Svavar Knútur – Altes Wasserwerk, Wesel; May 3rd, 2023
The show in Wesel was my second Svavar Knútur concert in a week and so worth it. The location was amazing, the setlist very different from the last concert and Svavar had some great guests too. It really made me happy.
I planned for delays on the way and made it to Wesel with time to spare. Had some food on the way, enjoyed the sun, said hello to Svavar and was allowed inside before everyone else. Thus, I reserved some seats for K. and friends, who were on the way. We talked before the show, shared drinks and looked around the really interesting venue. Eventually we took our seats and I kept my jacket on because it was so cold.
The concert organizer stepped up to announce support act Wir sind hier and they played four songs for us, three covers and one of their own. They were alright, but nothing to write home about so I was happy they didn’t play more songs.
After a short break, it was time for Svavar, who started with telling us that he already liked the evening with beer, friends and people who like his music (in that order). Since his German was not good enough in his opinion, he decided to speak English and spoke about how few people use it as a language other than for business. He started with ‘Kom ég þar að kveldi’, a song about the sea, based on a poem by Theodóra Thoroddsen with music by Karl Otto Runólfsson.
Sticking with Icelandic, ‘Ölduslóð’ was next and he only mentioned that it was a song about a great friendship, without any further explanations. It was a lovely start to the show. Since he was at the topic of languages already, Svavar wanted to showcase how different languages express feelings differently and gave us examples of metaphors Icelandic and German use. He played us three more songs about missing someone in 3 languages. First ‘In stiller Nacht’ , then ‘Les berceaux’ and finally ‘Clementine’. The story behind ‘Les berceaux’ was interesting talking about ships by the harbor being like cradles that rock the souls within. I loved how different the three songs were – great examples of language melodies.
Feeling it was the right song for us, we got to hear ‘Ástarsaga úr fjöllunum’ (Love story from the mountains) next. He said he had not played it in years and I certainly could not remember the last tie I’d heard it. This was already shaping up to be a very different concert from the one in Cologne. It was also a lot more quiet, because there were no people walking in and out while it was going on. The room had great acoustics too. I loved it.
He introduced ‘Emotional Anorexic’ as a breakup song that is also about the lessens you learn and added that maybe others see us differently than we do and we should listen to those we love more often instead of looking in the mirror. <3 It made me love the song even more. Before the break he spoke about how shitty Icelandic summer’s are and how he moved to Akureyri to get “proper summers”, i.e. winter. I always want to call out “it’s not that bad!”, but I never do. From season, we moved on to cultural differences, which lead to lots of laughs. All that was the prelude to ‘November’. It is such a beautiful song I can never get enough of. <3
During the break, they had turned on the heating and it was finally warm enough to sit there without my jacket. Following ‘November’ the logical first song after the break was ‘Janúar’. 🙂 We heard a funny story about the new waterfall in Akureyri that appeared during road construction. 😀 It lead us to a new song for Refur, his youngest son. <3
Next, Svavar invited his friend Alex on stage to sing with him. They sang three songs together, starting with ‘Baby, will you marry me?’ – it was beautiful with Alex singing harmonies and playing ukulele. Svavar spoke about not liking love songs and that there are too many of them, “almost like porn”. Therefore they played one he wrote, ‘While the world burns’ and it was wonderful. <3 Their final duet was a happy surprise for me: ‘Hope and Fortune’. I loved that song and exclaimed a happy “Yes!” when Svavar announced it. He told us a little bit of the backstory and they played an amazing version of the song.
With ‘Undir Birkitré’ we got the first sing-along of the night and learned how Svavar compares to his brothers. 😉 Another breakup song was in order and we got to hear ‘Hard Things’. I really like this song. 🙂 Some people had called out for ‘The Hurting’ so he invited Marie to sing it with him, telling us she had made a cover before he even released the song. They shared the verses and it was brilliant! <3
We cheered for more and of course it was ABBA, this time ‘Like an Angel passing through my room’, a “post-breakup song” and “one of the songs that haunt my soul” as Svavar put it. He sang it beautifully. The final song was ‘Medusa’. I can’t recall ever hearing that one before and I instantly liked it. The perfect ending to a wonderful show.
We said goodbye and left, with K. driving me to a train station. <3 what a great evening that was. Thank you all.
Kom ég þar að kveldi
In stiller Nacht
Ástarsaga úr fjöllunum
Baby, would you marry me?
Hoope and Fortune
Like an Angel passing through my room