New songs, projections on the wall and a toast

Árstíðir – Alte Maschinenhalle, Oldenburg; September 21st, 2022

Exactly 10 years ago, in September 2012 I saw Árstíðir play live for the first time and they blew me off of my feet. Now, 10 years down the road, they have not lost any of their magic and played a wonderful show in Oldenburg. It was a great start to their short fall tour.

Oldenburg is only a 2.5 hour train ride from Dortmund so it was easy to get there and I arrived in the early afternoon, fairly relaxed. Checked in, took a wlak around, grabbed food, got some rest and went to the venue where I ran into J. on the way. We sat in the sun and chatted until it was almost time to open the doors. Got a seat at he front, said hello to Daniel and Gunnar, chatted with Ragnar for a bit and then waited.The venue was an old industrial hall with great acoustics, but rather cold. Good thing I’d brought a hoodie.

They started out with ‘Himinhvel’ and I felt like being transported back to the Hvel tour. It still works as a great first song. The sound was brilliant and I was smiling already. ‘Hvenær kemur sól’ felt perfect for this time when the days get shorter and made me feel warmer inside.

‘You just have to know of me’ came as a surprise. It has been a while since I’ve heard it and still has one of my favorite lines in all of their music: “The taste of your voice reveals what before was unknown”. It was a beautiful rendition and reminded me of everything that made me fall in love with this band when I first saw them. *happy sigh* Afterwards, Ragnar asked who had seen them before and who hadn’t. I think it was about equally split.They were gonna play ‘Days and Nights’, but one of them started the wrong song and everyone was laughing before they started for real. What a great setlist. <3

Before the show the guys had hinted at playing two songs from the upcoming album ‘Blík’, so it wasn’t unexpected, when Ragnar started playing the first notes to ‘Later on’. It made me so happy hearing it live. It’s definitely one of my favorites on the album and what a brilliant version it was. 😀

It was time for acoustic songs and they gave a the wonderful ‘Glitsky’ and ‘Með hallandi höfði’ which I both loved. It is always such a pleasure to be taken back to their beginnings and see them just gather around one microphone and sing. This time they even used only one guitar and I almost felt like being at a living room concert. Daniíel told us they wanted to release their cover of Helplessly hoping, but were not allowed to by the record company. However, they lately had a message from David Crosby himself that he liked ‘Með hallandi höfði’. Win!

They continued with a powerful version of ‘Mute’ and the first set ended with ‘Þar sem enginn fer’. I love that song and tried singing along as best as I could, pretending to know Icelandic. 😉 It was just the right song to get us to the break.

20 or so minutes later they were back and played ‘Ljóð í sand’ for us, saying it had never been of the setlist since they wrote it and how the sand to write poems in is black in Iceland and hence the song is a bit darker than it might seem. It was lovely and reminded me that it was one of the first songs I fell in love with at that first show. For many of the songs they had used projections behind them on the wall that tied in well with the music. For ‘Ljóð í sand’ it was images of waves.

The beautiful ‘Týndur’ followed, with Jean-Samuel plucking individual strings of the violin and the melody making me dream. Ragnar looked at me before he started playing ‘Nú gleymist ég’, knowing how much I love that song. It was a flawless performance and as always I waited for Gunnar to drop his voice to almost a whisper, before belting out the next line. <3

This was the point of the show to introduce Guillaume and Jean-Samuel, before they gathered around one mic again. Gunnar told the story of how singing a choir song at a train station changed their life and explained a little bit what the song is about. They sang ‘Heyr, hymna smiður’ the same way they had at the tour with Anneke van Giersbergen with Guillaume singing with them. People loved it and that night, I enjoyed it very much as well.

“Now for something completely different,” Ragnar said, announcing ‘Bringing back the Feel’ and then Gunnar added that the next song was very different indeed and how much fun they had shooting a music video for it. I realized I had forgotten my shaker, so I had to make do with snapping my fingers along with the song. I really cannot sit still when I hear it, it’s such a happy song.

‘Lover’ was amazing as always. Ragnar noted that they even play happy songs in minor keys, because as Icelanders they are so serious they can’t write in major keys and they continued with ‘While this Way’, causing me to sigh happily  once again. <3 This one is certainly on my top ten list, maybe even top 5.

‘Things you said’ you said followed, another song I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with, i.e. I don’t always like it. This night, I loved it though. 🙂 Gunnar made a comment about liking the beer and Ragnar joked about the water being good too. Then he made a toast to me for 10 years on the road with them. Daníel asked for the specific number and I answered “209”. Gunnar added that I remember things better than they do and correct them on occasion and thanked me for being with them. <3 Thank you guys for the amazing music and memories through the years!

The second set ended with ‘Shades’ as always and it was a killer version. I can’t even imagine the show not ending with this song. 😀 We clapped them back to stage and first they went into the audience to sing ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’ and ended with ‘Heiðin’, their melancholic song about hope. It was the perfect setlist for me and I loved it all.

Chatted with all of them for a bit afterwards, hugged those who wanted to be hugged and thanked them again. It was a lovely anniversary show. See you in Dortmund!

Setlist

Himinhvel
Hvenær kemur sól
You just have to know of me
Days & Nights
Later on
Glitsky
Með hallandi höfði
Mute
Þar sem enginn fer

Ljóð í sand
Týndur
Nú gleymist ég
Heyr hymna smiður
Bringing back the feel
Lover
While this Way
Things you said
Shades

Góða veislu gjöra skal
Heiðin

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