos and probably many profound things I cannot recall right now :), the wine kept flowing, people got lost and found and we all stayed pretty much until closing time. That’s the way that we wanna go!
Where the wild Roses grow
Southern Nights (reprise)
Ragnar Ólafsson – m.i.s.s. is in town tour – six gigs down, two to go. Next stop: Poznań