They say hope is a fickle thing but I’d rather hope than face another frozen spring

Svavar Knútur – Neues Schauspiel Leipzig; September 12th, 2021

Svavar Knútur’s concert in Leipzig was the funniest one I have seen on this tour and that says a lot, considering I was rolling with laughter each night. It also had a very beautiful setlist, which made it the perfect last show for me. 🙂

With Leipzig just a short train ride away, I had a relaxed morning in Dresden, before moving on. I had enough time to go for lunch and get some sleep before going to the concert, which was a good thing considering I’d have to leave around 4 am the next morning. It was a long walk to the venue, which turned out to be a nice small theater with adjacent bar.

We were all seated far away from the stage which was the first thing Svavar noted at the beginning of the concert. He thanked us for coming on a Sunday night, referring to “Tatort” being on. It is a well known German crime TV series, running on Sunday nights, that used to keep people at home. Before starting with ‘Fagurt er í Fjörðum’ he gave us a rough translation and remarked that he’d start with the sad songs and play happier ones later.

‘Your Love was death to me’ as next and he explained how it is about a toxic relationship, musing that sometimes they are toxic because the people involved bring out the worst in each other. It is a good song, I’m glad he rediscovered it. He talked about how he likes playing zoom shows because he can see people when he does and played ‘Hard Things’ for us. Another great old song. 🙂

Since 99.9 % of the best days of his life started with a morning, ‘Morgúnn’ was up next and immediately put a smile on my face. Before ‘Spór’ he explained that he wanted to wrote a sad song, but realized he’d rather write a song about his daughter instead and changed it. I had not heard that one in a while and forgotten how beautiful it is. 🙂 ‘Tiger and Bear’ was next and this time he made sure to put the capo in the right place, determined not to fuck up this time. And he didn’t. 😀 It came with a long winded rant about how writing about love is boring and how “The Sultan of Brunei” sounds like a gay diva from the Glasgow club scene. 😀

The was talk about language differences again for ‘Undir Birkitré’ and it seemed to get funnier each night. This time it somehow included a story about Faroese and kindergarten sounds. Being a fellow language nerd, this is so much fun for me. After the song he told us a story how making a joke about “Fiege” beer in Bochum had unforeseen consequences. He then changed his mind about playing a song in English and played ‘Ölduslóð’ instead. The last song before the break was ‘Wanderlust’ and ended with a great sing-along. I had missed this one. <3

Svavar mentioned how he had broken a string on his ukulele the previous night and wondered if that was rock ‘n’ Roll. I’d say so! He continued with the ‘Song about the Raven’ and explained what the song is about first. The beautiful ‘Vetrarsól’ followed – it truly captures the how lovely it is to see the sun in Iceland in winter. He joked about Icelanders who escape the winter and fly to canary islands, especially when they are people supporting the Icelandic equivalent of AFD and then complain about Schengen while vacationing in the EU.

We got a lesson in songwriting on the guitar and how most songwriting starts from a few basic positions. He illustrated the use of G, C, D minor, A, E and F making up songs on the spot as examples of what these chords are mostly used for, like tragic love Songs or Blues. 😀 A bit of history about Iceland formerly being a slave society in the 1800 followed – it was interesting to hear and lead to ‘Lady Winter’ and ‘Hope and Fortune’. I love ‘Lady Winter’ and was so happy to have it back in the setlist. <3 ‘Hope and Fortune’ was great as well and really feels like a continuation of the story.

Of course we could not miss the songs about Svavar’s favorite months of the year to “appreciate the unappreciated”. He joked how they had given all of their reasons to celebrate to December so that month would not be so shitty and boring. January was praised as the bringer of light when the sun is coming back and November for being a time of reflection. ‘Janúar’ and ‘November’ are both great songs, no matter what one may think about the months in question.

Because of the broken string, i had brought my ukulele for Svavar to use and given it to him before the show. However, he decided not to play ‘Girl from Vancouver’ to end the show but “a song I haven’t played enough on this tour”, which was ‘The Hurting’. Yay! It is so good and always such great fun!

To loud cheers he came back for an encore and played ABBA’s ‘Like an Angel walking through the Room’ and ‘When all is said and done’ for us. Both were wonderful and I even cried a little. He plays them so well too. Afterwards he built up to ‘Mana Mana’ by telling us it was an Italian jazz song, originally in a  erotic documentary about Sweden (Sweden – Heaven and Hell) and how we could find the movie on youTube. So my ukulele was used after all and everyone had fun singing along. 😀

When it was over I gathered my things, said goodbye and got a hug for the long way back to my hotel. What a great night!

Setlist

Fagurt er í Fjörðum (Látra-Björg)
Your Love was Death to me
Hard Things
Morgúnn
Spór
Tiger and Bear
Undir Birkitré
Ölduslóð
Wanderlust

“Song about the Raven” (Icelandic)
Vetrarsól
Lady Winter
Hope and Fortune
Janúar
November
The Hurting

Like an Angel walking through the Room (ABBA)
When all is said and done (ABBA)

Mana Mana

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