Ragnar Ólafsson – Meskalina, Poznań; August 12th, 2021
The concert at Meskalina in Poznań was the one Raggi most anticipated. The place has its own magic and he’d played some great shows there. I think he might have been elated and terrified of the night in equal measures. There was no need to worry though. He delivered an amazing show and the audience loved it. Win for everyone!
Getting to Poznań was just a quick train ride and this time my hotel was a three minute walk from the venue. Got there about 30 minutes before they were supposed to open, said hello to Bartek, Kathia and Bennek, the owner, had a drink and waited. Raggi and Marta arrived, we hugged and I learned that a) Raggi’s guitar had broken earlier (WHAAAT? FUCK!) and b) they were planning a little audience participation for the most popular song to be played at Meskalina. I was intrigued already. 😀
They let us in, I settled down in front row with me camera and soon realized I needed to rush back to my hotel for a power bar. Gaaah! Did I mention I was happy it was so close? Got back one minute before showtime and now found myself seated next to a three or four year old child and her mom. No time or space to find another seat so I could just hope she’d be quiet (spoiler alert! she was not!) Looked around briefly for familiar faces, but didn’t see any at first glance. Then, of course, the show didn’t start on time so I could catch my breath before Raggi started playing.
Raggi stepped on stage and told us he was in the shower, assuming it was going to start at 8, when Bartek called him saying they were ready. 😀 He also let us know he was nervous about the show because he had played there so many times before and also felt a bit rusty still. He made a deal with us to get used to it again together, saying he would start acoustic and build up to more power during the show.
The first song was ‘Winona’, something he had never played outside of his Patreon concerts. It was absolutely perfect to start with. I loved every second of it! <3 He talked about everyone remembering what they did the last month of normal before the pandemic, telling us he spent it traveling in Mexico and how amazing Palenque was, especially after having some mushrooms. 😉 The song is getting better every night. 🙂
Already during these first ten minutes of the show it was clear that the little girl next to me was too young to attend a concert. She would not sit still or shut up and I didn’t see mom doing much to change that. They also kept getting up and going out as well as returning mid song. I don’t blame the kid, she was most likely just bored and probably not asked if she wanted to be there. It was still annoying and reminded me of why I am childfree. 🙄
Raggi continued with ‘Deva’ and slowly built up to more power in the songs. It was great. He mentioned that it was written on the Mississippi river and how he gets inspired by travel. ‘A Prayer’ was absolutely brilliant. I don’t think I will ever get enough of this song.
He asked Kathia to join him, jokingly introducing her as “Miss Cherryblossom” to which she answered with a Southern accent. They did ‘Southern Nights’ together with great harmonies and had us all sing with them in the end. It was awesome. Kathia stayed for a killer version of ‘Minor Scratch’. I can’t even put into words how much I love that song! <3
‘Muddy Waters’ was next, bringing us more stories about the sound of Raggi’s music being inspired by the surroundings he writes them in and thus, the blues. Kathia had requested it and it was the best version on this tour so far. I even saw people drumming on their knees and tapping their feet in rhythm. 😀 Afterwards he said that one day he’ll write an album in Polish and someone called out to “beware of disco polo” which had everyone laughing.
It was time to switch to the piano and we learned about the vibrant music scene in Nashville and camping in the forest where ‘Water’ was written. He put all his heart and soul into it, then immediately continued with playing the main theme of ‘Walls’. Before the song though, he had to tell us a bit about the similarities and differences between Icelandic and Polish, making everyone laugh. It was quite a contrast to the sadness of the song, but it sure worked for me. Once again it was the Icelandic version and I loved it. This was the perfect combination of songs for me. <3 When it was over, he told us that Solveigh had written the Icelandic lyrics for the ‘Fractures’ TV series.. 🙂
Ragnar mentioned that thanks to Bartek he knows all the bad words in Polish. 😉 He asked if we wanted to hear another song in Icelandic and maybe sing too. Everyone wanted to hear more, but not so sure about the singing until they realized it was just “lalala”. And sing we did – beautifully!
He taught us to say ‘skál’ and told us about riding a motorcycle in the rocky mountains. For the first time on the tour he mentioned his Patreon and how we could find out more about his travel adventures if we joined. Of course ‘Bravery’ followed – the “song that sounds like a motorcycle”. Even after hearing it so many times I still love the energy. 🙂 This called for more wine, before the show could continue.
Kathia was invited back to sing the song they both liked of the first two songs they sang together, which was ‘Petals’ of course and it was beautiful. Then they played a brilliant version of ‘Message’ and ended the main part of the show on a high note. Another killer combination of songs in a night that was full of wonderful music.
We clapped and cheered loudly, demanding to hear more. Raggi came back, sat down at the piano and said he was going to play the only cover of the night, then corrected himself to “maybe not the only one”. It was ‘Rocketman’ of course and great fun! ‘Dragonfly’ followed with Kathia singing harmonies and Bartek joining them on the piano, surprisingly wearing a giraffe costume this time. 😀 Raggi even threw heart-shaped balloons at us before the song. He thanked everyone and then gave us the song I certainly had been waiting for. Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Hero’, the guiltiest of all guilty pleasure songs. 😉 This year, we found envelopes with lyrics under some of the chairs so we could sing along. It was funny already and got even funnier when he realized that we now had the advantage of having the lyrics which he did not. 😉 We did our best with the sing along. Halfway through Raggi asked Kathia and Marta on stage to help him out. They danced around behind him with balloons spelling Hero. It was the perfect ending to a perfect show! 😀
Once CDs had been sold and signed and pictures taken, we retreated to the bar for an epic after party where the one motto was “Let’s get drunk” so we did. Other than that what happens at Meskalina, stays at Meskalina! 😉
Hugsanir (Walls in Icelandic)
First “we are all vaccinated now” Poland tour – 3 gigs down, 16 to go. Next stop: Pleszew