Ragnar Ólafsson – house show, Vögelsen; July 27th, 2022
The last time Ragnar toured Germany and played at my friend G.’s place, I could not make it there so I was really happy to be invited again this time around. It was an outdoor concert in their lovely garden with lights everywhere, good food, good people and Isabelle Saadat as support act. A good night.
After my trip home from Berlin through the night and six hours of work I was already somewhat exhausted when I left für Lüneburg. Of course nothing went smoothly and I arrived an hour later than planned with no time left to relax before I had to be on a bus to Vögelsen. Luckily, G. had coke in store and after a few glasses of that I felt better. I sat down, chatted, nibbled on gummy bears and crackers and finally relaxed. The weather was nice and I had a good feeling about the show.
Eventually G. asked us to sit down and Isabelle stepped on stage. I had not heard her play since her tour with Raggi three years ago. Since then she had moved to Hamburg and written a bunch of new songs, some of which she was going to play for us. She started with ‘Long gone’, telling us that the sound was going to be different from her band. It sounded great to me. 🙂 We all assured her that she sounded good on her own.
She told us the story of when she met Ragnar (and the rest of Árstíðir) outside Café Galao in Stuttgart and singing with them. She spoke about their tour together and he joined her for ‘Wild Horses’ – it was as if they were still touring together. We heard that Isa had left all her equipment in Krefeld and had to borrow a guitar for this gig. It needed tuning, but worked just fine otherwise.
Next up was ‘I get a little lonely’ with some percussion elements that sounded really great. She explained that her lyrics are inspired by nature and she often writes at night, then playing ‘Doze’ for us. Her final song was a very new one, called ‘Wild Woman’ which she usually plays on piano, but it worked nicely on the guitar as well. I really enjoyed her set.
I get a little lonely
After a short break to refill our glasses, Ragnar sneak started his show with ‘Wine’ walking to the stage through the audience. It worked and everyone shut up as soon as he started singing. He introduced himself in German, saying he speaks a little German, but understand a lot. He still decided to speak English “for the greater good” and immediately started teaching us Icelandic. 😉 ‘Deva’ was next, then he gave us some context on what kind of music he plays and played ‘Urges’ for us.
It was time for democratic love songs, instead of selfish break-up songs, that only gives you half of the story. Thus, Isa joined him for ‘Dozen’ and they sounded great together. She had not forgotten how to sing the songs. Raggi talked about inspirations for his songs and how he views himself as an antennae, picking up the vibes of his surroundings and putting them into music. As an example, he played us ‘bravery’, where you can hear the motorcycle he was riding at the time he wrote the song.
I had told him that G. would love to hear ‘Message’ and he played it next. Isa did not join him for this, it is a song they never played together. He handled it perfectly on his own though. <3 Next he decided to teach us more Icelandic and talked about how Iceland is a superstitious nation and people care for elves and get premonitions when they need help. The word for that is “vitjanir” – he did not teach us the word for thoughts which is “hugsanir” and that was the next song. I still can’t get enough of the song.
Raggi talked about his grandmother and how he wrote ‘Örlög’ for her after she passed. He asked us to think of a person we love while singing along to the chorus. It sounded great with everyone singing softly but clearly. Then Isa joined him again for ‘Petals’ and sang it beautifully.
He spoke about getting a phone cal from his friend John, asking if he wanted to come along and travel down the Mississippi river on a house boat. And that’s how the m.i.s.s. album came about. He promised this album was not a breakup album, but had one “moving on” song, expressing that he could take care of himself now, “but I couldn’t”, i.e. he could not fix clothes still, but write songs about it instead. I had not expected to hear ‘Needle and Thread’ on this tour and was really happy about it.
We got more river songs with ‘Muddy Waters’ and it was great as always. Afterwards he asked us what we thought of when we heard “Mississipi” and people associated mosquitos and steam boats. It was time for the last song and after appropriate “awwwww”s, we got two instead, a cover of CCR’s ‘Proud Mary’ and then ‘Southern Nights’, with a fun sing-along.
He left the stage and we clapped and cheered util he came back and gave us an encore. It was the tested combination of “undemocratic love songs” or murder ballads, first ‘Where the wild Roses grow’ and finally ‘Sleep now’, walking around as he played it. Bothe were great and brought the show to a good end.
Afterwards everyone stuck around chatting, enjoying food and drinks. It had been a greta night, but eventually I needed some sleep and one of G.’s friends drove me back to my hotel. Next stop: my living room 😀
Needle and Thread
Proud Mary (CCR cover)
Where the wild Roses grow