At the zoo

Ragnar Ólafsson – house gig, Kruszwica; August 17th, 2021

Raggi’s gig in Kruszwica was a lovely house show with hosts that obviously have a passion for music and do house gigs regularly. With a small, but attentive audience, a talented guest singer and a safe, yet interesting setlist it was a solid, fun concert.

It took two trains and a bus for me to get there, but it wasn’t a complicated trip at all. Just the day before I had rebooked my hotel to be closer to the venue. I had time to take a little walk, got some good ice cream and learned from both Raggi and Bartek that the concert would start an hour later than advertised. More relax time!

I still arrived a bit too early, had a chat with the lovely hosts A. and A. via google translate and admired their home. Raggi walked in from upstairs to say hi and told me the night before had been a good one. Therefore he was hungover and looked the part too. 😉 Still wanting to play a good show he told me he’d play a new song, askeing if I remembered it from the Patreon gigs. I did not. I should really rewatch those!

Bartek made the usual introduction and it made me smile that the usual “hat” to collect money in was a skeleton hand with a bag attached. Nice touch! Raggi stood by the side of the stage, guitar in hand and I fully expected him to go into the new song right away, but instead he started with ‘Wine’ to ease into it. No guitarlele this time. It’s always a great start to have him stand right in front of the audience and play acoustically. I noticed he was singing lower than usual, saving his voice from the high notes.

Next up was ‘Every Brick in Manhattan’ and a great version of it too. It’s one of those songs that makes a surprise appearance every now and then and I always love it. The next song was introduced with a story about cowboys in New Mexico and unexpectedly finding that one of them was a poet, who had written a poem about a horse. Raggi liked it so much to turn it into a song and it became ‘Dollar’s Worth’. It started with more whistling (like ‘every Brick in Manhattan’) and then I remembered. It’s a good song, that I had already liked at the Patreon shows and I enjoyed this performance. I quite like it when Raggi uses his baritone voice.

It was time for the nights’s guest singer, Agata. She did an outstanding job on ‘Dozen’. What a voice! She looked really young as well, maybe 16 or 17? After so many years of touring Poland it still amazes me how Bartek manages to find great singers every time. <3 The show continued with ‘Deva’ and Raggi put a lot of power into his singing. It worked well. 🙂 He told stories about traveling and falling off of his motorbike, with the guitar he had on the back crashing down and about drinking Jägermeister Cinnamon Vanilla, then launched into ‘Bravery’, always a sure fire song.

Moving the mic stand over to the piano proved a bit difficult, because the Christmas lights used for decoration were tangled up in the foot of the stand and especially the cable. I tried to help with instructions, but should have just gotten up and done it myself. 😉 Eventually, the mic stand was at the piano and we got great versions of ‘Water’ and ‘Hugsanir’. I don’t know if there is more I can say about those two songs other than that I always love them and they always move me.

Raggi continued with ‘Örlög’ and explained the difficult Icelandic compound word “lalala”. The audience went with it and someone even asked him to explain again. It was funny. We managed the sing-along nicely too and then graduated to ‘Southern Nights’. As he explained the sing-along there someone asked “Or lalala” and he tried it out, substituting “That’s the way that we wanna go” with “la”. It worked too. It always makes me happy when the audience sings along nicely and this one did. 🙂

Agata returned for ‘Petals’ and nailed it. Just wow! Im still in awe of how the character of the song changes depending on who sings it. It’s always the same at the core, but each singer makes it her own and I love it. <3 Raggi offered to end the main set with ‘Hero’, because he had played it at the after party last time he was a guest of A. and A. – they voted against it so he ended with ‘Scar’ instead and it worked a lot better than the first time on this tour. Yeah!

He went backstage, i.e. upstairs and we clapped and cheered for more. It took him unusually long to give in and I wondered why until he reappeared wearing Bartek’s cow suit. Now it all made sense. He stepped on stage, showing off the suit, even turned around and wiggled his cow tail. 😀 Then he let us in on the secret of why cows are so chill – “because oooom backwards is moooo”. 😀

For a moment I thought he was going to do a cover on the guitar, but he sat down at the piano after all. even in a cow suit, ‘Rocketman’ required heart shaped sunglasses. 🙂 Of course the show ended on ‘Dragonfly’ and with Bartek the giraffe the zoo on stage was complete. Agata came back to play the glockenspiel and everyone had a blast! It as a fun show overall.

People disappeared rather quickly when it was over, a few bought CDs and took pictures with the cow and the giraffe, but soon the room was left to us so we sat down for a nice post gig chat. A. and A. played us music and served some great home made focaccia. It was yummy! Eventually it was bedtime for all of us so we hugged goodbye and I left, walking home with a happy smile on my face.

pictures of this concert


Every Brick in Manhattan
Dollar’s Worth
Southern Nights


First “we are all vaccinated now” Poland tour – 8 gigs down, 11 to go. Next stop: Mianowice

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