Switched languages, two sets of keys and YMCA

Árstíðir – SAS, Déleémont; December 4th, 2022

It was a long trip to see Árstíðir in Delemont, but well worth it. At a small venue with a dedicated sound guy they gave a great performance. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My day started early and while I was on the first train, I decided to rebook everything, hoping to get there earlier than I had planned. My original train was without any changes in Germany, but would notget me there until 16:30 and the show was at 18:00. Changes in Germany are always risky, especially with short connection times, but If all went well I was going to gain two hours. So I rebooked and somehow managed all the changes.

Had a bit of trouble finding the hotel, because oddly, my Internet wasn’t working so I could not really navigate with Google maps. Note to self: Offline maps! Got there eventually, checked in, had to wait another half hour to be able to pay and left shortly after 4, since the venue was supposed to open at 5 and I was hoping to find food on the way. All te restaurants were closed though and when I finally found a place that was open, t was too late to eat. Food postponed until after the show.

In Twist, Ragnar had told me they were only allotted one hour of time, so I wondered which songs they would keep. I walked in to hear the last of the soundcheck, then greeted Guillaume, Jean-Samuel and Ragnar, who were still on stage after they were done. It was standing room only and rather small, but the lights were colorful and the sound really good. Jean-Samuel’s parents were there to watch, but other than that I didn’t see any familiar faces. When Malko placed the setlists on stage I saw they had all of the songs listed on them so it was going to be a full concert after all.

The band stepped on stage pretty much on time and started without any introductions. The sound was clear and crisp, louder than the previous day, but not overwhelming. I instantly liked it. Only after ‘Ljóð í sand’, Ragnar made the usual introductions and Gunnar announced ‘Hvenær kemur sól’ telling us it means “when does the sun come out” and how that is a common question to ask in winter in Iceland. “Here too,” someone from the audience replied. The first block of songs concluded with ‘Ages’. I think of it as the “old songs” before we get into the newr stuff, but it isn’t true, since ‘Hvenær kemur sól’ is very new. It just fits in so well with the songs from the first two albums.

I always love the glorious ‘Endatafl’ and with all the other Icelandic songs I sing along to the best of my abilities. I’m sure what I sing doesn’t have much to do with the original. 😉 As Ragnar announced ‘Later on’, he said “We naturally write in English and Swedish” then corrected himself. It was funny. For the song Gunnar grabbed the small keyboard and played it. That felt new, but I wasn’t sure so I had to go back to pictures from the other gigs to see it wasn’t there. These two songs in combination are a highlight for me at every show. <3

Daníel introduced ‘Passion’ saying they sometimes joke about it being called “The Passion of Christ”, but that hit really had nothing to do with Christ or Christmas and was a song to themselves. “There are only so many ex-girlfriends to write songs about,” Ragnar quipped and Gunnar added “and you can only write three songs per Ex-girlfriend at the most”. It made me giggle and shake my head at the same time. 😀

“Close your eyes and imagine floating in space,”Ragnar told us for ‘Shine’. It sure fits and yet, I have so many other associations with the song. It sounded powerful that night. ‘While this way’ brought us back to this world, if to the edge of it. These two songs work well together and afterwards we got a final high with ‘Shades’. 😀

When Jean-Samuel and Guillaume stepped back on stage after the break, hardly anyone took notice so Jean-Samuel grabbed a mik and announced the song they were going to play. I didn’t understand anything but “good evening” and “Icelandic song” though, because he did it in French. Now they had everyone’s attention and ‘Heyr, hymna smiður’ was beautiful.

The instrumental had kicked off the Christmas songs, continued with the Sweidish ‘Gläns över sjö och strand’ and the Icelandic jazz standard ‘Jólin alls staðar’. That took us to the a cappella part of the show and Gunnar explaining that Iceland had too few trees to build instruments and thus they developed a tradition of singing together without them. They sure sounded beautiful together. I can’t even say which of the three songs I like best. The combination is perfect.

‘Allt er hljótt’ started with a glitch and having to start again. It was amazing as always, I am really liking it more very night. For ‘Ró’ they had two sets of key this time – the piano and the keyboard Gunnar had used for ‘Later on’. It sounded great that way too. After ‘Things you said’, they brought us ‘Silent Night’ with the third verse in French this time and all of them sang it. I didn’t understand much, but still enough to realize the lyrics differ a lot from the German version.

For a moment I was afraid people would just stop clapping and not call for an encore, but they sure did. 😀 Once the band was back, Gunnar told us he really wanted to learn French now and Daníel joked that his most used FRench word on the tour was ‘aléz’, becuas ethe French guys were always late.

We got all the ‘Bringing back the Feel’ fun. For the second time, just like at the show in Twist, someone called out “YMCA” when Ragnar put on the hat. Again I wondered why. It does not look like a police hat to me. Since I as standing up, the song had me moving in place. It’s hard to stand or sit still while hearing it. 🙂 The grand finale was ‘And so it goes’, sung in the crowd – it was gorgeous. 😀

Before they went to pack their stff I said hello to most of the guys, hugged some and told them I had liked it a lot. Also told the sound guy he’d done a great job. They had all started earlier than I had and were tired. Next order of business for them was dinner so I wished them a good night and left to find some food as well. I succeeded eventually was happy to get an early night. More tomorrow…

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
Jólin alls staðar
Hátið fer að höndum ein
Ísland farsældafrón
Góða veislu gjöra skal
Allt er hljótt

Things you said
Heims um ból

Bringing back the feel
And so it goes

Vetrarsól tour 2022 – four gigs down, ten to go. Next stop: Cologne

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