Ragnar Ólafsson – house gig, Mianowice; January 28th, 2023
Ragnar’s concert in Mianowice turned out to be my first show of 2023 and it was a great start. I loved everything about it, from the setlist to our hosts and their house. There was a lot of weight this show had to carry and still it made me so happy i was smiling all night.
This was not supposed to be the first show. My plan had been to see the concert in Bytom the previous night, but despite taking a day off and leaving my home shortly after 5 am to get there, thanks to the train companies I didn’t get there in time. The train was three hours delayed and when I finally got there, the last bit of the journey undertaken in an Uber, the concert had just ended. Needless t say I was rather disappointed and extremely annoyed. Thus, the show in Mianowice had to make up for all of that and did so easily. 😀
After a good night’s sleep in Bytom, I undertook my journey to Kepno and everything went surprisingly well. All the trains were on time and I could relax a little at my hotel before walking to the house gig. I was greeted with hugs and a tea, took a seat, briefly chatted with Marta and spend the waiting time reading.
At 20:15 host Mati announced Ragnar and he stepped on stage, guitar in hand. He greeted us, asked who had been there last time (in August two years before), told us he was now living part-time in Poland, therefore writing an album about that and played us a new song called ‘Warsaw’. I had heard it during his Patreon concerts, but it sounded so much better that night. What a beautiful song to start with.
Ragnar told us about traveling and writing and continued with ‘Deva’. Not only was the sound really good, his voice sounded very strong and clear. I was already happy with the concert. Without any announcements he went straight into ‘Hugsanir’ and I sighed deeply. It remains one of my favorites, no matter if he sings it in English or Icelandic.
He explained that it was a song he had in both languages and joked the next one would be in Polish, then said “I wish” and promised he’d manage one day. ‘A Prayer’ was next. I had not expected that one and was already super-happy with the setlist. <3
The audience was really attentive, including the children who were on blankets right up at the front. When it got past their bed time and their attention faded they lay on the blankets and dozed off. It was really cute. 🙂
Ragnar invited host Ada to the stage to join him for ‘Dozen’. She sang beautifully and ‘Petals’ was just as lovely. 🙂 ‘Bravery’ followed with no story attached other than mentioning it involved driving in the Rocky Mountains on motorcycles. It was a powerful version and had the audience finger-snapping along.
We all wanted to hear another song in Icelandic and bravely agreed to sing along to ‘Örlög’. It was amazing. Everyone sounded great! He instructed us to imagine the meaning of our “lalala” and I wondered where people’s minds went to at that moment.
When he told us he would sing a song about ‘Ƚódz’ people laughed and when asked if they had been there they replied “yes”, but to the question if they liked it the answer was “no” so they laughed even more when he told us it was a love song to the city. I quite like it, especially because I have grown to love my somewhat ugly town of residence as well.
We heard about floating down the Mississippi river on a boat and how that inspired him to write a blues song. ‘Muddy Waters’ rocked and a lot of people were tapping their feet in rhythm. He told us about the boat they were floating on and invited host Mati to join him on guitar for ‘Southern Nights’. It was great hearing him play and the sing-along in the end worked really well too. 🙂 Afterwards they played us ‘Proud Mary’ as well and we sang along to that one too. 😀
When he announced the last song I appropriately replied “ooooh” and made people laugh. He promised to finish with style and invited Ada back to the stage for ‘Dragofly’. Of course Marta joined them on the glockenspiel, wearing a giraffe costume. They all had a blast and it was fun to watch.
Of course we cheered and clapped for more, shouting “Ragnar, Ragnar” and bringing him back to the stage soon. Someone asked for a song in Polish and he started the one he had done at the halloween concerts last year. He only had to sing the first line and the audience finished the first verse. Afterwards he joked that je only knew Pearl Jam (not Dzem).
It was time for the murder ballads double, starting with “the best murder ballad in the world”, ‘Where the wild Roses grow’. Even singing it on his on he made it sound amazing. Then we got ‘Sleep now’ and despite him playing it unplugged there was a clap along going by the end. He walked around the room, singing directly to people and even walked into the kitchen singing there for a while – the acoustics were really nice. Everyone was amused as he disappeared. 😀 The audience was not done yet and so he came back for one more song, Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Hero’. It was much fun and a fitting end to the show.
Afterwards there was food, vodka shots for me and some nice conversations before Ragnar and Marta left to drive home and I made my way back to my hotel. Goodbye everyone, it was lovely. See you next time. 🙂
Where the wild Roses grow