Ragnar Ólafsson – house concert, Wroclaw; October 31st, 2021
The last concert of Raggi’s short fall tour took place at the most interesting location and was a fun night all around. The setlist remained the same and everyone enjoyed the music as well as the Halloween decorations. It was the perfect way to end the tour.
Having stayed in Wroclaw overnight, it was a very relaxing day for me and I enjoyed having some time to just sleep late and edit some pictures of the previous days. Eventually I walked to the concert and found the right house after a bit of searching. Monika had warned me that it was a bit hard to find so I just asked at the place everyone seemed to be going towards. The friendly hosts greeted me and I admired the Halloween decorations they had put up everywhere. Wow! Raggi was nowhere to be seen, but he had hinted at getting his face painted for the show so I figured he was hiding. I found a good seat, greeted Ola (of Borowka Music) and passed the time watching people.
When everyone had grabbed drinks and found a seat, it was time for the show to start and Monika made a few announcements. Raggi walked in, playing ukulele and had his face painted like a skeleton, white, with dark eyes and lips, plus a few scars painted on his arms. It looked fabulous. The concert started with ‘Meanderings’ once again and it really made me want to learn the song, because it works so nicely in this version. <3 Just as the song was over and after everyone had clapped, one of the Halloween decorations in the hallway made some noise, breaking the silence and making us laugh. 😀
Raggi introduced himself in Polish, then switched to Icelandic. Someone replied in really fast Polish, making everyone laugh again and he decided to stick to English. He wondered if he could be taking seriously with his face painted so he’d play a serious song for us – ‘War’. To me it is always great to take a look back at the songs from the first album that are not played all the time and this was a powerful rendition. 🙂
Occasionally, the kids in the house could be heard in the background, but mostly they kept quiet and everyone of the adults was listening attentively. We learned that the evening was going to contain a few scary songs to honor Halloween. The first one of those was ‘Sleep now’ of course. He started playing and immediately stopped again because he had started with the capo in the wrong place, joking about this being the single version. Then he started again and stumbled over the lyrics a little. It made me smile, but I don’t think anyone else noticed and he gave it all for the song. It sounded great! Afterwards he noted that he had never played the song with his face painted like that, but it totally made sense for the character.
Out of the blue he announced the good news that Iceland would not be taking part in the Football World Cup, because “It’s too hot for us”. The second good news was a musical guest named Ola, who joined him for ‘Dozen’ and sang it beautifully. I still find it fascinating how different the song feels depending on who is singing it.
He talked about writing while traveling and explained how each place he goes to and whatever he does there finds its way into the music by giving him ideas for new songs. Thus, in ‘Bravery’ the sound of the motorcycle can be heard. When he had played it, he explained that even the falling off the bike can be heard in the starting and stopping of the song. For ‘Catch 33’ he explained that it is about serial killers and told us about his different bands, because he loves every style of music. I really enjoyed the song and it does fit the murder theme of the night.
Raggi switched to the piano for a brilliant version of ‘Red Wine’. every song was extra powerful that night and I loved it. ‘Endatafl’ followed and I fell in love with it even more. it is such an epic, beautiful song. <3 We all sang along in the end, which made it even better.
He invited Ola back to the stage and took the opportunity to speak about his banner and its meaning. A lovely version of ‘Petals’ followed. He explained how, when you sing together, you can feel like you have known each other for years and how much you can learn about musicians by listening with your heart. ‘Wine’ was unplugged this time and Raggi moved closer to the kitchen because he wanted to grab a shot afterwards. Fittingly, the shots were served in syringes at this party and the host brought two of them when the song was over so they could drink together.
As we were moving towards the encore, he took us on a trip down the Mississippi river with more stories. The funniest part was hearing that “the Blues is my favorite way of feeling bad”. ‘Muddy Waters’ rocked the house and then we heard more about how nice the people on the river were and music brought them together. ‘Southern Nights’ brought Monika to the stage to play bass and was an invitation for all of us to sing along. He divided us into teams “Freddy Krueger” and “Mike Myers”. We did alright and the cheered loudly to get Raggi back to the stage.
He talked about singing one cover song, explained how it was a duet about a man bringing a woman flowers, then killing her with a rock and of course people guessed correctly what it was going to be. The he went “I’m kidding, this one is really silly” and surprised everyone with ‘Wehikuł czasu (Dźem)’ – people laughed a few times, but clearly appreciated it and did a great job singing along. It was so much fun and I really wished I understood. It sounded really good to my ears and every night he sang it more sure of himself. What a great gift. 🙂
Then ‘Where the wild Roses grow’ followed, as a solo number this time. It gave us another nice sing-along and some laughs for Kylie’s part. 😀 The last song, as always, was ‘Dragonfly’ with Monika and Ola back on stage. Bringing the family on stage is always a good end. It was an enjoyable evening.
Many people stayed, having food and drinks. I said hello to N., who had arrived after me, we took pictures with Raggi in full make-up and talked for a while. Soon, most people left and while one group stayed on the sofa to chat, Raggi the hosts and myself went upstairs to play darts. It was a fun game. We talked for a while too and Raggi mentioned how, at one point during the show, he had looked around the audience and realized how everyone was on their own journey, relating to his lyrics in different ways. That must have been amazing. 🙂 The night ended with soup in the kitchen before I made my way home. They had offered me to stay, but that would have meant getting up early so I declined. Thus, I thanked them for their hospitality, hugged Raggi goodbye and left, smiling all the way home.
Wehikuł czasu (Dźem cover)
Where the wild Roses grow