Ragnar Ólafsson – Kawiarnia Alchemik, Ostrzeszów; August 14h, 2021
The concert in Ostrzeszów was played at a beautiful location, outside a cafe, in front of a tower from which the whole city could be seen. The stage was not only illuminated by regular lights, but there were torches all around, adding to the atmosphere. The setlist was great and I loved the show, even though there seemed to be a it of a disconnect with the audience.
I left Pleszew in the early afternoon and a short train ride later I arrived in Ostrzeszów. I was the third day in a row going back and forth on the same train and always in the same car too. I felt beat so I rested, had food, blogged, edited pictures, relaxed until it was time to go.
Arrived at the venue at seven, just in time for soundcheck. Said hello to Ola and Marta, then listened to Raggi and Julia sing for a while. Raggi came over to say hi when he was done, then retreated before the show and I spent the time reading.
A guy from the venue announced him and this time Raggi started playing on stage not in front. He greeted us in Polish and expressed how much he liked the venue. ‘More will come along’ was the first song and it came with a dedication to L., one of my fellow Patrons. It had been a while since I heard this one and it made me happy to see it reappear. The sound was great too.
We heard about his Mexico trip, just before the pandemic an he played ‘Palenque’ for us. Then, surprisingly, ‘Wine’ followed, but he stayed on stage for it, There was a lot of distance between the stage and the seats. At times I felt like he didn’t quite manage to bridge that gap. I can’t even pinpoint why, because the audience sure reacted to the songs and laughed at the stories. Maybe I was the disconnected one? It did not spoil my enjoyment of the show though.
Raggi asked Julia to join him and like the previous night they sang ‘Dozen’ first. It was wonderful as ever. They went straight to ‘Minor Scratch’, which was even better. Julia left for now and the show continued with musings about travel and songs sounding different depending on the country they were written in. A strong version of ‘Bravery’ followed. Sadly, there was much background chatter, but I believe it came from the café visitors rather than the audience.
We went on from te Rocky Mountains to Tennessee and ‘Water’. There really is a haunting quality to the sng – I can never get enough. The same goes for ‘Walls’, especially the Icelandic version he is playing now. He didn’t explain anything about it this time, just kept on playing. The next songs sounded familiar, but I could not place it. When he started singing I knew it wasn’t one of his own, but only recognized it when he got to the chorus – John Hiatt’s ‘Have a little Faith in me’. It was brilliant!
Onwards to the Mississippi river and ‘Southern Nights’. Funnily enough, when Raggi said he was going to play the first song from the album I wondered for a moment which one it was. 😀 By now he had given up playing it on the ukulele and used the guitar. Sadly, the choir didn’t work well this time. It was OK when we tried it, but then people just didn’t sing much any more.
We returned to Mexico for the song with the same name and Julia sang with him. It was great. She stayed for ‘Petals’ and ‘Message’, both of which were amazing. Raggi gave a shoutout to the venue’s crew and thanked them, then told us it had been “an absolute pressure” to play for us, then noticed and corrected himself.
The audience did want an ecore, so apparently they had enjoyed it after all. We got ‘Rocketman’ and of course ‘Dragonfly’. For a moment I wondered if Ola was going to wear the giraffe costume and join Raggi and Julia on stage, but during the concert Bartek had arrived. 😀 Overall it had been a good show.
When it was over we hung out and chatted for a bit, then got the chance to climb up the tower that had formed the stage background and get and overview of the city it was great. Back downstairs we settled down for a final glass of wine and Salmiakki shots, before it was time to hug goodbye. See you all soon!
More will come along
Hugsanir (Walls in Icelandic)
Have a little Faith in me (John Hiatt)
Rocketman (Elton John)
First “we are all vaccinated now” Poland tour – 5 gigs down, 14 to go. Next stop: Kostrzyn Nad Odrą