Ragnar Ólafsson – house show, Spalt; August 1st, 2022
After the birthday concert in my living room on Saturday, I got another one on my actual birthday. It took place at C.’s home near Nuremberg and I would not have wanted to miss it for the world. It was a relaxed evening with a few song surprises and good vibes overall.
Until the day before the show I had believed it was taking place in Nuremberg and then found out that it was actually in a smaller town in the greater Nuremberg area. Therefore I decided to leave Dortmund earlier than I had originally planned and book a hotel closer by. It later turned out I could have stayed in Nuremberg after all, but it was nice to not have a long train ride ahead after the show. Either way, it was a long trip, but it all went smoothly and I arrived on time, happy that I had been invited. Their house was lovely, I was greeted by their daughter, who excitedly showed off some drawings. 😀 Drink in hand I greeted Marta and Raggi, then sat down and waited for the show to start.
When all guests had settled down, Raggi stepped up to the mic and started with ‘Wine’ – it made everyone listen and quiet down. 😀 As he had been doing, he introduced himself in Germany, but then stuck to English “for the sake of the stories”, continuing with ‘Deva’. I quite like the structure of the show that gives me a framework to hold on to and tells a continuous story, yet leaves enough room for changes in the setlist and surprise songs. 😀
He asked who had never seen him play before and when many raised their hands he joked “Why? Shame!” making us all laugh. After telling us about all his bands and specifying that this was his solo stuff he made an exception and played Árstíðir’s ‘Endatafl’ – on guitar no less. It was just as beautiful as it is on piano. <3 Wow – I certainly did not expect that one!
It was time for a democratic love song and spoke about there always being two sides of the story when a breakup happens. He used Dylan as an example and how we will never know who the woman was that “wasted his time” – Marta and I smiled at each other, because he was clearly referencing Grace Petrie’s ‘No woman ever wants to be a Muse’ here. 😀 Since there was no singer available for the night, Marta helped out, joking she was no singer, but the only one he could afford. She did a wonderful job on ‘Dozen’. <3
With the breakup song out of the way, there was room for travel song and speaking about the inspiration that comes from writing songs in different places. He joked how the weather and the food was shit in Iceland and thus Icelanders write sad songs in minor keys. He then corrected that you also get northern lights and natural beauty. However, he needed new places to inspire them and one of them was the Rocky Mountains and we got ‘Bravery’. 🙂 From Colorado we went to the highlands of Mexico where the “chevy to the levy” type of car broke down and gave him time to write ‘Time’. I really enjoyed it that day.
Raggi talked about not being able to tour during the pandemic and about Patreon, saying that the online shows are not like the real thing. Good thing there was a soundtrack to write. ‘Hugsanir’ was beautiful and then he played ‘Urðarþráður’, the Icelandic version of ‘Water’. I loved it. <3 He even promised to translate the lyrics after the show, but nobody asked. We wanted to hear another song in Icelandic, so ‘Örlög’ was next and again, people sang along nicely. 🙂
C.’s kids were amazingly quiet throughout the whole gig, sitting on the sofa, being absolutely enthralled. Unfortunately some of the guests were not and decided this concert was a god tie to talk until Raggi called them out on it and suggested they move to the kitchen. everyone else was very appreciative though and and C.’s husband M. was the perfect hosts, taking care that everyone had enough drinks at all times.
‘Muddy Waters’ rocked and then we got ‘Winona’ too. That is always a treat for me and I’m happy we (the Patrons) collectively talked him into keeping that song. 😀 Afterwards he introduced us to his friend H., who happened to be in Nuremberg that day and is a bartender in Reykjavik at the English Pub. They joked about the three words “skál” (cheers), “ras” (butt) and “takk” (thank you) guaranteeing you an interesting evening at any bar in Reykjavik.
We stayed with river songs, got a cover of ‘Proud Mary’, including everyone singing along on the “rollin'”-part and the last verse played “Tina Turner style, then ‘Southern Nights’ with another great sing-along. 🙂 For the encore we got the murder ballads, ‘Were the wild Roses grow’ and finally ‘Sleep now’. Always a good end to the show.
Afterwards we sat outside in the garden, having some barbecue and chatting until it was time for H. to catch a train and I hitched a ride to my hotel. It was fun and even included a chapter read from Raggi’s book. What a great birthday that was and none of the guests even knew. 😀 Raggi had said he’d sing me ‘Happy Birthday’, but after already doing that at my place, he did not and I’m glad he didn’t since this was C.’s gig and not mine. He then made up for it the next day by sending me a video. <3
Proud Mary (CCR cover)
Where the wild Roses grow