Confusing venue, technical fuck-ups and multi-lingual Christmas songs

Árstíðir – Cloud Nine, Utrecht; November 30th, 2022

Árstíðir’s show in Utrecht was not a planned one, but welcome nonetheless. I had bought the ticket last year and when the tour was canceled I asked for a refund a few times, but never received one, so I decided to go after all. The venue was lovely and even though I had to leave before the show was over, I enjoyed it very much. It was a lovely warm-up for the rest of the tour.

Getting to Utrecht by train worked surprisingly well and despite very short connection time, I caught all the trains and even had time for a proper dinner before the show. Still got to the venue early, needed some time to get my photo pass and ran into M. and friends by the escalator. The venue was on the 9th floor, but so far the downstairs entrance was still closed. When they opened it was up, up, up, until we ended up in front of a closed door to the actual venue. when it as still closed 30 minutes before showtime, I ot nervous. Then suddenly there was movement down the stairs and to another set of stairs that were not visible right away when coming up and led to yet another venue door. Now I was in the back, but luckily one of the others was in before me and saved me a spot. After the weird start it took me some time to get into the mood, but finally I was ready for the show.

Of course they started late and took a break so all my hope of maybe just missing the last song evaporated right then and there. Oh well… as soon as they walked on stage I forgot all about that and cheered loudly. It felt good to have them back.

Ragnar started with telling us he wasn’t sure the show would actually happen after all of this time, since it had been postponed from 2019 and how good it was to finally play it. I feel you brother, I wasn’t sure we’d actually get the Christmas tour this year.

They kicked things off with ‘Ljóð í sand’ and sounded great. 🙂 It is always a great song to ease people into it. The beautiful ‘Hvenær kemur sól’ followed and finally I relaxed, leaned back in my seat and enjoyed. My last, very different, show had been less than a months ago, but I’d missed them already. It was great to have Guillaume back too. <3

The band took us back in time to the very first song they had written together, ‘Ages’. It still works for me and especially the strings sounded amazing. I was smiling already and did so even more when ‘Endatafl’ started. Such a glorious song, where I always have to sing along to the “oooohhhh – aaaahhhh” part. Gunnar spoke about releasing an album only in Icelandic with ‘Pendúll’ and talked about ‘Blik’ next, then announcing ‘Later on’. It’s one of my favorites. <3 We all started laughing when the pre-recorded drums didn’t work. They decided to go on anyway and during the second chorus they replaced the missing drum with clapping. That’s how you deal with fuck-ups professionally. “Oh, later on, we’ll deal with it all later on…” 😉

Ragnar told us that every tour has it’s fuck-ups and they agreed to better get them over with early on. Gunnar joked he was hoping it would not happen again. Ragnar then wondered aloud if he should tell us what they were gonna play next and then asked Daníel if he wanted to tell us. Daníel, his thoughts elsewhere, asked “About the technical difficulties?” “No, about the next song.” More laughter and then Gunnar told us what Passion* is all about. They had not played it in a while and I loved having it back.

Next we got ‘Shine’, which they had not played in a while either. We heard the story about the first mission to Mars that lead to the idea for the song. It was perfect. They continued with the always brilliant ‘While this way’ before closing the first set with ‘Shades’. Ragnar mentioned how they had not played it at Airwaves, but could not possibly leave it at home on this tour. Daníel had even brought the small stand up drum for it – awesome.

For the second set I moved from the front row to the balcony upstairs so I#d be able to slip out without anyone noticing when it was time to go. The view from up there was great.

Guillaume and Jean-Samuel walked on stage on their own and set down to play. First though, Guillaume had to get the baritone guitar out of the way so we’d have an unhindered view. 😉 They played an instrumental version of ‘Heyr, hymna smiður’. Wow!

The others joined them and let them have their moment in the spotlight before continuing the show. Gunnar told us how Ragnar grew up in Sweden and thus would sing a Swedish Christmas song for us. Ragnar added that he feels Dutch is similar to Swedish and we should tell him after if it’s true. ‘Gläns över sjö och strand’ was lovely for sure.

We got ‘Jólin alls staðar’, an Icelandic Jazz standard that is often played for Christmas. Oh yes, I knew that one. We then learned about Icelandic fifth and they gave us an example before retreating to the back around the double microphone for the next three songs. They gave us ‘.Hátið fer að höndum ein’ , ‘Ísland farsældafrón’ and finally ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’. All three were beatifully done.

After the second song, I had moved to the door and left right after the third, because I had a train to catch. Managed to make all my connections and was home around 1 am, sad that I’d missed the rest of the show, but very happy for what I got. It was a good start and I can’t wait to see more soon.

pictures of this concert


Ljóð í sand
Hvenær kemur sól
Later On
While this way

Heyr, hymna smiður – strings only
Gläns över sjö och strand
Swedish Christmas Song
Jólin alls staðar
Hátið fer að höndum ein
Ísland farsældafrón
Góða veislu gjöra skal

Vetrarsól tour 2022 – one gig down, 13 to go. Next stop: Flensburg

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