Ragnar Ólafsson – Samorządowy Ośrodek Kultury, Nowa Dęba; August 28th, 2021
Raggi’s last concert of the tour was a solid one with a good setlist, but suffered a bit regarding connecting with the audience. It might have been a language barrier or something else, but the show never fully tool off. I enjoyed it nonetheless, happy to have one more night before having to go home.
Because Nowa Dęba was a bit hard to reach despite having a train station I decided to stay in Tarnobrzeg, from where it would be easier to get home on Sunday. We were far east once again, near the Ukranian border. The day started with a delayed train and me missing the bus I had booked, but luckily they went frequently so I took the next one. I was physically exhausted and found it hard to drag my suitcase along one last time. Should have taken a nap, but was too wired for that. So I went for lunch, hung out and finally left for the train station, slightly worried the train might not arrive in time. It did though and I got to the venue around 7:45. To my delight they had decided to move the open air concert inside so no need for my peysa.
Said hello to Kamila, Raggi, Marta and special guest Tom, whom I had not seen since Árstíðir last played in London. Soon after B. and D., who had held the house gig in Żóltańce, arrived and as promised they had brought a T-shirt for me. Yay!
The evening’s support act was local singer Diana Ciecierska. She had the music pre recorded, but sang live which took some getting used to for me, but I really liked her voice. She sang only cover songs though, mostly by Sasha Sloan.
For the last time, a local host announced Raggi and he stepped on stage, grabbed the guitarlele and stepped right off again to stand close to the front row for ‘Wine’. I was surprised he didn’t go up on one of the chairs. 😉 It was nice having him stand right next to me. I sang along quietly, trying to forget that it would be the last time for a while. The audience was happy when he spoke Polish, but replied “yes” when he asked if they spoke English so he stuk with that.
This early on, people laughed at his jokes a lot, but later I felt a bit of a disconnect there. Not sure why though. We kept looking at each other a lot. Since I was the only person who had dare to sit up front, I was always in his line of sight and hope I managed to be an anchor of sorts. ‘Deva’ was good, but the sound was definitely not as great as the previous day. I sang along and he noticed that I did. It was a night of singing along adn taking few pictures for me. Once in a while I need a break.
A surprise ‘Every Brick in Manhattan’ was next. I had not expected the song to make another appearance and was happy it did. 😀 He pointed out the banner and invited Diana for a democratic love song and they sung ‘Dozen’ together. She said she was really stressed out and excited about it. No need to worry, her voice really worked nicely with his, it was very enjoyable. All the music worked well with the audience that evening, but the stories seemed to fall flat. Maybe they did not understand so much English after all.
We heard stories of travel and how he sometimes surprises himself with the songs he writes while he does, like writing a samba in Mexico. I thought he was going to play ‘Palenque’, but he continued with speaking about motorcycles and Colorado so I knew ‘Bravery’ was next. For the last time i tapped my foot along with the rhythm, enjoying the power of the song. Then, of course he took us to Mexico with ‘Time’. He asked if people had been to Mexico, but there was not much of a response. The song was heartfelt though and people liked it. 🙂
He taught us some Icelandic and especially the different ways of saying “Já”. Then he sat down at the piano and spoke about camping in lost creek and writing a sad song on a happy day. ‘Water’ was beautiful of course and for the last time I closed my eyes listening, then did the same for ‘Hugsanir’. <3 Afterwards he talked about ‘Fractures’ and the montage where the song is used. I can’t wait until that series appears on TV, hopefully somewhere I can see it.
Raggi surprised me with bringing back ‘Relations’ and when he asked if we’d like to sing with him, someone at least replied “yes”. It was hard that there was rarel any interaction with the audience or any answer to questions. I did my best and nodded at least or replied in some way, but barely anyone else did. People did sing though and it sounded quite nice. We managed the sing-along for ‘Örlög’ as well and I enjoyed doing it.
‘Petals’ was next and Diana managed it well. Again, her voice fit the song really nicely and she said she really liked it. 🙂 The he spoke about sailing down the Mississippi, the house boat and played us ‘Muddy Waters’. I tapped my foot and snapped my fingers along to the song. !t was great. The announcement of the last song brought no reaction other than from me. He talked more about the boat and invited us to sing along again. We did so joyfully and the even the harmony singing sort of worked, even though he did not invite anyone to the stage to help this time.
For the first encore he played ‘Rocketman’ and asked Kamila for the glasses he needed. She did not bring the heart-shaped ones, but cool ones as well and handed them to him. I had not expected to hear the song again. It was fun. Last, but not least was ‘Dragonfly’ with special guest Kamila (in a Breaking Bad meth cooking suit) and his friend Tom from the UK on glockenspiel. Of course Diana helped too and they all enjoyed doing so. With this, the final show of the tour ended and I felt just a little sad.
We took a picture with everyone for the venue, packed up, briefly gathered backstage to get all the stuff from there and went outside to pack the car. I did remind Raggi to pack the banner and he did so hopefully it will make it to Iceland. Before we all said goodbye, I got out the Salmiakki and we did some shots in Tom’s camper van (minus the two drivers, Kamila and Mart, who did not want to drink of course). While Raggi showed off his Polish skills, Tom got out some real licorice to share with everyone. Yummy. Then Raggi realized he had left his phone at the venue. Of course everyone was gone so Kamila had to call the sound guy and he came back. Yay for nice people. We said goodbye, hugged over and over again and finally had to go our separate ways. Tom stayed in his van, Kamila and RAggi were off back to Krakow and Marta drove me back to the apartment I stayed in before continuing towards her parent’s place. It was a beautiful tour and I am happy I got to share it with all of you. Safe travels and see you all next time!
First “we are all vaccinated now” Poland tour – 19 gigs down, none to go. Last stop: home
Every Brick in Manhattan