Ragnar Ólafsson – Kunstplantage, Zwickau; August 3rd, 2022
Last gigs on a tour, now matter how they turn out to be, always leave me wanting more and looking forward to the next time around. As far as last gigs go, this was a great one, with some setlist surprises and Ragnar and Conny in great form. I loved all of it and now that I am back home, I feel a bit of post tour blues creep in. All is well, there will be more shows. 😀
It was an easy trip from Limbach-Oberfrohna with only an hour to go. Thus, I had all afternoon to relax at my hotel and play ukulele. Went for a walk, but soon fled from the heat and stayed inside. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I heard the gig was going to start later in the hope of the air cooling down a bit. THus, I got there around 7 pm in time for soundcheck and chilled with a drink after, walking around and looking at all the cool art at the venue. We all expressed that it felt weird for this show to be the last one and we all wanted it to be a good finale. It was.
By 8:30 the place had filled nicely and Ragnar stepped on stage, telling us all what to expect, then started with ‘Wine’, this time plugged in and at the mic instead of fully acoustic. The daily poll showed that some of us had seen him before. When he said he wanted to clue us in on “Who I am, what I do and why the fuck I do what I do” I wanted to add “dubidubidu”, but kept that to myself. 😉 with ‘Urges’ we got the first love song of the night.
After explaining about democratic love songs, he jokingly asked if anyone would volunteer to help him out, then Conny joined him on stage for ‘Dozen’. Once again they sounded really good together. 🙂 She stayed for ‘Deva’ and I really enjoyed her harmony singing on the song. <3 We got some Icelandic lessons and Raggi told us about writing music in different places and how it influences his music. I was sure he was gonna do ‘Time’ next, but to my surprise it was ‘Photograph’ and Conny sang amazing harmonies to it. I love the song in any way, shape or frm, but this was perfection. <3
‘Bravery’ followed and I walked around to take some pictures, as there were so many interesting angles to shoot from. There was a kid who kept running around the stage so Raggi asked him in German if he wanted to join and the kid kept insisting he could not sing, finally stepping up to the mic and shouting “Ich kann nich singen!” (I can’t sing). 😀 Raggi noted he had quite a voice, then continued with ‘Time’ – now we all know the essentials for getting stuck in a desert: Tequila, Lime and a guitar.
“If there are any words in Icelandic you want to learn, let me know,” he offered, then talked about getting a “real job” writing a soundtrack while stuck at home during the pandemic and gave us a beautiful version of ‘Hugsanir’. While we were at songs in Icelandic, ‘Örlög’ followed and we got a nice sing-along going. From that we went back to the Mississippi and the Blues with ‘Muddy Waters’ – it was a great way to get people energized again after the two more quiet songs.
More stomp box was needed from the sound guy and once that was taken care of, Conny was back for more river songs. The first of which was ‘Paper Crane’ which I’d heard during sound check but would have never expected otherwise. What a great song choice! It sounded amazing, even though Raggi wasn’t fully happy with forgetting some of the lyrics. That did not matter at all! ‘Message’ was next and really awesome as well. <3 I thought they could not make me any happier and then they played ‘Minor Scratch’ as well. 😀
Raggi asked what we thought of when we heard about the Mississippi river, but nobody replied so he talked about the big river boats and played a few bars of ‘Proud Mary’ for us, then continued with the story and the song of ‘Southern Nights’. Conny sang beautiful harmonies and for the chorus we all joined in. The audience was up to all of it ad did well. 🙂
Finally, the last song rolled around, which was ‘Dragonfly’ of course, with Conny singing harmonies and Marta joining on glockenspiel. Of course we wanted more after that and the night ended with the murder ballad double of ‘Where the wild Roses grow’ and ‘sleep now’ with Raggi walking into the crowd for the last one. Before playing those, he had asked for requests, but I could not think of any on the spot and it felt right to end the last show like most of them had. There was even a nice clap along going on in the end. 😀 It was a great night overall.
Quite a few people came to chat and buy CDs. We had a final drink, thanked the really lovely venue staff and everyone helped packing. Marta and Raggi had to be back in Poland the following morning so they were going to drive through the night. I told them how great the tour had been and we hugged many times, before Conny and I walked them to the car and sent them off. I walked on with Conny to her car, sent her off with hugs as well and finally went back to my hotel.
After a very short night, I reminisced about the tour on the train home. Eventually, the tears came, but they were all happy once. I had loved all the gigs I’d seen and was happy to have come to the final show. Can’t wait to do it all again. <3
Where the wild Roses grow