And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

Ragnar Ólafsson – Sala Widowiskowa Kręgielnia, Kostrzyn Nad Odrą; August 15th, 2021

The concert or rather the concerts in Kostrzyn Nad Odrą were the first ones on Raggi’s Poland tour that I really felt. The venue was lovely, the setlist was just right and the atmosphere made everything perfect. I was close to tears a few times and experienced a deep connection with the music. Finally I have arrived.

The day started early in Ostrzeszów since I had a train to catch at 9:30. It didn’t matter much since I was wide awake around 7 anyway. 🙁 The trip was about 4 hours long and when I arrived I was in the weird state of too tired too stay awake, yet too wound up to sleep. I really wanted a nap but it would not have been of any use so I had junk food and caffeine to sustain me.

Since it was Patreon concert day and Raggi had invited me I made it to the venue before 6. The gig took place backstage together with Julia and watching them work together made me so happy. Raggi played one song alone and then she joined him for the rest with Bartek the giraffe helping out on ‘Dragonfly’. I won’t go into details, but it was a lovely show and the perfect warm up for the main gig. Julia remarked on how different it felt having an audience that wasn’t visible. Bartek and I did our best to clap, but we could not simulate a house full of people. 😉

When it was over I went to the concert hall and was surprised that the front row was still mostly empty despite it being only 15 minutes to showtime. I picked my spot at the center and was happy to notice the grand piano on stage. Slowly, the place filled and we waited. The e string had broken during the Patreon gig and needed replacement so the concert got delayed just a little. Someone from the venue made long introductions. I have no idea what he talked about of course, but it felt like he was listing the entire programme of the venue. I will never know. 😉

We greeted Raggi with cheers and to my surprise he started the show with ‘War’. It had been a long time since I’d heard that and after the first sow I had noted that I felt he was playing more from the first album than from the second (not true), yet I absolutely loved it. It was a brilliant version of the song, the sound was perfect and I was fully drawn into it like I had not been in a long time. For the next 90 minutes or so it was only me and the music.

Second song was ‘Urges’, another one I had not heard in a while. It worked well, taking me back to the very first tour in Poland and then even further to a day in May 2016 at a train station somewhere between Dornbirn, Austria and Dortmund, Germany when I first heard those lines. So many memories. I was already smiling.

For ‘Wine’ he stepped off the stage and in front of the audience. Everyone grew quiet and listened. It was beautiful. It may not have been a sold out concert, but the people were really present and listening throughout. The magic was there, a connection was built and energy flowed easily between us and the stage.

Julia joined him on stage and together they created even more magic. Before introducing her he introduced himself in Polish and the audience appreciated it. They sang ‘Dozen’ and ‘Minor Scratch’ and sounded especially great that night. <3 K., Julia’s boyfriend sat next to me so when Raggi asked who had heard his music before we were the only two people raising our hands. So he gave us a little history on his albums and talked about writing on the road. For the first time in a long time the Jägermeister Cinnamon Vanilla made an appearance. He used it as an excuse for the angry sound of ‘Bravery’. 😀

Next he sat down at the piano and talked about traveling in Tennessee, a state famous for three things: Whiskey, bad humor and great music. He explained that it had felt like going to Mekka and was a great inspiration. ‘Water’ followed and brought me close to tears. I sang along with my eyes closed, feeling it in my soul. It sounded amazing. <3 He continued straight into ‘Walls’ and the Icelandic version gets more beautiful every night. I sang along too, but in English, with more tears in my eyes. Afterwards he talked about ‘Fractures’ (the TV series) and the scene the song is used in and how Solveigh wrote the Icelandic lyrics, because the director had wanted an Icelandic song.

When he asked if we wanted to hear another Icelandic song, everyone agreed and they all laughed, but answered they could try when he asked if they wanted to sing in Icelandic with him. After initial shyness it worked very well. He joked about giving us a sign when to sing but not telling us what and when he winked in time for the sing along everyone laughed. 🙂 This audience was really attentive and good singers too. The song of course was ‘Örlög’. Next was ‘Southern Nights’. Raggi asked for the name of the local river (Warta) and said that the Missisippi was kinda like that only ten times bigger. It was lovely and again the sing along worked well or at least the people behind me sang well. I think I was very much off key. 😀

With Julia there, we got ‘Mexico’ too. I really enjoy the song with her harmony singing. It was very powerful. Everything sounded super good at this venue.
He said ‘Petals’ was his favorite song to sing with Julia and every time I hear it I understand why. It is always gorgeous. <3 Raggi told us about learning Polish and understanding why his Polish friends have a hard time learning Icelandic because the languages are so different. He explained how ‘Message’ is like writing a letter with everything you want to say to another person and then never sending it, hoping they will somehow telepathically get the message. It gave me goosebumps. A perfect ending to the main set! <3

Everyone wanted more and Raggi sat down at the piano for ‘Rocketman’, of course sporting the heart shaped glasses again. It was a really fun version and to me it seemed it sounded better than all the other nights. 🙂 It all ended with ‘Dragonfly’ and the audience applauded when Bartek showed up in his giraffe costume. 😀 I even managed to catch Raggi’s jump in the end on camera. Yay! This was a great show!

Quite a few people bought CDs and vinyls after, so I waited my turn. We hugged and agreed that it had been a good one. Raggi wanted to call it an early night and I didn’t mind getting some sleep either so we said goodbye soon. When I was back at my hotel, thinking about the show, the tears that I’d been waiting for since the beginning of the tour started to fall. I welcomed them, they were happy ones. Finally this all felt real. 😀

pictures of this concert


Minor Scratch
Hugsanir (Walls in Icelandic)
Southern Nights

Rocketman (Elton John)

First “we are all vaccinated now” Poland tour – 6 gigs down, 13 to go. Next stop: Obrzycko

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